The Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) is an Islamist terrorist organization that seeks to establish an independent Islamic state in the southern Philippines. ASG is known for kidnapping innocents, including Westerners, for ransom, and beheading captives if their demands are not met.
The Counter Extremism Project maintains a database of information about extremist groups, including their leaders, history, financing, violent activities, government designations, and rhetoric.
Learn more about each group below.
Al-Mourabitoun is a violent terrorist group that seeks to establish an Islamic state in West Africa. The group has claimed responsibility for numerous terror attacks, including the deadly November 2015 gun and hostage attack in Mali’s capital, Bamako.
Al-Nusra Front is al-Qaeda’s formal affiliate in Syria and one of the most powerful rebel groups fighting Assad. The group conducts formal military campaigns, assassinations, hostage missions, and ‘lone wolf’ operations, including al-Qaeda’s trademark suicide bombings.
Al-Qaeda’s 9/11 attacks was the deadliest ever on American soil, killing nearly 3,000 people. Since the fall of the Taliban, al-Qaeda has established operations worldwide, including in Syria, the Gulf, North Africa, West Africa, East Africa, and the Indian subcontinent.
AQIS is al-Qaeda’s newest branch, founded in September 2014. Reportedly operating in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Burma, Bangladesh, and Kashmir, the group seeks to wage jihad in order to establish an Islamic state.
Al-Qaeda’s North African branch, AQIM, operates in Algeria, Mali, Niger, Libya, Mauritania, and Tunisia. The group has executed numerous violent attacks in North and West Africa. The group is also known for its extensive history of kidnapping and extortion.
Al-Qaeda’s Somali-based branch, al-Shabaab, seeks to establish a fundamentalist Islamic state. The group has carried out a score of violent terror attacks, including the September 2013 Westgate Mall attacks in Nairobi, Kenya.
Ansar al-Sharia in Libya (ASL) was a violent Salafist group that was active in Libya from 2012 to 2017. In 2012, ASL’s predecessor groups attacked the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, killing four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens.
Ansar al-Sharia in Tunisia (AST) was a Salafist group that was prominent in Tunisia from 2011 to 2013. The group has initiated several violent protests, including the September 2012 attack on the U.S. embassy in Tunis.
AQAP is the union of al-Qaeda’s affiliated branches in Saudi Arabia and Yemen. AQAP has claimed responsibility for terror attacks and plots worldwide, including the January 2015 Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris.
AAH is an Iranian-backed Shiite militia and political party operating primarily in Iraq, as well as in Syria and Lebanon. Until the U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq in December 2011, AAH had launched more than 6,000 attacks on American and Iraqi forces.
The Badr Organization is a Shiite political party and paramilitary force that acts as Iran’s oldest proxy in Iraq. Given the group’s deep ties to Iran and its political and military preeminence, analysts have compared the Badr Organization in Iraq to Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Boko Haram is an ISIS-aligned jihadist group based in Nigeria. For years, Boko Haram has been conducting a lethal jihadist insurgency in the country’s north to drive out government forces and establish an Islamic state.
Forza Nuova (New Force) is an Italian far-right political party. The party’s ideology is ultra-nationalist, conservative, and neofascist. Forza Nuova members have committed high-profile acts of violence, though Forza Nuova itself purports to be non-violent.
Golden Dawn is a neo-Nazi party that came third in Greece’s January 2015 elections. Many of Golden Dawn’s government leaders are currently on trial in Athens on charges of establishing a criminal organization.
The Grey Wolves is an international fascist, Turkish nationalist, and pan-Turkic organization and movement which rose to prominence in the late 1970s in Turkey.
Hamas is a U.S.-designated terrorist organization which has killed hundreds of Israeli citizens, as well as Americans, in suicide bombings and other terrorist attacks. Hamas has governed the Gaza Strip since it violently expelled the Palestinian Authority in 2007.
Haqqani Network is a militant Islamist group operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The group is affiliated with the Afghan Taliban, though the group retains its own command structure.
Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba (HHN) is an Iranian-backed, U.S.-designated militia formed in 2013 by Akram al-Kaabi, co-founder of the IRGC-backed Asaib Ahl al-Haq (AAH).
Hezbollah is an Iranian-sponsored, internationally sanctioned terrorist group with an anti-Israel and anti-U.S. agenda. Hezbollah is primarily based in Lebanon, but has carried out terrorist and criminal operations around the world.
Hizb ut-Tahrir is an international Islamist movement seeking to unite Muslims under one Islamic caliphate. Hizb ut-Tahrir members have been linked to violent acts in multiple countries. The group itself has been banned in at least 13 countries, including many Muslim-majority countries.
The Houthis are an Iranian-backed, Shiite Muslim armed religious and political movement in Yemen. The Houthis waged a series of bloody insurgencies against the Yemeni government for over a decade, leading to that regime’s overthrow in 2015.
Hurras al-Din (HaD) was formed on February 27, 2018, by a merger of seven hardline Syrian rebel factions. Ten more minor rebel factions joined the group in the months following its formation, all with a history of ideological and leadership ties to al-Qaeda. HaD is avowedly loyal to al-Qaeda and its leadership is dominated by non-Syrian al-Qaeda veterans.
Incels now comprise an often-violent anti-women movement rooted in online communities. The largely male incel community blame their inceldom (state of involuntary celibacy) on society—and women specifically. Incels view themselves as part of a repressed group subjugated by genetic determinism.
The IRGC is an Iranian government agency tasked with defending the regime against internal and external threats. The IRGC uses secret police methods against its opponents within Iran, and terrorist tactics against its enemies abroad.
ISIS is a violent jihadist group based in Iraq and Syria. The group has declared wilayas (provinces) in Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the North Caucasus. ISIS has also waged attacks in Turkey, Lebanon, France, Belgium, Iraq, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Tunisia, and Kuwait.
The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) is an internationally designated terrorist organization founded in 1998 with the goal of overthrowing the Uzbek government and replacing it with an Islamic state.
JI is a jihadist group in Southeast Asia that seeks to establish a caliphate in the region through violent means. The group is led by its co-founder, Abu Bakar Bashir, who pledged loyalty to ISIS in July 2014.
Jobbik is a neo-Nazi, neo-fascist political party in Hungary that combines militant ethno-nationalism with anti-Semitism and anti-Roma racism.
KH is a U.S.-designated anti-American Shiite militia operating in Iraq with ancillary operations in Syria. During the U.S.-led war in Iraq that began in 2003, KH earned a reputation for planting deadly roadside bombs to attack U.S. and coalition forces.
Kata’ib Sayyid al Shuhada (KSS) is an Iraqi militia that has fought in both Iraq and Syria and is closely connected to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and the Houthis.
The KKK (Ku Klux Klan) is the oldest and most notorious hate group in the United States. Today, the KKK is no longer a single, cohesive organization, but has instead splintered into at least four main offshoots and dozens of smaller factions.
Abdullah Öcalan founded the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Turkey in 1978. While the PKK’s manifesto “…explicitly called for the creation of an independent Kurdish state,” the group embraced Marxism to justify its Kurdish-separatist war as part of a global class struggle and revolution.
Lashkar-e-Taiba is one of Pakistan’s largest militant Islamist organizations. The group has instigated terrorist attacks in Kashmir and collaborated with other militant groups, such as the Taliban and al-Qaeda. It is believed to be the only Islamist militant group in Pakistan to have expanded since 9/11.
The Muslim Brotherhood is a transnational Sunni Islamist movement that seeks to implement sharia (Islamic law) under a global caliphate. Founded in Egypt in 1928, the Brotherhood is the country’s oldest Islamist organization and has branches throughout the world.
The Nation of Islam (NOI) is a Black supremacist, separatist organization operating in the United States. The group mixes tenets of Islam with conspiracy theories and mythology deeply rooted in racism, anti-Semitism, and anti-LGBT beliefs.
Germany’s NPD is a far-right political party founded in the 1960s that has propagated racist, anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim, and anti-immigrant messages. The German government has sought to ban the NPD as recently as March 2016.
The Nordic Resistance Movement is a transnational, neo-Nazi organization with official chapters operating in Sweden, Finland, and Norway. The group has carried out violence targeting gay people, ideological opponents and, more recently, Muslim refugees.
PIJ is a Palestinian Islamist terrorist group sponsored by Iran and Syria. Founded in 1979 as an offshoot of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, PIJ is the second-largest terrorist group in Gaza today (after Hamas).
The Russian Imperial Movement (RIM) is a neo-Nazi, monarchist, white supremacist group operating out of Russia with supporters around the world.
The Taliban seized power in Afghanistan in August 2021 after previously leading a violent insurgency in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The group is closely affiliated with al-Qaeda.
Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) is a conglomerate of violent insurgent groups operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan that seek to overthrow the state of Pakistan.
Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.
On September 30, 2017, there was a small explosion at Myanmar’s embassy in Cairo, Egypt, though there were no casualties. Hasm later claimed responsibility for the attack, the militant group’s first on a civilian target, saying it was a warning in response to the Myanmar’s military crackdown on Rohingya Muslims.
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