The pandemic afflicting the world is impacting the prevalence and nature of homegrown violent extremism (HVE). Extremism is infectious, a #VirusofHate, and while Americans battle COVID-19, the country’s adversaries are engaged in activities motivated by hateful ideologies focused on race, religion and a host of extremist issues. 

Offered here is a list of news reports, government announcements and other resources covering extremist activities during the pandemic. It is regularly updated to include the most recent instances of HVE.  


NYPD Creates Asian Hate Crime Task Force After Spike in Anti-Asian Attacks

CNN, 8/18/20: The New York Police Department announced the creation of an Asian Hate Crime Task Force after an increase in racist attacks against Asian Americans during the Covid-19 pandemic. Since March 21, there have been 21 reported anti-Asian hate crimes that have resulted in 17 arrests. Victims have been reluctant to speak with police during investigations, he said, because of language barriers, cultural differences and fear of the police. (Read more)

JULY 2020

Anti-Asian Racism During COVID-19 has Historical Ties in United States

Iowa State University, 7/29/20: Anti-Asian hate crimes during health crises are unfortunately not new, according to a new academic paper published in the peer-reviewed American Journal of Criminal Justice. The authors looked at how anti-Asian hate crimes – including verbal harassment and physical violence – during the COVID-19 pandemic have furthered the historical “othering” of Asian Americans and reproduced inequalities. (Read more)

Congress Demands Justice Department Action Against Anti-Asian, COVID-19 Racism

NBC News, 7/22/20: About 150 members of Congress called on the Justice Department to take action against COVID-19-related anti-Asian racism. The bipartisan group, led by Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., demanded that Attorney General William Barr publicly condemn attacks targeting the Asian American and Pacific Islander community, as well as provide status updates on the steps the department is taking to combat acts of anti-Asian bias. (Read more)

Anti-Asian Hate Incidents Explode, Climbing Past 800

LA Times, 7/5/20: Hate incidents directed at Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are exploding this year, according to advocates pushing for California Gov. Gavin Newsom to boost funding for programs fighting bias and add a cultural representative to his new COVID-19 task force. (Read more)

Black and Asian Americans Report Increased Discrimination During Pandemic

USA Today, 7/1/20: A study by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center shows that nearly 40% of Asian and Black Americans – as well as 27% of Hispanics – say they’ve had adverse experiences because of their race or ethnicity since the coronavirus outbreak began. Those experiences include hearing slurs or jokes or fearing someone may threaten or physically attack them. In addition, almost 40% of U.S. adults – including 58% of the respondents of Asian descent – said it’s more common for people to express racist views about Asians than before the outbreak. (Read more)

JUNE 2020

US Watchdog Tracks Over 2,100 Anti-Asian Incidents

Voice of America, 6/27/20: Since mid-March, a U.S.-based coalition has tracked more than 2,100 anti-Asian hate incidents, a troubling figure that Asian American advocates say is being fueled in part by political rhetoric against China during the coronavirus pandemic. While racial slurs and other forms of verbal harassment constituted the vast majority of the incidents, nearly eight percent involved physical assaults, businesses barring Asian Americans from entering their establishments due to misplaced coronavirus fears, and attackers coughing and spitting on victims. (Read more)

COVID-19 Has Been a Boon for Far-Right Extremists

Foreign Affairs, 6/23/20: Just as they have for food delivery services and videoconferencing platforms, lockdowns have proved to be a time of growth and opportunity for white supremacists. Indeed, violent extremists across the ideological spectrum have exploited the pandemic to take advantage of people who are at their most vulnerable, desperate, and available—relegated to their homes (or their parents’ homes) with little to distract them aside from surfing the Web. (Read more)

Armed Militias See The Pandemic As A Recruiting Opportunity

American University Radio, 6/11/20: The COVID-19 pandemic and nationwide protests against police violence have put the country on edge, and the unrest appears to be a recruiting opportunity for some anti-government groups. Experts say economic devastation, fear and uncertainty caused by the coronavirus — as well as heavy-handed government tactics — are pushing some Americans toward groups like militias that espouse self-reliance, armed resistance and a dim view of government. (Read more)

MAY 2020

Anti-Lockdown Protesters Now Calling for Dems to Die

Daily Beast, 5/27/20: Anti-lockdown protesters across the country are ramping up their calls for violence against Democrats, even as states relax the coronavirus restrictions they’re protesting. This includes the head of Cowboys for Trump, Couy Griffin, who said “the only good Democrat is a dead Democrat,” as well as protesters in Kentucky who hung an effigy of Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear from a tree outside the state capitol. (Read more)

Role of Extremist Groups at California Lockdown Protests Raises Alarms

LA Times, 5/24/20: Lockdown protests have drawn a melting pot of participants, including peaceful activists such as the DeBows and militias such as the Boogaloo Boys, who have credos that call for civil war. It’s unclear how large a role extremist groups are playing in protests, and it’s uncertain to what extent extremist groups are trying to recruit at the events. (Read more)

Xenophobic Letters Targeting Minorities Posted on San Leandro Homes

ABC7SF, 5/24/20: An East Bay community is on edge after a string of racist letters targeting Asian Americans, women and children were found on homes and posted in public. San Leandro Police say there were at least 5 letters posted on homes and other locations by a woman named Nancy Arechiga . The letters suggest those not native to America leave the country immediately. (Read more)

Seattle Police Search for Suspect After 3 Bias Incidents Targeting Asians

Seattle Times, 5/24/20: Seattle police are investigating three separate incidents of bias targeting people of Asian descent that were reported in Ballard on Saturday, possibly all committed by the same suspect. An Asian woman and a couple of Asian heritage were accosted in a park, and a business was attacked by a man yelling racist comments about Asians. (Read more)

L.A. County Sees 100-Plus Hate Incidents Tied to Coronavirus

LA Daily News, 5/13/20: Citing an increase in hate-related incidents toward those with Asian or Pacific Islander ethnicity during the coronavirus pandemic, Los Angeles County officials are encouraging victims to make reports to local law enforcement. From February to April, the county had more than 100 reports of hate incidents related to the pandemic. (Read more)

NYPD Report Shows Bias Crimes Against Asian Americans on the Rise

ABC7NY, 5/5/20: Bias attacks against Asian Americans are on the rise according to the NYPD’s latest crimes report for April. This jump in hate crimes is quite a contrast to the fact that the major crime index fell in every borough last month by almost 30 percent compared to last year. (Read more)

Local Man (Pasadena) Arrested for Hate Crime Against Asian-Americans

Pasadena Now, 5/4/20: A Pasadena man was arrested on suspicion of a racially-motivated hate crime. Pasadena police said the suspect threw a Monster Energy drink at several Asian-American victims. One of the victims began to ask the suspect why he had thrown the drink at them when the suspect threw a second drink. When one of the victims approached the suspect, the suspect began to yell racial slurs at the victims. (Read more)

Colorado Man Planning Armed Protest Against State’s Coronavirus Restrictions Arrested for Pipe Bombs

ABC News, 5/4/20: A Colorado man arrested after federal agents allegedly discovered pipe bombs in his home had also been helping organize an armed protest demanding the state lift its coronavirus restrictions. FBI and ATF agents served search warrants and discovered four pipe bombs and potential pipe bomb components inside the house. (Read more)

The Coronavirus Becomes a Battle Cry for U.S. Extremists

New York Times, 5/3/20: America’s extremists are attempting to turn the coronavirus pandemic into a potent recruiting tool both in the deep corners of the internet and on the streets of state capitals by twisting the public health crisis to bolster their white supremacist, anti-government agenda. Although the protests that have broken out across the country have drawn out a wide variety of people pressing to lift stay-at-home orders, the presence of extremists cannot be missed. (Read more

Asian Man Riding NYC Subway Blamed for Coronavirus by Stranger Who Tried to Drag Him Off Train

NY Daily News, 5/3/20: An Asian man riding the subway in Midtown was singled out by a stranger who blamed him for coronavirus and tried to drag him off the train. The 30-year-old victim was minding his own business on an uptown train when a man approached him shouting, “You’re infected China boy, you need to get off the train.” The xenophobic assailant then grabbed the man by his right wrist and shoulder and tried to pull him out of his seat. (Read more)

Nazi Slogan Sign Displayed at ‘Re-open Illinois’ Rally Ripped by Auschwitz Memorial, Gov. J.B. Pritzker

ABC News, 5/3/20: A sign displayed by an anti-lockdown protester at a demonstration in Chicago was blasted by the Auschwitz Museum and Memorial, and the governor of Illinois as a slogan of hate once used in Nazi death camps. One protester held a handwritten sign reading, “Arbeit macht frei, JB.” The phrase means “work sets you free” and was used by the Nazis to get concentration camp prisoners to work under the false belief they would be spared from death. (Read more)

Oregon Hate Crime Reports Up 366% Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

Oregon Public Broadcasting, 5/1/20: Reports of hate crimes and bias incidents have spiked 366% in Oregon this year, in part because of the coronavirus pandemic. In March, nearly 18% of the reports came from the state’s Asian American and Pacific Islander community. In April, that number climbed to nearly 20% as fear over the coronavirus spread. (Read more)

Armed Protesters Take To Historic Downtown Raleigh, NC

WUNC Public Radio, 5/1/20: Nine protesters armed with military-style weapons and clothing gathered at the entrance of Oakwood Cemetery in downtown Raleigh Friday morning. Some of those protesters joined with a slightly larger group Friday afternoon to march around the downtown government district, protesting stay-at-home orders they said infringed on Constitutional rights. The meetup was organized through a Facebook group called Blue Igloo, a play on the word “boogaloo,” which describes an uprising against the government or left-wing political opponents. (Read more)


APRIL 2020

Man Charged With Hate Crime in Suspected Arson at Islamic Center

New York Times, 4/28/20: Authorities have charged a man with arson and a related hate crime after a fire caused significant damage to an Islamic center in Cape Girardeau, Mo. The man was charged with burglary, arson and property damage motivated by discrimination. (Read more)

Over 30 Percent of Americans Have Witnessed COVID-19 Bias Against Asians

NBC News, 4/28/20: More than 30 percent of Americans have witnessed someone blaming Asian people for the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new Ipsos survey. Sixty percent of Asian Americans, who made up about 6 percent of the survey’s respondents, told Ipsos they’ve seen the same behavior. (Read more)

Man Spouts Racist Tirade, Breaks Phone of Woman Trying to Socially Distance

NY Daily News, 4/27/20: When a Queens woman tried to maneuver away from a passerby not wearing a mask, he spouted a racist tirade and broke her cellphone. The startling attack is the latest in a string of anti-Asian hate crimes related to the coronavirus pandemic. The attacker threw the woman’s shopping items in the street and repeatedly smashed her phone. (Read more)

Salem Church Service Tightens Zoom Services After Racist Video Attack

Boston Globe, 4/25/20: Salem police are investigating a “zoombombing” incident at the Tabernacle Church on April 19 and have been in contact with the FBI. During a Zoom service, multiple unknown users blitzed the meeting’s moderator with meeting permission requests and eventually took control of the call. (Read more)

Five Asian-Owned Businesses Targets of Vandalism in San Jose

Mercury News, 4/23/20: Five Asian-owned businesses in San Jose were vandalized, and investigators suspect the same vandal was responsible for a string of incidents in Milpitas, authorities said. Two businesses had their glass windows and doors smashed within three minutes of each other. (Read more)

Vancouver Police ID Suspect in Alleged Racially Motivated Attack Against Elderly Asian Man with Dementia

CBC News, 4/23/20: Vancouver police say numerous tips from the public have helped investigators identify the suspect in what appears to have been a racially motivated assault at an East Vancouver convenience store last month. Surveillance video captured at a convenience store shows a white male who appears to be yelling at a 92-year-old Asian man, who police said has dementia. (Read more)

New York City Has Logged 248 Complaints of Coronavirus Discrimination

Wall Street Journal, 4/19/20: Coronavirus-related discrimination in New York City is on the rise, particularly against Asian-Americans. The city’s Commission on Human Rights said since Feb. 1 it has received 248 complaints of discrimination spurred by fears over Covid-19. The majority of complaints were made in March and April, and about 42% have been specifically anti-Asian. (Read more)

‘Strong Possibility’ COVID-19 Hate Crime Victims are Staying Silent, Pa. State Police Say

LehighValleyLive, 4/14/20: While racist attacks against Asian Americans during the coronavirus pandemic have been reported across the country, Pennsylvania State Police said Tuesday they have no hate crime investigations in the state. Victims may not want to report a hate crime for fear of embarrassment, fear they won’t have community support, or that law enforcement won’t take their concerns seriously. (Read more)

Nativist Hate Groups Want to Keep People in ICE Detention Despite COVID-19 Threat

SPLC, 4/9/20: Anti-immigrant think tanks are pushing for the U.S. to detain immigrants and asylum seekers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, even as prisoners stage hunger strikes and other protests in response to what they describe as deteriorating health conditions in ICE facilities. (Read more)

US Charges 2 with Terror Crimes Over Threats to Spread Virus

Associated Press, 4/8/20: The Justice Department charged two people with federal terrorism offenses for allegedly claiming they were intentionally trying to spread the coronavirus. The charges, in cases in Texas and Florida, come after Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen instructed federal prosecutors that they could charge people who threaten to spread the coronavirus under the terrorism statutes. (Read more)

White Supremacist Groups Are Recruiting With Help From Coronavirus – and a Popular Messaging App: Telegram

Time Magazine, 4/8/20: As COVID-19 continues to spread around the world, white supremacists are seizing upon it as a new and powerful addition to their arsenal. Their messaging often happens on Telegram, which over the last year has become a staging ground for extremist groups. (Read more)

Asian Americans Describe ‘Gut Punch’ of Racist Attacks During Coronavirus Pandemic

PBS, 4/7/20: The novel coronavirus pandemic has Americans across the country fearful for their personal health and well-being, but for Asian Americans, the virus has stirred up another threat: a wave of verbal and physical attacks. Incidents like these have been on the rise in recent weeks, and some have escalated beyond verbal assaults. (Read more)

National Security Officials Warn of Extremists Exploiting Coronavirus Pandemic

CNN, 4/7/20: National security officials warned in an intelligence bulletin that extremist groups are exploiting the coronavirus pandemic to incite violence and bolster racist and anti-government narratives. The bulletin…cites threats from hate groups aimed at minorities and captures how conspiracy theories about the virus’ origins and the government’s response are fueling potential violence. (Read more)

“Go eat a bat, Chang!”: An Early Look on the Emergence of Sinophobic Behavior on Web Communities in the Face of COVID-19

arXiv, 4/6/20: In this paper, scholars study the emergence of Sinophobic behavior on the Web during the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. They collect two large-scale datasets from Twitter and 4chan’s Politically Incorrect board (/pol/) and analyze them to investigate whether there is a rise or important differences with regard to the dissemination of Sinophobic content. (Read more)

Teens Accuse Woman of Causing Coronavirus in Bronx Bus Attack, NYPD Says

Pix11 News, 4/6/20: Police are looking for one of four teenage girls who attacked a woman on a Bronx bus and accused her of causing coronavirus, according to the NYPD. The attack, which is being investigated as a hate crime, happened on March 28 around 3 p.m., cops said. (Read more)

Racist Death Threats Lodged Against Seymour Restaurant

Valley Independent Sentinel, 4/5/20: A Chinese food restaurant received a flurry of profanity laced, racist death threats from two different phone numbers. The callers threatened to shoot the owners, and blamed the COVID-19 pandemic on people of Chinese descent. (Read more)

FBI May Charge Man Who Attacked Asian Americans Over Coronavirus with Hate Crime

The Hill, 4/1/20: The FBI may charge a Texas man who was arrested for allegedly trying to kill an Asian American family of three because he thought they were spreading COVID-19 with a hate crime. On March 14, 19-year-old Jose Gomez stabbed three people at the Midland, Texas, Sam’s Club before being subdued by an employee. (Read more)


MARCH 2020

Texas Stabbing that Targeted Asian-American Family was Hate Crime Fueled by Coronavirus Fears, Dallas Morning News, 3/31/20

Coronavirus: Bay Area Officials, Advocates Look to Get in Front of COVID-19 Hate Crimes, Mercury News, 3/31/20

FBI Agents Kill Man Allegedly Plotting Bomb Attack on Hospital Amid Coronavirus Pandemic, The Guardian, 3/26/20

White Supremacists See Coronavirus as an Opportunity, SPLC, 3/26/20

San Diego Prosecutors Crack Down on COVID-19 Hate Crimes, Price Gouging, ABC San Diego, 3/24/20

Spit On, Yelled At, Attacked: Chinese-Americans Fear for Their Safety, The New York Times, 3/23/20

White Supremacists Encouraging Their Members to Spread Coronavirus to Cops, Jews, FBI Says, ABC News, 3/23/20

Coronavirus-Inspired Crook Robs Asian Woman of Cellphone While Spewing Hate, NY Daily News, 3/22/20

Group Hurls Racist Slurs At Newark Man In Montclair, Patch, 3/18/20

The Rise of Coronavirus Hate Crimes, The New Yorker, 3/17/20

Coronavirus Crisis Elevates Antisemitic and Racist Tropes, ADL, 3/17/20 

Two Asians Assaulted in Coronavirus Fear-fueled Hate Crimes, NY Daily News, 3/11/20