Extremism, Terrorism & Bigotry

Casualties from Domestic Islamic Extremism Since San Bernardino

  • by:
    • Jessica Reaves
  • December 1, 2016



Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik

It has been one year since the December 2, 2015 attack on a workplace holiday party in San Bernardino, California, that left 14 dead and 22 others seriously injured. The perpetrators, Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik, had allegedly discussed their commitment to extremism in private emails, and law enforcement found copies of Inspire magazine, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula's English-language propaganda magazine, at their residence. Reports also indicate that Malik may have posted to Facebook expressing allegiance to ISIS in advance of the attack.

Since then, there have been six domestic Islamic extremist attacks that resulted in casualties, although only one in which there were fatalities other than the perpetrator. Among those attacks was the shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, which was the deadliest act of domestic extremist violence since the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

Notably, none of the attacks that resulted in casualties since - and including - the San Bernardino shooting were directed at traditional, symbolic targets of terrorism, such as landmarks, military sites, or government buildings. While Ahmad Khan Rahami did attempt to detonate a bomb at a Marine Corps charity race, he did not injure anyone there; rather, it was the bomb he placed on a seemingly random street in New York that resulted in injuries.

Additionally, three of the five attacks since the San Bernardino shooting were carried out with non-traditional weapons: two were stabbings, and one involved a vehicular attack and stabbing. This is consistent with messages in propaganda materials released in 2016 by both ISIS and Al Qaeda encouraging attacks with common items.

The following is a list of domestic attacks that resulted in injuries or deaths since the San Bernardino shooting:

  • January 7, 2016: Edward Archer, a 30-year-old resident of Yeadon, Pennsylvania, and apparent convert to Islam, shot and wounded a Philadelphia police officer. Archer, who reportedly suffers from mental illness, claimed that he acted on behalf of ISIS.
  • June 12, 2016: Omar Mateen, a 29-year-old resident of Port St. Lucie, Florida, was killed by police after murdering 49 people and wounding 53 more in the largest mass shooting in American history.  Investigations of Mateen’s rampage at Pulse, an LGBT night club in Orlando, Florida, are ongoing.  For now, it appears that Mateen may have acted at least in part for personal, rather than ideological, reasons. However, in a 911 call he made during the attack, Mateen pledged allegiance to ISIS, called himself an “Islamic soldier,” called the Boston marathon bombers his “home­boys” and men­tioned a Florida res­i­dent who com­mit­ted a sui­cide attack on behalf of Al Qaeda in Syria. Mateen also allegedly claimed support for terror groups Hezbollah and Al Qaeda in a conversation with co-workers in 2013.
  • August 20, 2016: Wasil Farooqui, a 20-year-old Virginia resident, was arrested after stabbing two individuals outside an apartment complex. Witnesses claimed that he yelled "Allahu Akhbar" (Arabic for “God is great”) during the attack. Farooqui reportedly traveled abroad earlier in 2016 in a possible attempt to join ISIS in Syria. Some reports raised questions about his mental health.
  • September 17, 2016: Dahir Adan, a 22-year-old Minnesota resident, stabbed and injured 10 people in a St. Cloud, Minnesota mall before being shot to death by police officers. Although investigations into Adan’s motives are ongoing, he allegedly asked at least one person if they were Muslim before attacking. ISIS has claimed credit for the attack.
  • September 19, 2016: Ahmad Khan Rahami, a 28-year-old New Jersey resident, was arrested following a shootout with police and charged with seven counts, including attempted murder and murder of a police officer. Rahami was also charged with crimes including use of weapons of mass destruction and bombing a place of public use. Rahami was allegedly responsible for placing two pressure cooker bombs in Manhattan, one of which exploded and injured 29 people; a pipe bomb that exploded at the site of a marine charity race in Seaside, New Jersey, but did not result in any casualties; and a bag of pipe bombs found in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Rahami allegedly traveled to Pakistan in 2011 and 2013. Reports quote acquaintances saying he was changed when he returned from those trips. At the time of his arrest, Rahami was in possession of a notebook in which he had allegedly written extremist statements including a statement about “killing the kuffar (disbelievers),” and statements in support of Anwar al-Awlaki, the influential English-language propagandist for Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula who was killed in 2011.
  • November 28, 2016: Abdul Razak Ali Artan, an 18-year-old Ohio resident and student at Ohio State University, drove a vehicle into a crowd of pedestrians and then attempted to stab people with a knife. A Facebook post reportedly by Artan mentioned ISIS and referred to Anwar al-Awlaki, a former U.S. cleric and English-language spokesman for Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, as a hero. After wounding nine people, Artan was shot and killed while attacking. There were no other fatalities.
Extremism, Terrorism & Bigotry