Each year, ADL’s Center on Extremism tracks murders perpetrated by all types of extremists. In 2018, every single extremist killing — from Pittsburgh to Parkland — had a link to right-wing extremism. This report provides key insights into the crimes, including motivations behind these violent attacks.
Each year, to commemorate the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, the notorious terrorist group Al Qaeda releases a video featuring one of the group’s senior leaders who typically reiterates the significance and impact of those deadly events from their warped perspective. Al Qaeda’s 2021 video, which was recently analyzed by experts in ADL’s Center on Extremism and department of International Affairs, was notable for several reasons. First, it contains minimal footage of 9/11 itself, a departure from the typical emphasis on the violence of that day. Second, the video prominently features leader Ayman al Zawahiri, who many Western analysts speculated had died, focusing explicitly on Israel.
Three years ago, Robert Bowers opened fire inside a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, murdering 11 people and devastating the close-knit community of Squirrel Hill. Inspired by antisemitic, anti-immigrant and white supremacist views, Bowers posted his bigoted thoughts on Gab, a site known as a haven for extremists, and then acted on his words, committing history’s deadliest assault on the American Jewish community. These resources help illuminate the hatred that motivated Bowers and shine a light on the technology and platforms that continue to host virulent antisemitism and anti-immigrant bigotry.
Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP) is an ISIS-affiliated terrorist group based in Afghanistan. The organization is believed to have between 1,500 and 2,200 active members. ISKP’s main goal is to establish and maintain control of territory in Afghanistan on behalf of ISIS. It also frequently directs attacks at civilians, Afghan security forces, and the Taliban.
In the days following 9/11, antisemitic conspiracy theorists dismissed the widely accepted version of events, instead crafting alternative narratives directly implicated Jewish people and Israel in the attacks, peddling antisemitic tropes about Jews supposedly manipulating word events for their own benefit and at the expense of others. Twenty years later, these antisemitic 9/11 conspiracy theories continue to thrive.
In recent weeks, Al Qaeda has dedicated an unusual amount of its propaganda towards encouraging attacks on Israel, Jewish institutions, and Jewish people. Given shifts in the Islamist extremist environment—including the outbreak of violence between Israel and Hamas in May 2021 and Al Qaeda’s expectation that it will gain a safe operational haven in Afghanistan as the United States withdraws from the country—this suggests that Al Qaeda or one of its regional affiliates may intend to recommit to attack Israel or the Jewish Diaspora.