The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) added the LGBTQ+ community to a list of groups at risk for extremist acts of domestic terrorism.
US government intelligence officials have acknowledged a growing threat of American extremists in recent years, and have been identifying homegrown terrorists; since 2015. Following the insurrection at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, the DHS periodically issues terrorism advisory warnings outlining threats from Domestic Violent Extremists (DVEs).
The notice on Wednesday, November 30, was issued in the wake of the LGBTQ+ nightclub attack in Colorado Springs where a gunman killed five people. The report stated that officials have observed domestic extremists inside the United States praising the attack on online forums in what they fear could lead to further violence.
This bulletin did not cite any specific credible plots for LGBTQ+ terrorism, but raised concerns about a potential increase in violence toward the LGBTQ+ and migrant communities, acknowledging a general concern about a “heightened threat environment” by Americans motivated by violent ideologies. A senior DHS official told reporters that American extremists pose a “persistent and lethal threat” to these communities.
The report also identified an “enduring threat to faith-based communities, including the Jewish community.” The DHS has a Faith-based Security Advisory Council that monitors targeted violence or threats against places of worship and faith-based organisations. The department has added security measures to organisations at high risk of terrorist attacks, including synagogues.
One reporter asked if the antisemitic remarks by Ye (Kanye West) contributed to increased threats against Jewish people, and a DHS official said any high-profile celebrity who shares conspiracy theories can ignite violence among extremists.
In addition to violent threats against these community groups, officials also identified concerns about political violence noting the upcoming date of January 6 which will mark two years since the breach of the US Capitol. The report also referenced violence surrounding November’s midterm elections including the home break-in and assault of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband.
The DHS has released reports every six months since January 2021, and this new bulletin is set to run through to May of next year.
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