Queens Man Sentenced to More Than 18 Years for Firebombing Religious Facilities
A Queens, New York, man received a sentence of 18 years and 10 months in federal prison on December 6 for hate crimes that involved firebombing houses of worship. Ray Lazier Lengend (pictured), 46, threw Molotov cocktails at several buildings in Queens on January 1, 2012. The targets included a Shiite mosque, the Imam Al-Khoei Islamic Center, and a private residence housing a Hindu temple. After authorities arrested him the following day, Lengend said he hated Arabs, Muslims, and Middle Easterners. Regarding the mosque, Lengend stated that he wanted to “take out as many Arabs as possible.” Nobody was injured in the attacks. Lengend will serve three years of supervised release following his prison term. He pleaded guilty to two counts of hate crimes through the use of fire and explosives in December 2017. He also pleaded guilty at the state level to attempted arson as a hate crime in October 2017 and is serving a 20-year prison sentence. The federal sentence will run concurrent with the state sentence.
US Soldier Receives 25-Year Prison Sentence for Attempting to Support ISIS
A US Army sergeant received 25 years in prison on December 4 for attempting to provide material support to ISIS. Ikaika Erik Kang, 35, Oahu, Hawaii, met with undercover FBI agents he believed were connected to ISIS between June and July 2017. He provided them classified military documents he thought would later be given to the terrorist organization, as well as a drone and military-style clothing and gear that he bought. Kang then trained two additional undercover agents—one claiming to be a high-ranking ISIS leader and the other a fighter—on military combat techniques. Prosecutors said Kang was given numerous opportunities to return the classified documents and leave the training. He was arrested on July 8, 2017, after he swore an oath of allegiance to ISIS in a fake ceremony and said he wanted to conduct a mass shooting. Starting in at least early 2016, Kang watched ISIS propaganda videos online and expressed a desire to join the group. Kang, who pleaded guilty to charges in August, will serve 20 years of supervised release following his prison term.
Study Finds Terrorism Deaths Drop, Far-Right Extremism on the Rise in 2017
Deaths caused by terrorism worldwide declined for the third straight year while violence attributed to far-right extremism increased in North America and Western Europe, according to a report released on December 5. The 2018 Global Terrorism Index by the Institute for Economics and Peace said there were 18,814 terrorism-related deaths in 2017—a 27 percent drop from 2016 and 44 percent below their peak in 2014. Of the 163 countries tracked in the study, 96 improved and 46 experienced a decline. Iraq had the largest decrease in the number of deaths, with a 56 percent decline to 4,271 in 2017. Egypt and Somalia had the largest increases at 123 and 93 percent, respectively. The report found the global economic impact of terrorism was $52 billion in 2017. While terrorism-related deaths declined, the report indicated far-right extremism is a growing concern in North America and Western Europe. It noted that 66 deaths were caused by far-right groups and individuals in 127 attacks between 2013 and 2017. According to the report, North America had 16 deaths from 31 incidents related to far-right extremism last year—increases of 54 percent and 417 percent, respectively, from 2016.