A consortium of researchers dedicated to improving the understanding of the human causes and consequences of terrorism

Far-Right Fatal Ideological Violence against Religious Institutions and Individuals in the United States: 1990-2018


Following the Oct. 27, 2018 shooting at a Jewish Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, START researchers compiled background information from the United States Extremist Crime Database (ECDB) on ideologically motivated, fatal far-right violence in the United States, generally, and far-right extremist homicides and plots related to religion and religious institutions, specifically.

START’s ECDB includes a systematic collection of open-source data on financial and violent criminal behavior in the United States associated with far-right, far-left, and al-Qaida-influenced groups and movements. The ECDB does not exclusively profile terrorist attacks; rather, it records criminal incidents committed by extremist groups or their supporters. These crimes range in important ways, such as the level of violence imposed on victims, number of suspects involved, and the motivations underlying each incident. For example, extremist crimes include attacks on law enforcement, abortion providers, and racial, ethnic and social minorities. Extremists are also connected to financial crimes and cases involving foiled plots. Inclusion in the dataset is based primarily on an individual’s criminal behaviors. The researchers then classified the criminals into ideological categories (e.g. far-right extremist, al-Qaida-influenced). The use of broad ideological categories does not suggest that any individual or group sharing one or more of these beliefs is an extremist criminal.

Publication Information

Full Citation:

Freilich, Joshua D., William S. Parkin, Colleen E. Mills, Steven M. Chermak, Jeff Gruenewald, and Brent R. Klein. 2018. "Far-Right Fatal Ideological Violence against Religious Institutions and Individuals in the United States: 1990-2018." College Park, MD: START (October). https://www.start.umd.edu/pubs/START_ECDB_FarRightFatalIdeologicalViolenceAgainstReligiousTargets1990-2018_Oct2018.pdf