FBI and other officials issue warning: Terror groups could target LGBTQ Pride Month events

Federal authorities have recently issued a public service alert, cautioning the public about potential threats from foreign terrorist organizations targeting LGBTQ events and venues during Pride Month in June.

The FBI and Department of Homeland Security released a joint statement on May 10, which does not indicate any specific threats or intelligence regarding the targeting of any event, celebration, or individual.

Efforts by foreign terrorist organizations to commit or inspire violence against holiday celebrations, including Pride events or LGBTQ-related venues, are further intensified by the current heightened threat environment in the United States and other western countries. The specific factors contributing to these increasing threats have not been specified.

The alert also mentioned that these foreign organizations, as well as their supporters, have previously spread anti-LGBTQ messages and singled out LGBTQ events or locations for potential attacks.

According to a DHS official who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the Department of Homeland Security is collaborating with its partners to assess the threat landscape, keep the American public informed, and safeguard the country. The official emphasized the importance of remaining vigilant and promptly reporting any suspicious activity to local law enforcement.

The FBI announced that it will actively monitor any potential threats to public safety and maintain close communication and information sharing with local, state, and federal law enforcement partners.

Next year, Washington, D.C. is gearing up to host WorldPride, a grand international celebration of Pride events that rotates its location annually.

The FBI and DHS issued an alert stating that in February 2023, ISIS, also known as the Islamic State, released a message in English that contained an article centered around anti-LGBTQ rhetoric. The article specifically targeted the LGBTQIA+ community, criticizing its growth and promotion.

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Law enforcement officials have recently advised pride event organizers and attendees to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity. According to the authorities, potential signs of concern include the emergence of violent threats through online platforms, in-person encounters, or even through mailed correspondence. Additionally, individuals who engage in excessive photography or display unusual and prolonged interest in security measures, buildings, gatherings, or events should be monitored closely. The alert also warns about the possibility of perpetrators attempting to bypass security or impersonate law enforcement personnel.

People are also being encouraged to visit the website of the Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative for additional details, resources, and training on how to recognize and address potential threats.

If you witness or hear anything that appears to be potentially dangerous, it is important to report it to your local FBI field office or call 1-800-CALL-FBI (225-5324). You can also reach out to the Department of Homeland Security’s How to Report Suspicious Activity office.

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