Culture Wars/Current Controversies

Hamas is ISIS

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

President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the Hamas terrorist attacks in Israel in the State Dining Room of the White House October 10 – Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Americans Killed and Taken Hostage in Hamas Mass-Murder

  • Hamas terrorists launched thousands of missiles at Israel and invaded towns along the Gaza border on Saturday, killing over 1,200 people and wounding thousands more, and prompting Israel to declare war against the Iran-backed group.
  • Nine U.S. citizens have been killed during this attack, according to the U.S. National Security Council. Other Americans are presumed to be held hostage in the Gaza Strip.
  • Israeli Minister for Strategic Affairs, Ron Dermer, suggested that Hamas took “scores” of American hostages during its assault on Israel, but the exact number is not confirmed.
  • Other foreign nationals, including citizens of Ukraine, Nepal, France, and the U.K., were also killed during the attack. Israel has imposed a complete siege on Gaza in response to the attacks.  Read More

Hamas is ISIS

  • Hamas and ISIS share the same ideological foundations and revere the same philosophical figures who developed them: Abdullah Azzam and Sayyid Qutb.
  • Both ISIS and Hamas employ dehumanizing rhetoric against individuals who do not adhere to their interpretation of Islam, including Christians and Jews, as well as Muslims they consider “not good Muslims.”
  • The brutality and sadism of the Hamas terrorists, the kidnapping of young women to be sex slaves, and the decapitation of victims, including babies, are all reminiscent of ISIS.  Read More

Pro-Hamas Rallies Held Across the US

  • As news of the massacres came out, Pro-Palestinian, student, and Muslim activist groups in the U.S. expressed support for Hamas’s terror offensive against Israel, condemning the Jewish state and announcing rallies in support of the attacks.
  • Anti-Israel rallies were announced in close to 20 cities in the U.S., Canada, and Europe.
  • Several organizations, including the U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), blamed Israel and the U.S. for the violence and expressed “support for the Palestinian people’s right to freedom.”  Read More

Iran Helped Hamas Plan the Attack

  • Iranian security officials helped plan Hamas’s Saturday surprise attack on Israel and gave the green light for the assault at a meeting in Beirut last Monday.
  • Officers of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps had worked with Hamas since August to devise the air, land and sea incursions.
  • U.S. officials say they haven’t seen evidence of Tehran’s involvement.  Read More

Militant-Right & Militant-Left Extremism

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators march during a protest in New York on October 9 – ADAM GRAY/AFP via Getty Images
Democratic Socialists Embrace Hamas

  • The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) supported the “All Out for Palestine” rally, in New York City, which featured taunts and mockery directed at slain Israelis and pro-Israel protesters.
  • Chants included, “Smash the settler Zionist state,” and protesters displayed images of hostages and swastikas.
  • Congressional “Squad” members Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.; Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich.; Cori Bush, D-Mo.;  Ilhan Omar, D-Minn. Reps. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y.; and Greg Casar, D-Texas are all members of the DSA.  Read More

Harvard Students Blame Israel For Hamas Murders

  • Thirty-one Harvard University student organizations signed a statement blaming Israel for the recent violence and atrocities following the Hamas attack.
  • The statement accuses Israel of being solely responsible for the violence and suffering, without addressing the actions of Hamas.
  • Commentators and public officials, including Ian Bremmer and Representative Ritchie Torres, have criticized the organizations’ stance, with some calling for the university to condemn their sentiments.  Read More

Black Nationalist Sentenced to Life for Mass Shooting

  • Frank James, 63, of Milwaukee, Wis., has been sentenced to 10 concurrent life sentences in prison, plus 10 years to run consecutively, for a mass shooting on the New York City subway in April 2022.
  • He pleaded guilty to 11 counts, including 10 counts of committing a terrorist attack or other violence against a mass transportation vehicle and one count of discharging a firearm in furtherance of the attack.
  • James, armed with a Glock 17 pistol, carried out the mass shooting during rush hour on an N subway train in Brooklyn. He had planned the attack for years, purchased smoke bombs, disguises, firearms, and ammunition, and completed multiple practice runs.
  • On his social media pages, James promoted Black Lives Matter, the far-left black nationalist group Black Liberation Army, and the black nationalist religious faction Nation of Islam.  Read More

  Hate Crime

A picture of the four attackers who NYPD is trying to locate – NYPD/New York Daily News/TNS via Yahoo News screenshot
Elderly Man Beaten in Anti-Gay Hate Crime

  • A group of four individuals attacked a 72-year-old man in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan in a hate crime. The assailants verbally abused the victim with anti-gay slurs before physically assaulting him.
  • The victim suffered a broken jaw and cuts to his hands and face, and sought treatment at a nearby hospital. The NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating, and police have released photos of the suspects, seeking assistance from the public to identify and locate them.  Read More

Man Indicted for Threats to ADL

  • Andrzej Boryga, aged 67, has been indicted by a federal grand jury in the Southern District of Indiana for sending threatening communications to Anti-Defamation League (ADL) offices across the U.S.
  • The indictment includes four counts of willfully transmitting threats via interstate commerce to harm others. It alleges that Boryga threatened to kill Jewish people.
  • If found guilty on all counts, Boryga could face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000.  Read More

Washington Man Sentenced for Arson at LGBT Nightclub

  • Kalvinn Garcia, from Washington state, has been sentenced to 48 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for committing a hate crime in connection with an arson at “Queer/Bar,” a nightclub and event space in Seattle.
  • Garcia set fire to a dumpster behind Queer/Bar on Feb. 24, 2020, admitting that he targeted the establishment because he was angered by a sign that said “queer” and expressed hostility toward the LGBTQ+ community.  Read More

  School Threats

Creekside High School, St. Johns, Fla. – via News4Jax screenshot
3 Florida Students Arrested for Creating a Hit List

  • Three students from Creekside High School in St. Johns, Fla., have been arrested after discussing a “lethal hit list” targeting multiple students, according to the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office.
  • The students, aged 15, 14, and 14, shared text messages that identified “target students,” included photographs with faces circled, and provided aerial photographs of the school with a location circled. These messages were deemed a credible threat.
  • The students were part of a group chat formed as a Russian Communist Group named “The United Boyopolis Socialist Republic,” which was created after they were bullied by other students. The chat included schedules, home addresses, and photos of targeted students, with the intent to harm or kill them.  Read More

Iowa Teen Arrested in Connection to Social Media Threats

  • A 14-year-old has been arrested in connection with social media threats that led to the closure of the Cedar Rapids Community School District. The arrest was made with the assistance of Iowa’s Division of Criminal Investigation.  Read More

Georgia Teen Arrested After Shooting Threat Found Scrawled on Walls

  • A 16-year-old boy has been arrested after threatening messages were found scrawled on the walls of North Forsyth High School in Forsyth County, Ga. The threats were related to a shooting on October 10.
  • The Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office clarified that the threats had no planning or intent to harm anyone at the school, but they disrupted the school campus and caused students to feel uneasy.
  • The 16-year-old suspect was charged with felony terroristic threats, disruption of public school, and trespassing.  Read More

Hostile Foreign Influence Operations

The seal of the U.S. Department of Defense – SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images
Former Soldier Indicted for Attempting to Pass National Defense Information to China

  • Joseph Daniel Schmidt, a former U.S. Army sergeant, has been arrested on federal charges of attempting to deliver national defense information and retention of national defense information.
  • Schmidt, whose last duty post was Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington, allegedly reached out to the Chinese Consulate in Turkey and later Chinese security services via email to offer classified information about national defense.
  • Schmidt had access to “SECRET” and “TOP SECRET” information during his military service. After separating from the military, he allegedly traveled to Hong Kong in March 2020 and continued his efforts to provide Chinese intelligence with classified information.
  • Attempting to deliver national defense information and retaining national defense information are both federal felonies punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.  Read More

Stanford Agrees to Pay to Resolve Foreign Funding Allegations

  • Stanford University has agreed to pay $1.9 million to settle allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by not disclosing current and pending support from foreign sources in research grant proposals submitted to federal agencies.
  • The settlement covers research grants received by Stanford between 2015 and 2020 from the Departments of the Army, Navy, and Air Force, NASA, and the National Science Foundation (NSF). These agencies require grant applicants to disclose all sources of current and pending support, including foreign government sources.
  • The U.S. alleged that Stanford knowingly failed to disclose current and pending foreign funding on 16 grant proposals, involving 11 principal investigators (PIs) and co-PIs. Additionally, Stanford did not disclose that one of its professors received research funding from China’s Fudan University, a foreign public university, and a foreign government’s national science foundation.  Read More
  • Clarion Project maintains a database of the billions of dollars given to leading U.S. universities from totalitarian countries that are actively hostile to the U.S. and to democracy and freedom.  You can access the database. Here

Research and Trends in Extremism

 A supporter of former U.S. president Donald Trump carries a “Trump 2024” flag at the Beverly Hills (Calif.) Freedom Rally on June 24, 2023 in Beverly Hills, California – David McNew/Getty Images
FBI Creates New Extremism Category for MAGA Supporters

  • The federal government has quietly created a new category of extremists it seeks to track and counter: Donald Trump’s MAGA followers, whom it views as a potential threat in the lead-up to the 2024 U.S. presidential election.
  • While the FBI’s publicly stated focus is on preventing domestic terrorism without reference to political affiliations, its internal data reportedly shows that the majority of its “anti-government” investigations are centered around Trump supporters.
  • Critics argue that labeling Trump and his supporters as domestic terrorists could provoke further anti-government activism and that the challenge lies in striking a balance between countering potential threats and preserving Americans’ constitutional rights.  Read More

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– James Madison, The Federalist Papers

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