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For over 90 years, the Anti-Defamation League has fought against bigotry and anti-Semitism by exposing and reporting on hate groups and other extremists who seek to harm perceived enemies and to undermine our democracy.  Today, ADL’s Center on Extremism continues our mission to expose and document the groups and individuals whose ideologies and activities perpetuate hatred and extremism.  To this end, the Center on Extremism has created an online resource, Extremism in America, whichserves as a guide to prominent extreme movements, groups, and leaders in the United States.

The entries in Extremism in America provide the context needed to understand the history of such extremists, what their beliefs are, how those beliefs motivate them to action, and what forms their actions take. This resource is divided into several categories--Individuals, Groups, Movements, and Media—and paints a comprehensive picture of the current state of extremism in the United States.  The Anti-Semitic neo-Nazi skinheads, camouflage-wearing militia members, arson-prone environmental extremists—all these and more are described and explained, with the latest and up-to-date analysis and information.

At the root of extremism are radical ideologies, radical religious beliefs and pent-up anger and frustration, all of which can lead to violent acts ranging from hate crimes to terrorism. In the United States, the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and the 9-11 terrorist attacks six years later, have made it painfully clear that Americans cannot ignore the dangers of extremism.

Some of those dangers originate beyond America’s shores.  But within the United States’ own borders, multitudes of homegrown haters and extremists exist whose beliefs are equally radical and who can be equally dangerous.  The population of the United States passed 300 million early in this century, which means that even the fringe of the fringe is still a large number.   Moreover, because extremists are so willing to use violence to upset the status quo, they can cause harm in amounts far disproportionate to their number.  Hate crimes can affect entire communities; acts of terrorism can affect an entire nation.

America unfortunately has no shortage of extremists.  Some come from the far right, primarily in the form of racist and anti-Semitic hate groups or anti-government extremists.  Others come from the far left, including environmental and animal rights extremists.  Some extreme movements may focus around a single, narrow issue, such as abortion and involve anti-abortion extremists who bomb health clinics.  Other movements may stem from ideologies that stress racial superiority, fanatic religious beliefs or radical political views.  Whatever their origin or nature, many extremist movements have adherents who are so committed to their vision that they are willing to break the law and to use violence to achieve their goals.  The democratic processes for change available to all Americans are of little use to them. We have created Extremism in America because the problems caused by extremists cannot be combated without knowledge and understanding of how and why they operate.  This guide is designed to arm you with that knowledge.

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