Culture Wars/Current Controversies

Florida Sues Jane’s Revenge Extremists For Pregnancy Center Attacks

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

Syrian Kurdish Asayish security forces deploy during a raid against suspected Islamic State group fighters in Raqa, Syria, on January 28, 2023 – DELIL SOULEIMAN/AFP via Getty Images
US Citizen Working for ISIS in Syria Sentenced

  • Emraan Ali, a U.S. citizen, has been sentenced to 20 years in prison followed by 20 years of supervised release for conspiring to provide material support to ISIS.
  • In 2015, Ali took his family from Trinidad and Tobago to Brazil and then to Turkey and Syria with the intention of joining ISIS. To finance his trip and provide ongoing support to ISIS, Ali established a financial system to receive funds and collected $15,000 in cash, and melted gold to convert to jewelry to take with him.
  • Ali underwent religious and military training in Syria, including the operation of various automatic weapons.
  • Ali provided material support to ISIS by working in construction, buying and selling livestock, cars, weapons and phones, and providing money remittance services to other Trinidadian ISIS fighters in Syria. Read More

Virginia ISIS Supporter Sentenced for Meeting “American Taliban”

  • Virginia man Ali Shukri Amin, previously convicted of providing support to ISIS in 2015, was sentenced to serve an additional year in prison for breaking release conditions.
  • Amin broke his conditions by meeting with John Walker Lindh, the so-called “American Taliban,” several times, communicating with him and others on an unmonitored device and sharing ISIS propaganda online.
  • A file stored on Amin’s device contained an ISIS propaganda video showing mass beheadings and attack instructions, according to prosecutors.
  • Amin was sentenced to a lifetime of supervised release in addition to the one-year prison sentence. Read More

Alt-Right & Alt-Left Extremism

Damage done to a church in Ohio by a pro-Nazi group member via ABC News 5 Cleveland screenshot
Neo-Nazi Firebombs Church in Ohio

  • Aimenn D. Penny, a 20-year-old man from Ohio, was arrested for allegedly firebombing the Community Church of Chesterland, Ohio because it planned to host a drag queen story time.
    The FBI claims Penny is a member of “White Lives Matter,” a pro-Nazi group, according to an affidavit filed in court.
  • If convicted, Penny could face a mandatory minimum of five years and up to 20 years in prison for the malicious use of explosive materials charge and up to 10 years in prison for the possession of a destructive device charge. Read More

Neo-Nazis March Through Portland, Maine

  • A small Neo-Nazi rally took place in Portland, Maine, attended by up to 30 people from the Nationalist Social Club.
  • Opposing groups confronted the rally several times during their march through the area, leading to minor skirmishes.
  • No official complaints were filed with the Portland Police Department, and there were no reports of any serious injuries. Additionally, no arrests were made during the rally. Read More

California Neo-Nazi Arrested in Romania

  • Robert Rundo, the 33-year-old head of the notorious white supremacist group Rise Above Movement, has been arrested in Romania.
  • A Bucharest court ordered Rundo’s detention, and he now faces extradition to the U.S., where he is wanted for committing crimes of conspiracy to riot and rioting activities.
  • Rundo and three neo-Nazi gang members were indicted by a federal grand jury and arrested in 2018. Though Rundo was freed when the case was dismissed a year later, a new indictment in January led to his recent arrest at a gym in Bucharest. Read More

Wisconsin Man Charged With Firebombing Pro-Life Group

  • Hridindu Sankar Roychowdhury, 29, from Madison, Wisc., has been charged with attempting to cause damage by means of fire or an explosive in connection with a May 2022 firebombing of a prominent Wisconsin pro-life lobbying group’s office.
  • Roychowdhury was arrested in Boston after DNA evidence was found to match that found at the scene of the attack.
  • If convicted, Roychowdhury faces a mandatory minimum penalty of five years and a maximum of 20 years in prison.  Read More

Florida Sues Jane’s Revenge Extremists For Pregnancy Center Attacks

  • Florida Attorney General and First Liberty Institute sued two Florida residents, Caleb Hunter Freestone and Amber Marie Smith-Stewart, for allegedly vandalizing pregnancy centers in the state.
  • The suits filed are based on the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances (FACE) Act, which has typically been used to defend abortion providers.
  • Both lawsuits cite an association between the defendants and extremist groups Antifa and Jane’s Revenge, which has claimed credit for attacks on pregnancy help organizations.
  • Moody’s complaint asks the federal court to assess damages and fines against Freestone and Smith-Stewart of $170,000 each, while First Liberty is similarly seeking appropriate penalties imposed by the FACE Act and other legal remedies. Read More

Violent Protestors Shut Down Virginia University Pro-Life Speakers

  • Violent agitators interrupted the final Students for Life “Lies Pro-Choicers Believe” Tour at Virginia Commonwealth University, shutting down the event.
  • At one point, a small group got into a scuffle, which security personnel forcibly broke up. The event speakers and organizers were reportedly forced out by security.
  • VCU police arrested Natalie Hoskins III, a 22-year-old Richmond resident, who was charged with simple assault, and Anthony Marvin, a 30-year-old Richmond resident who was charged with disorderly conduct. Neither is affiliated with VCU. Read More

School Threats

Loveland High School, Colorado, via CBS News Colorado screenshot
Colorado Schools Forced to Cancel Classes Due to Threats

  • Resurrection Christian School and Loveland Classical Schools in Loveland, Colo., canceled classes due to anonymous threats.
  • The threats were received via the State’s Safe2Tell program, which allows students, parents and community members to notify schools of possible safety concerns or threats affecting schools.
  • Resurrection Christian School Superintendent Jerry Eshleman made a YouTube post about a “day of rage” by the LGBTQ community, but NoCoSafeSpace confirmed that there were no actual reports to back the story. Read More

Hostile Foreign Influence Operations

Qatar state-funded media network TV channel and online newspaper Al Jazeera logo seen displayed on a smartphone – Budrul Chukrut/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Al Jazeera Flouts DOJ Directive With Anti-American/Anti-Israel Propaganda

  • A recent report by the Zachor Legal Institute investigated Al Jazeera’s American-based social media arm, AJ+, and revealed that it violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) directive issued by the U.S. Department of Justice in September 2020, which required it to register under FARA within 30 days.
  • AJ+ serves as a platform for Islamic terror groups, including Al Qaeda and Hamas, and has given a weekly program to a Muslim Brotherhood leader who called for terror attacks on U.S. soldiers, praised the Holocaust as “divine punishment” upon Jews, and encouraged the murder of Israeli civilians.
  • AJ+ has focused its propaganda efforts on influencing young Americans via its social media platforms, with a disproportionate amount of videos devoted to coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, portraying Israel negatively and using tenuous analogies between American racial strife and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Read More

PSU Opens Program in Conjunction With Chinese University Tied to Military

  • Portland State University (PSU) closed its Confucius Institute (CI) in 2021 due to financial, staffing and operational reasons and has opened a new institute named the Portland Institute in collaboration with China’s Nanjing University of Posts and Telecommunications (NJUPT).
  • CI is a Chinese government-backed initiative to project soft power and influence abroad. Despite the threat posed by CIs to American standing, PSU closed its CI but retained or forged new ties with China, raising concerns.
  • PSU’s partnership with NJUPT, which is one of the top defense-related universities in China, is particularly concerning since 16 percent of its graduates from 2018 entered the Chinese defense sector, and the college works with China’s People’s Liberation Army on projects related to signals intelligence and cyberwarfare. Read More

Research and Trends in Extremism

Nora, a former detainee at the Kurdish-run al-Hol camp where relatives of suspected Islamic State group fighters were held, gives an interview at her home – DELIL SOULEIMAN/AFP via Getty Images
New Research on Reintegrating Families of ISIS Terrorists

  • The National Counterterrorism Innovation, Technology, and Education (NCITE) Center, in partnership with the Program on Extremism at George Washington University, has published new research outlining best practices for reintegrating the families of foreign fighters who left the U.S. to fight for the Islamic State.
  • An estimated 53,000 individuals from 80 countries traveled to support Islamic State activities between 2013 and 2019, including hundreds from the U.S., many bringing their families with them.
  • Following the collapse of the caliphate, many of these people, including women and minors, are now held in inhumane and dangerous conditions in detainee camps overseas, and the U.S. has adopted a policy of repatriation for many of these families.
  • For children and adults not convicted in the criminal justice system, the work of social reintegration, aiming to foster inclusiveness and reduce the risk of engagement or recidivism into violent extremism, is underway. Read More

“In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place, oblige it to control itself.”

– Alexander Hamilton

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