The studies are entitled “Profiles of Perpetrators of Terrorism” and “Hot Spots of Terrorism and other Crimes in the United States,” and were conducted by the START program at the University of Maryland. START stands for National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism. It’s director is Bill Braniff, who previously served at the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point. Braniff frequently gives presentations to government organizations such as the FBI, the United States Attorney’s Office and others.
According to The Blaze, START has received approximately $12 million in funding from DHS and is set to receive an additional $3.6 million. The stated goal of the program is to “sponsor research that will aid the intelligence and law enforcement communities in identifying potential terrorist threats and support policymakers in developing prevention efforts.”
In the studies, various groups deemed to be a threat to American safety were categorized and outlined. Included in the list were “extreme right-wing” groups, “extreme left-wing” groups, “ethno-nationalists,” religious groups, and “single-issue” groups. Extreme right-wing groups were defined as those “that believe that one’s personal and/or national ‘way of life’ is under attack and is either already lost or that the threat is imminent … [and are] anti-global, suspicious of centralized federal authority [and] reverent of individual liberty.” Ethno-nationlists were stated to be “regionally concentrated groups with a history of organized political autonomy with their own state, traditional ruler, or regional government, who are committed to gaining or regaining political independence through any means…”
Religious groups were labeled as those “that seek to smite the purported enemies of God and other evildoers, impose strict religious tenets or laws on society (fundamentalists), forcibly insert religion into the political sphere (e.g., those who seek to politicize religion, such as Christian Reconstructionists and Islamists), and/or bring about Armageddon.” Single-issue groups included those that were anti-abortion and anti-Catholic in belief.
The “Profiles of Perpatrators of Terrorism” report further outlined, “There are five main varieties of religious terrorism: (1) Islamist terrorism; (2) Jewish fundamentalist terrorism, primarily inside Israel; (3) Christian terrorism, which can be further subdivided into fundamentalist terrorism of an Orthodox (mainly Russia), Catholic, or Protestant stamp (which, in the US, is especially aimed at stopping the provision of abortions) and terrorism inspired by apocalyptic Christian identity doctrine.”
Ironically, in a chart that tallied the amount of actual terror attacks that have been carried out by religious groups in the United States from 1970 to 2008, it was found that such incidents were minuscule. The report admitted, “Incidents of religiously motivated terrorist attacks were much less prevalent than all other ideologically motivated terrorist attacks.”
A total of 14 religiously-motivated terror-related crimes were cited over the 38-year period, compared to 364 incidents attributed to those deemed to be “left-wing.” The crimes were also only committed in three cities: Los Angeles, Manhattan and Wasco, Oregon, with nine of them being during the 1980’s.
The September 11, 2001 attack upon the World Trade Center was included in the tally.