On October 27, 2018, domestic terrorist Robert D. Bowers carried out an anti-Semitic attack at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh. He fired on congregants as they gathered for worship, killing 11 people and wounding six others.
"Alexander Ritzmann, a senior advisor of the Counter-Extremism Project, has been a leading expert on Active Clubs and their international spread. He told VICE News that in the United States, the Active Clubs appear to be building 'a militia that looks like a combat sports network.'"
"According to Vice News, a report from the Counter Extremism Project identified ;at least one hundred Active Clubs in the United States, Canada and Europe.'
A worrying phenomenon - The phenomenon is very worrying because, as reported by Alexander Ritzmann, author of the report, 'it is an unprecedented growth. I have never seen a right-wing extremist network grow so quickly. It usually takes years to build a transnational network.'"
"By August, research conducted by Alexander Ritzmann for the Counter Extremism Project (CEP), a nonprofit that tracks extremist groups, found that there were 46 clubs operating in 34 different states—a 50 percent increase in the number of clubs and a 100 percent increase in the geographical spread in the space of just five months....
The vast majority of the Telegram channels identified as belonging to the clubs listed in the CEP report are public, available for everyone to see. The transparency is part of Rundo’s White Supremacy 3.0 strategy where he urges groups to only post positive content about training of the sense of brotherhood that the clubs claim to inspire, while avoiding violent threats and Nazi symbolism. But some groups do not appear to be subscribing to Rundo’s ideals—chief among them, the Tennessee Active Club."
"The Active Clubs are flying below the radar of law enforcement. But as described in a new 50-page report from the Counter Extremism Project (CEP), the network is evolving into a dangerous 'stand-by militia' of well-trained, white-nationalist fighters 'who can be activated when the need for coordinated violent action on a larger scale arises.'"
The Active Clubs present themselves as groups of gym bros who pursue mixed martial arts — and just happen to dabble in white power. 'They are specifically asked not to talk about ‘The Jews’ when recruiting, but to focus on positive things like brotherhood, community and so on,' says Alexander Ritzmann, the Berlin-based researcher who authored the CEP report. This follows Rundo’s belief that: 'A group of strong white men is a fascist statement in itself.'"
"A recent report by Counter Extremism Project, published by The Independent, shows that extremist organizations with white supremacist ideologies are employing the guise of fitness and martial arts to attract and expand their ranks, effectively establishing a new network of militias across the United States, Canada, and Europe. ...
'I've never seen a network in right-wing extremism grow so fast. Usually, it takes years to build a transnational network. It's concerning,' said Alexander Ritzmann, the author of the report and an advisor to the Counter Extremism Project."
"At least 46 so-called 'active clubs' – which publicly promote 'brotherhood' and training in combat sports and fitness while covertly advancing fascist and neo-Nazi agendas and preparing for large-scale violence – have sprouted in 34 states between 2020 and 2023, according to the report from the Counter Extremism Project."
"The Active Club movement is growing exponentially. A new report by the nonprofit Counter Extremism Project, reveals that there are at least 46 active clubs across 34 states in the U.S. The 'transnational' network also has chapters in 15 countries, including Canada, and across Europe, with 23 chapters in France alone. Alexander Ritzmann, who conducted the CEP research, describes the groups as 'trying to build a militia' in plain sight."
"Data on the groups seen by Vice has been gathered by the Counter Extremism Project (CEP) which published a report that claims: 'Since the creation of the first Active Club in late 2020, at least 100 Active Clubs have been created in the U.S, Canada, and Europe.'"
Alexander Ritzmann, the report’s author and senior advisor to the CEP, told the outlet: 'This is an unprecedented growth. I've never seen a network in right-wing extremism grow so fast. Usually, it takes years to build a transnational network. It’s concerning.'"
"New research, presented Friday by the Counter Extremism Project (CEP), warns the past several months have seen a proliferation of small, loosely affiliated combat sports and fitness clubs — known as Active Clubs — that publicly advertise fitness, self-improvement and brotherhood...
'They are trying to build a militia undercover,' said Alexander Ritzmann, a CEP senior adviser and the author of the new report. 'The underlying assessment is there is no leadership in the U.S. for targeted violence, for a strong national event or leadership. But once such a thing occurs, you need soldiers.'"
"The festivals — which are often declared political events, making them harder to ban and ensuring that any profit will be tax-exempt — typically feature a right-wing extremist speaker or seminar, according to Hans-Jakob Schindler, the Berlin-based senior director of the Counter Extremism Project. And while mixed martial arts tournaments in Europe typically feature fighters from different racial groups, these events allow only white fighters to take part. ...
But the message underpinning the events, said Alexander Ritzmann, a senior adviser at the Counter-Extremism Project, is clear: 'that whites are under threat on all kinds of levels.'"
Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.
Today, Anjem Choudary & co-defendant Khaled Hussein appeared via video link for a preliminary hearing. Plea hearing… https://t.co/v424ivNqKh
"Controlling the risk of terrorism is a dynamic process but it has to survive off the page to be any use." A critiq… https://t.co/HadLKh39yG
Get the latest news on extremism and counter-extremism delivered to your inbox.