Jonathan Greenblatt
Jonathan Greenblatt Courtesy of the ADL

The Anti-Defamation League has released new data showing that far right extremists were responsible for the majority of domestic extremism murders in 2021.

Right wing extremists were linked to at least 26 extremist-related murders in the United States in 2021. They were also responsible for 75 percent of extremist-related murders in the last decade, the data shows.

The ADL Center on Extremist conducted an annual analysis of extremist-related killings, finding that domestic extremists were behind at least 29 murders in 19 incidents across the U.S.

“This represents an increase from the 23 extremist-related murders documented in 2020 but is far lower than the number of murders committed in any of the five years prior, primarily because no high-casualty extremist-related shooting spree occurred this past year. Such sprees are the main contributor to high murder totals,” the ADL said in a statement.

The organization noted that white supremacists killed more people in 2021 than other extremists, with nearly half of the killings related to white supremacists. Two killings were committed by Black nationalists and one by an Islamist extremist.

“This data underscores an indisputable fact: far-right extremists pose the greatest domestic terror threat to the United States,” said ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt. “But we need to keep in mind these statistics only capture a portion of the landscape of extremist violence and activity. Every year, extremists in the United States are involved in terrorist plots and acts, armed standoffs, shootouts with police, hate crimes, scams and cons, threats and harassment and a wide variety of other criminal acts.”

The ADL added that it’s “Protect Plan” – announced after the January 6 capitol insurrection – “offers a whole of government and whole of society approach to confront domestic terrorism, including actions for federal, state and local officials and the tech industry.”

They urged public official and law enforcement leaders to speak out against all types of hate and extremists.

“For too long, policymakers have focused disproportionate attention on the threat of Islamist extremism – to the detriment of readiness to address many other, equally serious security issues,” the ADL said.

Calling for states to enact “comprehensive, inclusive” hate crime legislation, the ADL explained that “effective responses” to extremist violence by lawmakers and law enforcement can “play an essential role in deterring and preventing these crimes.”

They also called for governments at all levels to appropriate grants to fund research into understanding the “drivers of extremist hate” and to fund evidence-based anti-hate programming.