Culture Wars/Current Controversies

TikTok’s Parent Spent $13 Million to Lobby US Lawmakers

The Extremism Roundup

Promoting Civil Discourse and Marginalizing the Extremes
A weekly compilation of the most important developments in the struggle against radical ideologies

Islamist Extremism

 Moustafa Kamel spousing violent antisemitic rhetoric, Memri TV screenshot
California Imam Posts Youtube Video Quoting Hadith on Killing Jews

  • Dr. Moustafa Kamel, the imam and director of the Alansar Mosque in Anaheim, Calif., recently posted a video to his YouTube channel in support of Palestinians in which he cites a hadith, collected traditions of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad, describing how Muslims will kill the Jews on “Judgement Day.”
  • His additional commentary states, “all living creatures are opposed to this bigoted and arrogant breed of people who occupied Muslim lands and humiliated our brothers in Palestine.” Read More

New York Man Convicted for Supporting ISIS

  • Ruslan Maratovich Asainov, 46, a U.S. citizen and former resident of Bay Ridge, N.Y., was convicted of all five counts of an indictment charging him with conspiracy to provide material support to ISIS.
  • The jury also found that Asainov’s provision of material support to ISIS resulted in the death of one or more people.
  • Asainov converted to Islam in 2009 and subsequently became increasingly interested in Islamic extremism. By the fall of 2013, he was consuming radical Islamic content online. In September 2013, he began making preparations to travel to Syria to wage violent jihad.
  • Asainov faces up to life in prison. Read More

Dual Citizen Sentenced for Conspiring to Aid Iran

  • Kambiz Attar Kashani, 44, a dual citizen of the U.S. and Iran, was sentenced to 30 months in prison for conspiring to illegally export U.S. goods and technology to end-users in Iran, including the Central Bank of Iran, a designated entity that materially supports known terrorist organizations.
  • Between February 2019 and June 2021, Kashani and his co-conspirators used two front companies in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to illegally procure electronic goods and technology, some of which is controlled by the U.S. government for national security and anti-terrorism reasons. Read More

Iranian Caught Trying to Sneak Through Southern US Border

  • An Iranian man was caught in the trunk of a smuggler’s car illegally crossing the southern border of the U.S.
  • The man was not on the terrorist watch list.
  • Last fiscal year, the Border Patrol apprehended 98 immigrants who were on the FBI’s terrorism watch list. Read More

Alt-Right & Alt-Left Extremism

Patrick Crusius poses for a booking photo August 4, 2019 in El Paso, Texas – El Paso Police Department via Getty Images
White Nationalist Pleads Guilty to Hate Crimes Massacre That Killed 23

  • Patrick Wood Crusius, 24, pleaded guilty to the mass shooting at the Cielo Vista Walmart in El Paso, Texas, on Aug. 3, 2019, in which 23 people were killed and 23 injured.
  • Crusius has agreed to accept 90 consecutive life sentences, one for each count in the indictment.
  • Crusius published a 2,300-word manifesto online, in which he warned that white people were being replaced by foreigners and detailed a plan to separate America into territories by race. Read More

New York Man Charged With Threats and Assault

  • Joshua L. Litchfield, 33, of Gloversville, N.Y., was charged with second-degree assault and aggravated harassment as a hate crime–both felonies, along with two misdemeanors.
  • Litchfield is accused of sending multiple text messages to a man that included “hatred specifically directed toward (the victim’s) racial ethnicity … followed by a text message stating he is of the Aryan brotherhood and is a Neo-Nazi and will kill (the victim).”
  • Litchfield was arraigned and held on $15,000 bail. Read More

Aryan Brotherhood Associate Guilty of Racketeering Conspiracy

  • Justin Petty, 41, of Los Angeles, an associate of the Aryan Brotherhood prison gang, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to participate in a racketeering enterprise and conspiracy to distribute heroin and methamphetamine.
  • Petty faces a maximum statutory penalty of life in prison and a fine up to $10 million. Read More

Over a Dozen Anti-Police Protesters Arrested in NY

  • Fifteen people were arrested at a protest against police brutality in Johnson City, N.Y., and are facing resisting arrest and trespassing charges.
  • The protest took place in front of a business that said it referred to law enforcement after protesters blocked the entrance and were asked multiple times to move to the sidewalk.
  • Protesters swore and made racial slurs and obscene gestures toward police.
  • In at least one instance, a police officer discharged pepper spray. Read More

School Threats

MSU students hug during an active shooter situation on campus on February 13 – Bill Pugliano/Getty Images
Mass Shooting at Michigan State University

  • Three people were killed and five wounded in an on-campus shooting at Michigan State University Monday night.
  • The 43-year-old suspected gunman was found dead from an apparent self-inflicted gun wound. He was not a student or employee of the university. Read More

Massachusetts Schools on Alert Following Multiple Hoax Threats

  • Schools in Amesbury, Boston, Chelmsford, North Attleboro and Westfield, Mass., were forced to go into lockdown for reported threats that turned out to be hoaxes. Read More

Hostile Foreign Influence Operations

President Biden delivers State of the Union address on Feb. 7 – Chip Somodevilla/Getty Image
University That Houses Biden Institute Flooded With Millions in Foreign Funds

  • Millions of dollars have been poured into the University of Delaware from China, Saudi Arabia, Oman, and Turkey since the school launched the Biden Institute.
  • Since the Biden Institute was established in 2017, the University of Delaware has received $6,704,250 in funding from China, $23,610,996 from Saudi Arabia, $2,513,646 from Oman and $1,673,847 from Turkey, according to data from the U.S. Department of Education. Read More
  • Clarion Project has compiled a database of large donations to U.S. universities from hostile foreign nations. You can access this database and look up specific universities here. 

TikTok’s Parent Spent $13 Million on US Lobbying

  • ByteDance, the Chinese parent company of social media platform TikTok, has dramatically upped its U.S. lobbying effort since 2020 and is now the fourth-largest Internet company in spending on federal lobbying as of last year.
  • ByteDance and its subsidiaries have spent more than $13 million on U.S. lobbying since 2020.
  • The lobbyists they hired include former senators and senior staffers for former Presidents Trump and Obama.  Read More

Russia to Benefit from Biden’s Partial Iran Sanctions Waiver

  • The Biden administration notified Congress that it is waiving nonproliferation sanctions on Iran.
  • The move will allow Russia’s state nuclear energy corporation, Rosatom, to profit from it’s work helping Iran develop it’s nuclear facilities. Read More

Research and Trends in Extremism

 A screenshot from the game “Through the Darkest of Times” featuring a book burning scene and a student making a “Hitler salute” – JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP via Getty Images
Preventing Extremism Through Gaming

  • The Global Network on Extremism and Technology (GNET) and the Extremism and Gaming Research Network (EGRN) hosted a webinar that explored the potential of storytelling and gaming as a tool for prevention of extremism.
  • Streaming and e-sports influencers hold and wield an incredible amount of credibility and power within gaming communities and can help with interventions. Read More
QUOTABLE
“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”

– Frederick Douglass

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