Three white supremacists plotting to bomb and shoot up black churches and synagogues were charged Monday with a felony after allegedly attempting to buy guns and explosives from an undercover FBI agent. The two men, based in Virginia, were preparing for a “race war,” according to the FBI, by buying up land and weapons.
The FBI claims that Robert Doyle and Ronald Beasley Chaney were holding a meeting “to discuss acting out in furtherance of their extremist beliefs by shooting or bombing the occupants of black churches and Jewish synagogues, conducting acts of violence against persons of the Jewish faith, and doing harm to a gun store owner.” The two were charged with conspiracy to buy firearms as convicted felons. Another man, Charles Halderman, was charged with conspiracy to commit robbery.
The group subscribes to a “a white supremacy extremist version of the Asatru faith,” a neo-pagan Icelandic religion akin to the Nordic version practiced by the white supremacist who shot up a synagogue in Kansas last year.
Terrorist acts by white supremacists and right-wing extremists are on the rise. Though anti-Muslim racial profiling, surveillance and discrimination has characterized the post-9/11 response to terrorism, right-wing extremists have claimed more lives than jihadists since the 2001 attacks. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, attacks by white supremacists and anti-government extremists are becoming nearly a monthly occurrence.
Yet most Americans don’t believe Dylann Roof’s attack on Emanuel A.M.E. Church, which killed nine African Americans, should count as “terrorism.”
Since the massacre in Charleston, many other churches have suffered arson attacks in South Carolina and elsewhere. Last month, seven churches in St. Louis were set on fire. Though no one has yet connected the events or discovered racist motives, the attacks are reminiscent of the fires set by white supremacists groups like the Ku Klux Klan a century ago to terrorize black churches across the South.