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Security Brief: Extremism Week of March 14, 2022

Updated: Mar 30

Week of Monday, March 14, 2021 | Issue 3

Lydia Baccino, Daniel D’Menzie, Asya Kocheva, Extremism Team

Manja Vitasovic, Editor; Jennifer Loy, Chief of Staff



Indian Woman[1]



Date: March 14, 2022

Location: Karnataka, India

Parties involved: India; the High Court of Karnataka; Muslims; Muslim women; Hindus; Karnataka educational system

The event: The High Court of the Indian state Karnataka has upheld a ban on wearing hijabs in educational institutions. The Court dismissed petitions of Muslim students who were denied the entry into classrooms and on campuses across the state. This follows weeks of Muslim students’ protests for better treatment, countered by Hindus supporting the restrictive legislation. Media coverage of the protests got international attention and attracted far-right Hindu groups in Karnataka to support the ban.[2]

Analysis & Implications:

  • It is very likely these protests will cause religious tension between Muslims and Hindus in India. If these protests continue, it is very likely they will intensify, and likely result in violent protests and counter-protests of the two groups in Karnataka. This will almost certainly attract local, domestic and international media coverage, very likely expanding the visibility of Muslim and Hindu tension. With this heightened visibility, it is very likely tension will spread to neighboring Indian states, likely reigniting historical friction between both groups. If this occurs, it is very likely hostility between Hindus and Muslims will become a serious national issue and security threat.

  • It is very likely the court’s decision to uphold the Hijab ban will alienate Karnataka’s Muslims. The court ruling will almost certainly discourage some Muslim women from accessing educational institutions, evoking feelings of outrage and anger over their treatment. As an outlet to express these feelings, it is likely some Indian Muslims may seek to challenge authority and justify the use of violence. Increased rates of radicalization almost certainly heightens the probability of an extremist event occurring. An attack would likely cause far-right Hindus’ counter-attack, almost certainly deepening the social division between Muslims and Hindus.

  • It is very unlikely Muslim women will take off hijabs to access education. If Indian Muslim women feel dejected from accessing educational institutions, it is very likely that their lack of academic qualifications will limit their ability to find employment. This will very likely raise discussion on the gendered dimension of the court ruling disproportionately impacting women. India’s feminist movements will likely be attracted to this discourse, and likely use social media to raise awareness of this issue worldwide.


Date: March 15, 2022

Location: USA

Parties involved: USA; US Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center (USNTAC); Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); Incels

The event: A National Threat Assessment released by the USNTAC identified Incels as a violent domestic threat. The report indicated that the threat of Incel activities were not limited to domestic extremist events, but also common crimes such as stalking, domestic abuse and online harassment. The report heavily drew on the 2018 Tallahassee Hot Yoga studio attack. The mass shooting occurred on November 2, 2018 when a 40 year old man became radicalized online on the Manosphere platform, and eventually shot 6 women.[3]

Analysis & Implications:

  • Identifying Incels as a violent security threat would very likely enhance FBI intelligence efforts. Dedicating greater resources and time towards understanding Incel motivations, ideology and radicalization influences will likely equip intelligence officers with the understanding and ability to infiltrate Incel networks online and prevent attacks.

  • Greater resources and time will likely be dedicated to understanding Incel motivations, ideology, radicalization influences, and behaviors. With better insight, law enforcement officials will very likely infiltrate Incel online networks, likely preventing attacks.

  • Identifying Incels as a security threat will very likely raise public awareness on the movement, their main beliefs, and tactics. The public’s ability to identify Incels’ behavior and indoctrination tactics will very likely prevent radicalization of new members.

  • Identifying Incels as a domestic threat will likely influence international organizations and other States to reformulate their Incel counterterrorism policies. If Washington’s new approach to Incel counterterrorism is successful, they will very likely look to adapt their frameworks to also prevent Incel activity. Disrupting Incel online spaces will very likely reduce the transnational interconnectivity of the movement, very likely reducing the frequency of violent attacks in the real world.

________________________________________________________________________ The Counterterrorism Group (CTG)

[1]Kadri Junior” by Meena Kadri licensed under Creative Commons

[2] Indian court upholds hijab ban in Karnataka state that prompted weeks of religious clashes, CNN, March 2022, https://edition.cnn.com/2022/03/15/india/india-karnataka-hijab-ruling-intl-hnk/index.html

[3] US identifies “incels” as violence threat, The Standard, March 2022, https://www.standard.net.au/story/7660198/us-identifies-incels-as-violence-threat/?cs=10265

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