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.
In the early 2000s, war games about pandemics started popping up. But at the time, the outbreak threat couldn't compete with more visible national security concerns like wars and terrorist attacks.
The U.S. was deeply divided before the coronavirus hit. Now, researchers worry that the pandemic is worsening what they call a dangerously polarized climate.
Threats against contact tracers, intimidation of people with masks, shooting at McDonald's — the debate over the coronavirus is becoming more violent. Researchers warn that violence can keep rising.
With the coronavirus crisis, researchers warn extremists have a captive audience for their message: millions of young Americans who are out of school and spending hours unsupervised on social media.