The religious far right, represented by white supremacist and, to a lesser extent, patriot groups, are on the decline, although they are forming new and unexpected alliances.
The Public Eye (Spring), a leftist newsletter monitoring right wing groups, notes that the fall of the white supremacist group Aryan Nations (due to government seizure of its Idaho compound), as well as the mainstreaming of conservative protests through the election of George W. Bush, has diminished the numbers and influence of extremist organizations. The militia movement and the more extreme racialist far right, showed rapid growth in the 1990s, as hard-line conservatives claimed the government was taking away their freedoms.
The militias often drew Christians and others with millennialist and apocalyptic expectations, particularly during the Y2K phenomenon. But the cooling of millennialist fervor and the failure of militias to institutionalize their movement has likewise weakened these groups (There were 858 militia units in 1996 but by 2000, there were only 194).
Those far right groups still existing are more separatistic and are forming an unusual alliance with other anti-Americans, such as militant Muslims. In a report from the Southern Poverty Law Center (http://www.splcenter.org/cgi-bin/printassist.pl?page=/intelligenceproject/ip-4u3.html), Martin Lee writes that both the far right and radical Muslims share a fear of globalism, and harbor conspiratorial, anti-Semitic sentiments.
Although the connection between the far right and extremist Muslims is more developed in Europe [see December, 2001, RW], the links with U.S. white supremacists are evident. After the attacks of September 11, a “number of Muslim newspapers published a flurry of articles by American white supremacists ranting against Israel and the Jews,” Lee writes.
In the wake of Sept. 11, several American neo-Nazi Web sites also started to offer links to Islamic websites.
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