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CSUSB professor and hate crimes expert Brian Levin discusses Pittsburgh synagogue shootingCBS Los Angeles (KCBS and KCAL)Oct. 27, 2018 Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at CSUSB, was interviewed for his perspective on the Oct. 27 shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue in which 11 people were killed. The accused shooter was said to have posted anti-Semitic screeds on a social media website.Asked whether the Trump administration bears any responsibility in the incident, Levin replied, “Not for this particular attack. In fact, the assailant spoke of his disappointment in President Trump for being surrounded by so many Jews. “But in a larger context, I think the president could have done a much better job with respect to Charlottesville,” he said, referring to the clash between extremist on the left and right in August 2017 in Virginia that left one person dead. “Also, he’s gutted some of the agencies that work in the area of hate crime and hate crime prevention. Moreover, he has not disavowed effectively the wellspring of support he receives from the alt right and white nationalist neo-Nazis. He has not yet done an effective job in any sustained way. “I am not saying he is a bigot. But what I am saying is the hardcore hatemongers in the world think that he supports them, and he needs to disavow them root and branch, and sustain it over time.” He also commented on political rhetoric and its influence on incidents like the Pittsburgh shooting, and the regulation of assault-style weapons. Watch the video interview online at “Hate crimes expert discusses Pittsburgh synagogue shooting.”
CSUSB’s Brian Levin offers perspective on Pittsburgh synagogue shooting and other incidents in the past weekKTTV Fox 11 (Los Angeles)Oct. 29, 2018 In the past week, explosive devices were mailed to prominent Democrats, two African-Americans were fatally shot at a supermarket in Louisville, Ky., and 11 people at a Pittsburgh synagogue were fatally shot. Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at CSUSB, was invited on the “Good Day LA” program to offer his perspectives on these incidents against the backdrop of the nation’s current political discourse. Watch the video of the interview at http://my.tvey.es/Bq9r3. Note: This link expires 30 days from Oct. 29, 2018.
CSUSB professor interviewed on CNN as part of its coverage of the Pittsburgh synagogue shootingCNNOct. 27-28, 2018 The cable television news network published transcripts of its interviews with Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University at San Bernardino, as part of its coverage of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting on Oct. 27 in which 11 people were killed. A suspect who had posted anti-Semitic rants on a social media website, is in custody facing federal charges. His first interview was with Alex Marquardt, on the 3 p.m. EDT, Oct. 27, broadcast, not long after the shooting was first reported. Levin was asked for his initial reaction. “We've been girding for these kinds of horrible things,” Levin said. “Post-Charlottesville, what we've seen is a fragmentation and splintering of not only the leadership of the organization of these far-right anti-Semitic groups, going into Charlottesville and just after, we saw more mega-rallies, large rallies by white nationalists and Neo-Nazis in those two and a half years than the previous 10 to 20. (The Anti-Defamation League) reports a 57 percent increase in anti-Semitic incidents. We saw, from 2014 to 2016, FBI data showing an increase of about 12 percent in anti-Semitic instances.” His second interview took place about an hour later, with Brooke Baldwin, on the 4 p.m. EDT, Oct. 27, broadcast. She asked him for his interpretation of the attack on people because of their skin color, religious beliefs and political views. “We have a rise of white nationalism,” Levin said. “We have an increasingly diverse country where white Christians are now in the minority. And we have people perceiving race relations to be at a quarter-century low. On top of that, extremism has fragmented, but it has entered the mainstream.” The third interview was with Natalie Allen, on the 4 a.m. EDT Oct. 28, broadcast. She asked him about the influence of the tone of political rhetoric from the president and other politicians. “Please, Mr. President, tone down the rhetoric,” Levin said. “It has an effect on real world violence. It doesn't always, but sometimes at critical junctures it does. “I would encourage leadership on all sides of the political spectrum to start working on civility, because, particularly with unstable people who respond to demonization and negative stereotypes, they're like loose time bombs,” he said. “The terrorists are already here, they're not Honduran mothers with two children trying to come across the border. We have people who respond to this and it's important that he disassociate from this rhetoric. Just this week he said he's a nationalist. We know the underbelly of nationalism can oftentimes take a hard turn. “My father was a POW In Nazi, Germany,” Levin said. “I think he needs to look at our civic history and promote the most important aspects of our reed, a free press, religious freedom as well as civic cohesion. And I think he's failed to do so.”
Right-wing extremists commit more hate crime attacks than Islamic extremists, CSUSB professor saysThe Washington PostOct. 28, 2018 The Pittsburgh synagogue shooting that left 11 people dead Saturday has renewed calls for the federal government to update its laws to put the kind of violence targeting minorities, religious groups and the public in the same category as terrorists inspired by overseas groups. A 2017 report by the Government Accountability Office found that since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, far-right violent extremists were responsible for 106 killings in the United States, while Islamist-inspired violent extremists had killed 119. The GAO found that while the number of deaths were roughly similar, the number of incidents were not; far-right extremists committed almost three times as many attacks — 62, compared with 23 by Islamist extremists. “We have one of the most diversified threat matrices that we’ve had in a decade, but the most ascendant is the far right wing,” said Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University at San Bernardino. Right-wing extremists commit more attacks, he said, but when Islamist militants act, “their attacks tend to be more lethal.” In 2016, hate crimes reached their highest mark since 2012 — with the FBI recording 6,121 criminal incidents motivated by bias against race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or gender. Compared with the year before, crimes against both Jews and Muslims increased, as did the number of crimes targeting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. The FBI said most incidents were motivated by race or ethnicity, though of those spurred by religion, anti-Jewish bias was most likely to be the cause. Hotly contested political races can fuel spikes in hate crimes, and President Trump’s election seemed to provide evidence of that. A 2017 study by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism found dramatic increases around the 2016 election in communities where law enforcement parsed data by month or quarter. Read the complete article at “Pittsburgh shooting comes amid rise in hate crimes, growing anxiety about right-wing extremism.”
Mid-term elections and recent violence discussed by CSUSB professorKCSB-AM (San Francisco)Oct. 27, 2018 In the aftermath of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting and other incidents since Oct. 24 were the focus of an interview with Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at CSUSB. “White nationalism and the neo-Nazi cohorts of that have been on a rise for the last couple of years,” he said. And hate incidents have become more frequent during election season, as was the case in November 2016 presidential election; it was the worst month in 14 years, and the day after the election was the worst day for hate crimes since 2003. The interview can be heard at http://my.tvey.es/o4X6W. Note, the link is valid for 30 days from Oct. 27, 2018.
CSUSB criminal justice professor comments on arrest of man suspected of sending pipe bombs to prominent DemocratsKNXOct. 26, 2018 After the arrest of a suspect in the case of pipe bombs mailed to prominent Democrats and CNN, the news radio station interviewed Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at Cal State San Bernardino, for his perspective. In one interview, he said he was not surprised at the speed of investigators tracking down a suspect so soon after the devices were discovered on Oct. 24 and 25. “You just had the brunt of the federal government investigatory tools, and state and local (law enforcement) on this,” Levin said. “It’s like going into the ring with Muhammad Ali – you can try and hop in it, but you’re not going to last very long.” He also discussed the suspect’s past criminal activity. “He has a criminal record that includes bomb or bomb threats in Florida, so he might be someone who is known to law enforcement.” Listen to the interview at this link: http://my.tvey.es/Xy89F. In another, Levin discussed the possible influence of the nation’s current political discourse on the suspect and the case. “What we seem to be seeing is this shift in regards to hate and political violence overlapping, and that’s something we’re monitoring very carefully,” Levin said. “We think there are unstable people that respond to certain messages, and unfortunately we see this happen quite a bit.” That interview may be heard at http://my.tvey.es/f8N9S. Levin also commented that the incident appeared to be a case of “lone-wolf political violence.” “Around election time, a lot of times that gets a lot of unstable people out,” he said. “For instance, a member of (the British) Parliament was killed before the Brexit vote … People are talking about, ‘Do politicians affect violence?’ Here’s what we do know: When candidate Trump opened his campaign (for president) and made derogatory references, nothing happened right around that time. However, around election time, big spike.” That interview can be heard at http://my.tvey.es/c8LPw. Note: These links are valid for 30 days from the Oct. 26 air date.
CSUSB professor comments on appeal of man convicted of trying to aid the Islamic State terror groupAssociated Press/The Washington PostOct. 28, 2018 Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at Cal State San Bernardino, comments on the appeal of a former a former patrol officer in the Washington, D.C., region’s Metrorail who was convicted of providing support to the Islamic State terror group.Nicholas Young, sentenced to 15 years in prison, is appealing the conviction because of photos showing him in a Nazi uniform and other related paraphernalia “irreparably tarred” him before the jury and violated his right to a fair trial. His appeal is set to be heard by the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals on Nov. 1. This “convergence” theory, while unusual, is not unheard of, said Levin. He said the 4th Circuit will have to decide whether the Nazi imagery and artifacts offered evidence of Young’s alleged crimes. “There is a place where these two generally oppositional ideologies have met through certain individuals. The key here is how relevant is Mr. Young’s potpourri of extremism relevant to the crime charged?” Levin said. Young is the first law enforcement officer in the country to be convicted of a terrorism offense. Read the complete article at “Ex-police officer appeals conviction in terror case.”
These news clips and others may be found at “In the Headlines” at inside.csusb.edu.