Hannah Allam

Hannah Allam is a Washington-based national security correspondent for NPR, focusing on homegrown extremism. Before joining NPR, she was a national correspondent at BuzzFeed News, covering U.S. Muslims and other issues of race, religion and culture. Allam previously reported for McClatchy, spending a decade overseas as bureau chief in Baghdad during the Iraq war and in Cairo during the Arab Spring rebellions. She moved to Washington in 2012 to cover foreign policy, then in 2015 began a yearlong series documenting rising hostility toward Islam in America. Her coverage of Islam in the United States won three national religion reporting awards in 2018 and 2019. Allam was part of McClatchy teams that won an Overseas Press Club award for exposing death squads in Iraq and a Polk Award for reporting on the Syrian conflict. She was a 2009 Nieman fellow at Harvard and currently serves on the board of the International Women's Media Foundation.

Minds are made up about Kyle Rittenhouse, the 17-year-old gunman charged in the killing of two protesters in Kenosha, Wis. Graphic amateur video of the chaotic scene and early reports from authorities tell a partial story, and politics fills in the blanks.

Marjorie Taylor Greene's path to Congress has been strewn with controversy. Politico dug up her history of disparaging Black people and Muslims. She's unapologetic about the anti-Semitic tropes she has used to describe George Soros.

At a congressional hearing this month, extremism researcher J.J. MacNab delivered a warning: "There is a potential street war brewing."

MacNab cited the dangerous mix of armed factions squaring off at protests around the United States. Of all the current flashpoints for violence — the pandemic, the election, the economy — she called it the risk that worries her most.

News of an attack trickled out of Tacoma, Wash., just after dawn on a summer morning in July 2019. The details were fuzzy at first — one dead, a fire, the local ICE facility — but those who were close to Willem van Spronsen all said the same thing: They just knew.

Robert E. Lee's days are numbered.

A landmark statue of the Confederate general installed 130 years ago in Richmond, Va., is at the center of a campaign to remove monuments that glorify the losing side of the Civil War. There's a legal battle over whether to remove the Lee statue, but few here expect his monument to survive the re-energized anti-racism movement sparked by the killing of George Floyd.

When Army Pvt. Ethan Melzer found out in April that he was deploying to Turkey, U.S. prosecutors say, he began to plot. He allegedly browsed jihadist propaganda, including an ISIS account of attacks on American forces. In it, militants referred to a "harvest of the soldiers."

The pandemic is causing what extremism researchers worry is a perfect storm for radicalization: Millions of young Americans stuck at home on their devices as fear and blame swirl around them.

To put it plainly, Matt Marshall was duped.

"Yeah. I mean. It was a miss," Marshall said by phone, with a sigh.

Editor's note: A previous version of this story included a photo of a protester being struck by a car in Louisville, Kentucky. The photo, chosen by editors, does not appear to be an example of the assaults described in the story, and has been replaced. Police have not charged the driver, but have charged two of the protesters involved in that incident. Authorities continue to investigate.

Right-wing extremists are turning cars into weapons, with reports of at least 50 vehicle-ramming incidents since protests against police violence erupted nationwide in late May.

The fiery scenes of just over a week ago seem like another lifetime in the sprawling protest camp built around the Seattle Police Department's vacated station in the Capitol Hill neighborhood.

Tear gas has given way to the smoke from a hot dog stand. Makeshift clinics now stand on the streets where young protesters were injured by flash-bang grenades. Music — calypso on one corner, Public Enemy on another — mingles with the sound of speeches about defunding the police. Selfies are snapped in front of signs welcoming visitors to "Free Capitol Hill."

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One day in early March, as the coronavirus was spreading across the country, Margaret McCown was in her office at the Pentagon figuring out how her staff could work from home.

As McCown went over the logistics, she began to feel a sense of déjà vu.

A pandemic. Government on alert. Schools and offices closing. It was a scenario she had seen before. Just not in real life.

"That was that uncomfortable moment where you find yourself a little bit living in your own war game," McCown said.

Updated at 9:26 p.m. ET

During his rampage last December at a U.S. military base in Florida, the shooter paused to try to destroy his iPhone — a sign, authorities said, that the device held important clues.

The potato giveaway was as close to a feel-good story as you get these days.

A farmer in rural Idaho had thousands of potatoes he couldn't sell because of the pandemic's disruptions to the supply chain. So, volunteers — including a guy with a dump truck — hauled them to nearby small towns where they were left in giant piles for residents to help themselves.

For months, authorities say, 36-year-old white supremacist Timothy Wilson amassed bomb-making supplies and talked about attacking a synagogue, a mosque or a majority-black elementary school.

On a recent morning, Matt Marshall sat at a back table in Jim Bob's Chuck Wagon, a café in an old timber town about a half-hour outside of Seattle.

It was the eve of a political rally that Marshall had spent months planning. He scribbled last-minute notes in a homemade booklet, a Christmas present from his daughter. On the front, in black marker, she had drawn the logo of the Washington Three Percent, the name of her dad's militia.

Although, that's not the word he uses.

"We're absolutely not a paramilitary," he said. "We're a nonprofit corporation."

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Now the story about the strange journey of a word that's popular in far-right corners of the internet. The word? Boogaloo. NPR's Hannah Allam tells us more.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "BOO-GA-LOO")

TOM AND JERRIO: (Singing) Hey, hey, boogaloo.

The torch-wielding racists who marched on Charlottesville, Va., two years ago showed the ugly new face of the far right. Their deadly rally shocked the nation into paying attention to how racial hatred could turn into organized violence.

But if 2017 was the wake-up call, 2019 was the year the call was answered.

It was a busy fall morning at Reagan National Airport near Washington, D.C. Myrieme Churchill found a clearing in the arrivals hall and scanned the crowd.

One by one, her people showed up: a black father and daughter from Tennessee. A white couple from Georgia. A Somali immigrant. Two South Asians — one from Canada, one from Britain. Churchill greeted them in a blend of languages: Salaam! Bonjour! Welcome to D.C.!

When 24-year-old Abdirizak Warsame came home from prison over the summer, his family welcomed him with his favorite foods and long talks with the siblings he hadn't seen in three years. They were reunited, grateful for a fresh start.

Outside of their house in Minneapolis, however, Abdirizak's homecoming was a different story.

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A 24-year-old soldier in Kansas who allegedly planned to fight with a violent far-right group in Ukraine was charged Monday with distributing bomb-making information over social media, according to the Justice Department.

Charlie Winter, a London-based terrorism researcher, was dining with friends one recent evening when the conversation turned to whether it is ethical to eat meat.

Someone brought up slaughterhouse conditions, Winter said, and he instantly grew uneasy. He stayed for a while longer, squirming, and then finally left the room. That word — "slaughterhouse" — had conjured images of one of the most gruesome ISIS videos he'd come across. The militants had filmed a mass execution in a slaughterhouse, casting their prisoners as the animals.

Liz Sines happened to be near campus that night, so she was among the first to see the hundreds of young men who stormed the University of Virginia lawn. They marched in the darkness, tiki torches illuminating their faces as they chanted ugly slurs: "Jews will not replace us!"

It was late August in Charlottesville, Va., two years ago this month, with temperatures pushing into the high 80s. But what then-Mayor Mike Signer remembers most vividly about those days is the cold.

He'd walk into rooms and instantly feel a chill, an iciness, from townsfolk who had lost faith in their leadership. Sometimes people cried, sometimes they screamed.

"You had a whole city that basically needed therapy," Signer said.

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In her 30 years as a U.S. diplomat, Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley served as ambassador to Malta, monitored elections in Gaza, led a diplomatic mission in Saudi Arabia, expanded counterterrorism partnerships and oversaw a mass evacuation of Americans from a war zone.

But no matter how many postings she racked up, Abercrombie-Winstanley said, she often saw shock spread across the faces of men when she walked into rooms for high-level meetings.

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