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.

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.

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.

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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.

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.

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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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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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!"

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For the picturesque college town of Durham in southeastern New Hampshire, a reckoning came in 2017.

That was the year a complaint about the cultural appropriation of Cinco de Mayo spiraled into weeks of racial unrest, a boiling over of tensions that had simmered for years at the University of New Hampshire. Students who called out racist incidents faced a backlash of online bullying, swastikas and slurs, and the vandalism of sculptures that symbolized their cause.