US militia groups—right-wing extremists with an anti-government, conspiracy-oriented ideology—are adopting violent, anti-Islamic rhetoric following the attacks in Paris last month, as well as the media’s continuing coverage of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Militia members across the country have threatened Muslim communities and mosques, and they have released some Muslims’ personally identifiable information online.
- Late last month, Jon Ritzheimer, a militia member from Phoenix, posted a video of himself brandishing a gun and announcing plans to travel to Islamberg, New York, a predominantly Muslim community in the southern part of the state. Ritzheimer said he would “stop at every mosque along the way” to antagonize and intimidate Muslims. Earlier this year, Ritzheimer made threats against Muslim Day, which occurred on September 14, at Six Flags in New Jersey.
- Following the Paris attacks, David Wright—a self-declared militia member—organized an armed protest outside a mosque in Irving, Texas, claiming the weapons were for “self-defense.” Following the protest, Wright released the names and home addresses of local Muslims online, declaring he would conduct similar events and activities in the future.
- Following ISIS’s public beheading of American journalist James Foley in 2014, militia extremists in Mississippi discussed kidnapping and beheading a Muslim and posting the execution video online.
Since 2013, federal and state authorities have observed growing anti-Muslim sentiment among militia extremists groups, and we continue to watch for increased threats to the Muslim community in the aftermath of last week’s attack in San Bernardino. We encourage Muslim and other faith-based partners to report any threats or suspicious activity. They can do so by calling 1-866-4-SAFE-NJ (866-472-3365) or 2-1-1, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.