White supremacists are officially a bigger threat to the state of New Jersey than ISIS and al Qaeda, according to state officials.
The move to mark white supremacists as a higher threat than other groups echoes the thoughts of many Americans who feel threatened by racist attacks and domestic terrorism here in their own backyard.
New Jersey’s annual Terrorism Threat Assessment report, which was released Friday, revealed the state had raised the threat level for white supremacist extremists to “high,” which is the topmost category for threat levels for any extremist group, CNN reports.
Matter of fact, the only other threat listed as high as white supremacist extremists are homegrown violent extremists, who also held the top place in 2019’s report.
White supremacists were previously listed as a moderate threat, along with ISIS. But in this year’s report, they moved up while ISIS receded one level, to “low.”
White supremacists also outrank Boko Haram, black separatist extremists and more than a dozen other extremist groups in the report.
Several recent attacks contributed to the new change in the report. For example, the report specifically discusses a rising threat from white supremacist extremists over the last year, referencing the El Paso Walmart shooting as one of those incidents. The shooter in that incident wrote a racist, anti-immigrant four-page document.
The report also mentions local incidents, such as the arrest of a man who admitted to instructing members of a neo-Nazi network to vandalize synagogues and was accused of expressing interest in attacking black people with a machete at a New Jersey mall.
“The ever-changing threat landscape in New Jersey and around the country requires us to adjust our strategies to anticipate new threats while remaining ready to combat those already existing,” said Jared Maples, director of the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, in a news release.
The report also outlines how white supremacist organizations in the state have actively attempted to spread their beliefs and recruit new members. According to the report, since January 2019, there have been 168 reported instances of white supremacist propaganda distribution, nearly four times as much as the 46 reports in 2018.
“Some white supremacist extremists argue that participating in mass attacks or creating other forms of chaos will accelerate the imminent and necessary collapse of society in order to build a racially pure nation,” the report states.
Roommates, do you think other states should follow suit? Let us know.