What We Know About The 300 ISIS Sympathizers In The U.S.

CREDIT: AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

Jeelanne Gouda, center, attends an interfaith memorial service at the Islamic Community Center of Redlands, Sunday, Dec. 6, 2015, in Loma Linda, Calif. The memorial service was held to honor the victims of Wednesday's shooting rampage that killed 14 people in San Bernardino, Calif.

There is a “small but active cadre of individuals infatuated with ISIS’ ideology” in the U.S. according to a new report from the Program on Extremism at the George Washington University. Interest in ISIS’ influence in America exploded last week when a married couple attacked on a social services building in San Bernardino, Calif. and killed 14 people. The George Washington study reviewed all ISIS sympathizers, not just those prepared to launch attacks to further its mission.

The group of people who support ISIS is surprisingly diverse, according to Lorenzo Vidino and Seamus Hughes, the report’s authors. It ranges from Shannon Conley, a certified nurse and U.S. Army Explorer who said she wanted to become a “housewife and camp nurse” to ISIS militants in Syria to Mohammad Oda Dakhlalla, the son of an imam and a Mississippi State University graduate student.

Here’s a breakdown of ISIS’ presence in America, not inclusive of the San Bernardino case. All information that is not otherwise attributed is from the Program on Extremism report.

About 300

The number of ISIS sympathizers who are either American or based in the U.S. as identified by the Program on Extremism.


The number of active investigations pending against suspected ISIS-inspired operations and other forms of so-called “home-grown terrorism” in October, according to a speech by FBI Director James Comey.


The number of Americans believed to have traveled to Syria or Iraq to join the Islamic State as July 2015, according to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

9 to 2

Last year, an average of nine Americans a month tried to travel to ISIS-territory, both successfully and unsuccessfully. According to counterterrorism officials said that figure has dropped to two a month since July. The shift though could indicate that law enforcement efforts are more effective at stopping ISIS sympathizers from getting to Iraq and Syria, or that more would-be ISIS fighters are heeding the group’s call to commit acts of terrorism in the West.

Emily Petrus, a worker for San Bernardino County, pauses to look at a large flag hanging on San Bernardino City Hall on Monday, Dec. 7, 2015 in San Bernardino, Calif.

Emily Petrus, a worker for San Bernardino County, pauses to look at a large flag hanging on San Bernardino City Hall on Monday, Dec. 7, 2015 in San Bernardino, Calif.

CREDIT: AP Photo/Jae C. Hong


The number of Americans who have been charged with crimes related to ISIS since March 2014. According to the Vidino and Hughes, these indictments are just “the tip of the iceberg” when it comes to the number of people believed to be linked to the group in the U.S.


Of the 71 people charged with ISIS-related crimes, 58 were U.S. citizens and 6 were legal, permanent residents, which points to the “homegrown nature of the threat,” according to researchers.

15 to 47 years

The age range of people who have been arrested in the U.S. for ISIS-related activities.

40 percent

Nearly half of those who have been arrested for ISIS-related activities are converts to Islam. That’s disproportionately high given that only about 25 percent American Muslims are converts.