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.

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.

The White House describes antifa as a violent mob of leftist extremists. But the government's findings show that the U.S. anti-fascist movement is linked to one death — one of its own.

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.

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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.

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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.

As the pandemic moves from public health crisis to partisan flashpoint, the debate over the coronavirus response in the U.S. is becoming increasingly nasty – and, in some cases, violent.

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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.

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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.

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