Homegrown and External Extremism

Homegrown and External Extremism

Homegrown and External Extremism

Part 1

Extremism in the United States refers to diverse groups engaging in different activities. Today, it refers to Islamic extremism because of the activities of the terror groups in the world and the attention they get from international media. Many Americans are aware of the activities of the terror groups in the world and the action the government is taking to protect them from these groups. However, homegrown extremism is rampant and has remained in the country for a long time, but receives little attention from the press. For example, far-right groups such as anti-government and white supremacist groups and the far left such as social justice, animal rights, and environmental protections are as old as the country (Silke, 2014). However, they do not get the same prominence in the press as is the case with Al Qaeda and the Islamic State. Thus, the media and the government concentrate on the external rather than internal threats, which are equally significant.  

The far-right and left movements have existed in the country for a long time. However, they were rampant in the 1970s and their remnants still exist in the country. Today, terrorism refers to Islamic fundamentalists that use Islam to cause havoc and terror in the world. Terrorism became a prominent topic after the September 11 attacks in New York and the political leadership leading the country to attack Afghanistan and Iraq to fight the terror groups in their hiding places (Silke, 2014). Therefore, homegrown extremism in the United States is not a new development. Numerous groups have existed in opposition to government programs or progressive agendas such as abortion. However, Islamic extremism is prominent today because of the activities of external groups such as Al Qaeda and the Islamic State that target western nationals and nations for an attack.

Part 2

Right-Wing extremism is a radicalization agenda that advances ideas such as ultra-nationalism, supremacies’, racism, and fascism. It often uses violence to defend ethnic national or racial identity. The violence is meted on state authorities that encourage them to coexist with minority groups. Therefore, the Right-Wing extremists are nationalist with the primary aim of advancing the interest of the ethnic group or a race (Baysinger, 2006). On the other hand, Left-Wing Extremism focuses on anti-capitalist themes and the social inequality they create in society. They call for the review of political systems since they are aware of the needs of the community. In some cases, the groups use violence to achieve their objectives. Some of the common groups in this category are Marxist-Leninist leaning. Therefore, Right-Wing and Leftist groups are political and economic (Silke, 2014). Moreover, they both aspire to achieve some political or economic objectives. Terrorist groups desire to change the structures of governance through violence to attract the attention of the country and its leadership.

Violent extremist individuals are involved in criminal activity at some point in their lives before radicalization. The most common are juvenile offenders who have a grievance against society. When they use religion, the groups aspire to show that it is a target of external forces that seek to destroy something cherished by citizens. Most of the individuals also have a sense of community victimization, meaning that they were members of a targeted and victimized society. Therefore, once radicalized, they experience a fundamental change in the way they perceive the world around them and process information.

Part 3 What ISIS Wants

The Islamic State group is a recent international terrorist organization that has engaged the imagination of the world. It has attracted psychopaths and adventure seekers from Europe and the Middle East. The group seeks to promote Islam in its pure form involving all aspects of the faith. The majority of Muslims across the world believe that the Islamic State misrepresents Islam, but it still attracts large followings from the same religion. The assumption that the group is not religious prompted the western nations to fight the group because of the assumption that the theological foundations of the organization are weak (Wood, 2015). The destruction of the group must come from understanding its intellectual genealogy to understand its weakness and strengths to sustain a campaign against it. Thus, it is critical to understand Islamic State to respond to its activities effectively.

The main characteristic of the Islamic State is its drive to massacre as many people as possible. As a result, it claimed that wearing western clothing, selling drugs or alcohol, and voting in an election as capital offenses punishable by the death penalty. It also allowed the killing of any Shia Muslim, which it considers as an innovation of the faith of Islam. The assertion risks the lives of more than 200 million Shia believers in the world (Wood, 2015). The group also claims that it would lead the war in fighting Muslim nations that have elevated human-made laws above Sharia. Therefore, it commits to eliminate all the people who do not follow their ideas by killing many people. While the Islamic State argued that it was pursuing an Islamic agenda, the majority of its victims were Muslims in Iraq and Syria.

The Islamic State aimed to create a modern caliphate in Iraq and Syria. As a result, many Muslims migrated to the region to fight its battles and establish a nation governed by Sharia law. Online recruitment made it easy to spread the propaganda and ensure that newcomers to the group were aware of the beliefs of the organization (Wood, 2015). The fact that the group used to recruit both genders increased its chances of developing a vast caliphate like the one before the Ottoman Empire. Although the concept has remained an idea for almost 1,000 years, the Islamic State’s ideology is to reestablish a caliphate and encourage as many global citizens as possible to travel to the region.

The Islamic State propaganda machinery makes sure that potential supporters understand that it is a political and religious organization. At the height of its activities, the group regularly made broadcasts to encourage Muslims to have an allegiance to jihadist groups in the world. According to the group adherents, a person who fails to adhere to the teachings of a caliphate is not a fully practicing Muslim (Wood, 2015). Therefore, the majority of the Muslims who traveled to Syria and Iraq believed that the group was reestablishing comprehensive forms of Islam. As a result, they thought that the group was an essential part of the Islamic faith, although the majority felt that it was distorting facts to suit it. Thus, the Islamic State was a political and religious institution, which explains why it attracted the support of Muslims across the world.


Baysinger, T. G. (July 2006). Right-wing Group Characteristics and Ideology. Homeland Security Affairs 2.

Silke, A. (Ed.). (2014). Prisons, terrorism and extremism: Critical issues in management, radicalization and reform. Routledge.

Wood, G. (2015, March). What ISIS Really Wants. The Atlantic. Retrieved from http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/03/what-isis-really-wants/384980/


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