Terrorism is a challenge that nearly all countries across the world are grappling with. The situation is worse in the Arab world where security forces are overwhelmed and are unable to tackle terrorism effectively. The United States is no stranger to terrorism. The 9/11 attacks will forever remain in the memory of the nation as it resulted in the deaths of thousands of Americans and adversely affected the economy. While foreign terrorist groups have been the focus of counter-terrorism efforts, it must be recognized that domestic terrorist groups also pose a challenge. Ku Klux Klan (KKK) and the Phinehas Priesthood are among the domestic groups that are making the job of law enforcement officials difficult. These groups employ violence to spread hate and to promote their agenda.
The Phinehas Priesthood
For a group to the labeled terrorist, it must possess a number of features. One of these features is that it must threaten to use violence (Hamm, 2011). Another feature is that the group must pursue some religions, political or ideological objective. The desire to cause panic and fear among the public is another characteristic that defines terrorist groups. The fourth feature that defines terrorist groups is the deliberate targeting of innocent civilians (Hamm, 2011). An examination of the beliefs, structure and actions of the Phinehas Priesthood reveals that it fits the criterion for a terrorist group. Members of Phinehas Priesthood are known to have committed violent acts that include robberies and murders. The group claims to draw inspiration from the Christian faith. It is staunchly opposed to racial integration, abortion and homosexuality. Essentially, this group encourages hate and upholds racial purity. It is evident that Phinehas Priesthood is a terrorist organization.
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Various categories have been developed to classify terrorist groups. The Phinehas Priesthood belongs to the religious category of terrorist networks. This category is composed of groups that obtain their drive and inspiration from religion (“Categories of Terrorist”, n.d). The groups push for the ideals of a given religion while opposing other faiths through violence. Phinehas Priesthood operates within the United States. Oklahoma and the Pacific Northwest are some of the areas that have witnessed attacks that have been blamed on this group (“Phineas Priesthood”, n.d). A member of the group also carried out murder in Texas. It is clear that this group seeks to spread its message of hate and fear across the entire country. The primary objective of the Phinehas Priesthood appears to be the promotion of racial purity and the preservation of the laws of God.
Organization and financing play vital roles in defining the success and very survival of any terrorist group. The Phinehas Priesthood does not seem to have a proper structure. Its members operate as lone wolves who carry out attacks and spread hate on their own (Davis, 2010). Additionally, it does not appear that the group receives financing. Individual members are responsible for carrying out attacks and promoting the group’s agenda. The Phinehas Priesthood mostly operates as an independent entity. However, it shares an ideology with such other terrorist groups as Ku Klux Klan which also promote religious extremism and racial purity (Davis, 2010).Today, the Phinehas Priesthood is a mere shell of its former self. It appears to lack a proper organization and communication system. Evidence for this can be found in the recruitment method that the group uses. Instead of actively seeking members and providing training, it asserts that whoever shares in its values and beliefs automatically becomes a member (Jenkins, 2014). This is indication that the group has become weak and is on its death bed. The FBI has constantly monitored the Phinehas Priesthood (Leopold, 2016). However, it has been unable to infiltrate the group since it has no physical address, no known proper structures and its members act as lone wolves. It is very difficult to monitor lone wolves. Personally, I feel that the Phinehas Priesthood has no future. This group has been on a decline for years now and it is only a question of time before the group finally dies.
Ku Klux Klan
KKK is undoubtedly the oldest and most well known domestic terrorist group in the United States. What makes this organization a terrorist group are its ideology and tactics. It is a white supremacist group that initially sought to make it clear that the white race was superior (“The Reemergence”, n.d). It intimidated members of the black community and any white person who supported this community. The group has carried our lynching, rape and other unspeakable crimes in the name of religion and racial purity. This group can be classified as an ethnocentric terrorist group. Groups of this kind believe that one race is superior to others (“Categories of Terrorist”, n.d). The preservation of the white race and the Christian faith are the main objectives of the KKK. In addition to attacking African Americans, the group has also targeted homosexuals, Jews, Catholics and others.
The KKK has an elaborate organizational structure. The group is composed of various chapters that are spread across the country. Most of these chapters are found in Southern United States. To finance its operations, the KKK relied on the support of its members. The group raised money through sale of such merchandise as hoods (Cima, 2016). The KKK does not operate alone. It has been linked to other groups that share its ideology and objectives. These groups include Christian American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, Confederate White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan and Militant Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, among many others (“Ku Klux Klan”, n.d). KKK has managed to survive for so many years because it has set up a strong communication and organization network. Its members show up in large numbers for rallies and protests. This is possible thanks to the group’s organization and communication system. The FBI has repeatedly infiltrated the KKK. The FBIC employed a range of techniques to infiltrate the group. The use of informants and collaboration with local police officers are among these techniques (FBI, n.d). I feel that KKK is still a threat to the American people. However, I am confident that the group’s future is bleak as the US is becoming more racially-integrated.
In conclusion, domestic terrorism is a serious challenge for law enforcement agencies in the United States. Terrorist groups that operate from inside the country pose a far greater threat than foreign groups. Ku Klux Klan and the Phinehas Priesthood are just two of the domestic terrorist groups that have killed dozens and caused damage to property. These groups obtain their drive from religious fundamentalism and hate. The US is making remarkable progress in its war against terrorism, both local and foreign. It can be hoped that as the country revamps its effort against terrorism, the domestic terror groups will be defeated.
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