September 26, 2019

The Global Rise of White Supremacy Extremism: Understanding the Threat and Applying Policy Solutions

On September 26, 2019, The Soufan Center hosted a discussion on ‘The Global Rise of White Supremacy Extremism: Understanding the Threat and Applying Policy Solutions.’ This special edition of the Soufan Center Salon Series featured Ali Soufan, Founder of the Soufan Center, and counterterrorism experts Colin P. Clarke, Jason Blazakis, Dr. Cynthia Miller-Idriss, and Tess Owen. “The white supremacists are doing the same things today as the jihadis in the 80s and 90s — they are creating transnational networks,” said Mr. Soufan in his opening remarks.

Since the 9/11 attacks, the international community has focused squarely on countering jihadi terrorism, with much of the threat landscape largely dominated by al-Qaeda and later, the so-called Islamic State. However, today’s terrorism threat landscape is rapidly evolving, notably with the rise of the white supremacy extremism. Manifestos of groups promoting hatred, xenophobia, anti-immigration and fascism are spreading around the world at lightning speed on social media or more slowly in the form of protest movements and fringe to mainstream political parties. Not surprisingly, countries are experiencing a dramatic rise in deadly acts of violence perpetrated by white supremacist actors. The transnational aspect of this movement is now being noted by an increasing number of experts.

At this event, on the margins of the opening of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), experts explored the current threat of white supremacy extremism and response capacities; lessons learned and parallels in relation to other groups; financing and recruitment; and policy responses. Problem-solving techniques for the public and private sectors were also discussed. The conversation presented the main findings and recommendations from The Soufan Center’s most recent report, drawing on longstanding work on preventing and countering terrorism in a range of ideological contexts. Read the report: ‘White Supremacy Extremism: The Transnational Rise of the Violent White Supremacist Movement.’