Post-9/11 Terrorism Database

A tracking of plots by Muslim and non-Muslim violent extremists against the United States

April 23, 2013

As a continuation of its policy papers series, MPAC offers another important resource for communities and policymakers: a policy memo on post-9/11 terrorism data. Accompanying the report is MPAC’s “Post-9/11 Terrorism Incident Database.” The first of its kind done by a Muslim American organization, the database tracks plots by Muslim and non-Muslim violent extremists against the United States.

This report examines the challenges posed by Muslim violent extremists in two ways. The first is by examining the quantitative and qualitative nature of terrorism trials. Second, it looks at the number of actual and attempted attacks within the United States, including a comparative analysis of incidents involving Muslim and non-Muslim perpetrators.

The Database draws upon tracking done by the Congressional Research Service, Heritage Foundation, Southern Poverty Law Center, Anti-Defamation League, official government and court documents, and mainstream media reporting.

Among the key findings are:

  • Since 9/11, only 47% of so-called “jihadist” suspects publicly associated with terrorism were prosecuted under a terrorism or national security statute.
  • There were 135 total plots by U.S.-originated non-Muslim perpetrators against the United States since 9/11. In comparison, there have been 60 total plots by U.S. and foreign-originated Muslim perpetrators since 9/11.
  • There have been least 10 incidents of non-Muslim violent extremists possessing or attempting to possess Biological, Chemical or Radiological weapons. One of those incidents occurred since Obama’s election. No such cases involving Muslim violent extremists have been reported since 9/11.
  • Evidence clearly indicates a general rise in violent extremism across ideologies. Using Obama’s election as our measurement, since November 4, 2008 there have been 88 plots by domestic non-Muslim violent extremists. By comparison, there have been 36 plots by Muslim U.S. and foreign-originated extremists. Each of these categories constitutes about 50% or more of all violent extremist cases in each dataset since 9/11.
  • Yet, there is little evidence of rising ideological extremism among Muslim Americans. We use Obama’s election as the start of a timeline for measurement. We found 19 out of the 31 post-election plots (61%) involved Muslim Americans engaging in ideological extremism before the vote. 10 out of 31 cases (32%) are individuals involved in extremist activities after Obama’s election. 2 cases (6%) remain unknown.

Al-Qaeda does not appear to be making new ideological gains into the Muslim American community. Instead, the data is pointing toward greater numbers of longstanding ideological extremists turning to violence.

  • Muslim communities helped U.S. security officials to prevent nearly 2 out of every 5 Al-Qaeda plots threatening the United States since 9/11. It highlights the importance of partnering with society through good relations and community oriented policing.

The report also offers the following policy recommendations:

  • Expand community-oriented policing initiatives
  • Increase support for research on combating biased policing
  • Expand investments in better human capital acquisitions
  • Highlight citizen contributions to national security
  • Reform the fusion center process to increase coordination among law enforcement 
  • Adopt MPAC’s “four essential principles” to successful engagement with Muslim American communities

This policy memo is the latest in a series of MPAC publications that aim to effectively address issues of concern to our nation while providing practical policy solutions.

Rather than being passive objects of discussion in counterterrorism discussions, in the public interest, MPAC is providing all Americans, including Muslim communities, with the resources and unique perspectives to proactively engage the policy discourse and provide practical solutions.


Download the Paper

“Post-9/11 Terrorism Incident Database” (PDF)
Last updated June 2012



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