Millennial violence

The millennium holds special significance for many, and as this pivotal point in time approaches, the impetus for the initiation of violence becomes more acute. Several religiously motivated groups envision a quick, fiery ending in an apocalyptic battle. Armed with the urgency of the millennium as a motivating factor, new clandestine groups may conceivably form to engage in violence directed at those they feel opposed by.
Religious motivation and the New World Order conspiracy theory are the two driving forces behind the potential for millennial violence. As the end of the millennium draws near, biblical prophecy and political philosophy may merge into acts of violence by the more extreme members of domestic terrorist groups that are motivated, in part, by religion. The volatile mix of apocalyptic religions and NWO conspiracy theories may produce violent acts aimed at precipitating the end of the world as prophesied in the Bible.

Religiously motivated extremists may initiate violent conflicts with law enforcement officials in an attempt to facilitate the onset of Armageddon, or to help fulfill a "prophesy." For many on the extreme right-wing, the battle of Armageddon is interpreted as a race war to be fought between Aryans and the "satanic" Jews and their allies. Likewise, extremists who are convinced that the millennium will lead to a One World Government may choose to engage in violence to prevent such a situation from occurring.

In the United States, militias, adherents of racist belief systems such as Christian Identity and Odinism, and other radical domestic extremists are clearly focusing on the millennium as a time of action. Certain individuals from these various perspectives are acquiring weapons, storing food and clothing, raising funds through fraudulent means, procuring safe houses, preparing compounds, surveying potential targets, and recruiting new converts. These and other indicators are not taking place in a vacuum, nor are they random or arbitrary.

In light of the enormous amount of millennial rhetoric, the FBI sought to analyze a number of variables that have the potential to spark violent acts perpetrated by domestic terrorists. Religious beliefs, the Y2K computer problem, and gun control laws all have the potential to become catalysts for such terrorism.

The main focus of the militias connected to the Y2K/millennium revolves around the NWO conspiracy theory. While the NWO is a fringe theory, there may be some real technological problems arising from the year 2000 such as malfunctioning of computers which control so many facets of everyday life. Such malfunctions may affect power stations and other critical infrastructure. If such breakdowns do occur, these may be interpreted as a sign by some of the militias that electricity is being shut off on purpose in order to create an environment of confusion. In the rationalizations of these militia groups, this atmosphere of confusion can only be a prelude to the NWO/One World Government. These groups may then follow through on premeditated plans of action.

The implications of mass pilgrimages to Jerusalem for the millennium are ominous since they are likely to include millennial or apocalyptic cults on a mission to hasten the arrival of the Messiah. There is serious concern among Israeli officials that Jewish and Islamic extremists may react violently to the influx of Christians, particularly near the Temple Mount. The primary concern is that extreme millennial cults will engage in proactive violence designed to hasten the second coming of Christ. The most likely scenario involves an attack on the Al-Aqsa Mosque or the Dome of the Rock. Some millennial cults hold that these structures must be destroyed so that the Jewish Temple can be rebuilt, which they see as a prerequisite for the return of the Messiah. Several religious cults have already established themselves in Israel in preparation for what they believe to be the endtimes. Attacks on Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem, particularly by Christian or Jewish extremists, are likely to be perceived by Islamic extremists as attacks on Islam itself.

In December 1999 Jordanian officials arrested a number of suspected terrorists for allegedly plotting to sabotage millennium celebrations. Jordanian and diplomatic sources in Amman revealed that the potential targets identified so far for the group's operations included Mount Nebo, where according to the tradition Moses saw the Land of Israel before dying, and John the Baptist's settlement in Wadi Kharrar, on the Jordan River. Jordanian officials said the suspects were planning anti-Western operations in general. "Especially when a tourist site is targeted, operations could make victims from all over the world," said the official.

(F) Fuzzy exceptional problems