The claim: Before Barack Obama, the country did not have ISIS, Black Lives Matter, antifa or a war on police
A social media post tying together former President Barack Obama, ISIS, Black Lives Matter, antifa and a "war on police" is circulating virally online.
The post, uploaded by Facebook user Kathie Wilxox Gilmore on March 2, 2019, reads this: "Before Obama we had no ISIS! Before Obama we had no BLM! Before Obama we had no ANTIFA! Before Obama we had no war on cops!"
Gilmore did not return a request for comment.
Barack Obama was elected president in 2008. When did these groups or movements start?
ISIS established in 2004
ISIS, the Islamic State also known as ISIL and Daesh, emerged as an offshoot of Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda Network in Iraq. It was founded by Abu Musab al Zarqawi in 2004, according to information from History.com.
ISIS faded for several years after the surge of United States military troops to Iraq in 2007, according to he Wilson Center. It reemerged in 2011, and over the next few years, took advantage of growing instability in Iraq and Syria to carry out attacks and bolster its ranks.
In 2013, the terrorist group changed its name to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
Black Lives Matter starts in 2013
Black Lives Matter is an organized movement that advocates for nonviolent civil disobedience and protests against police brutality towards African Americans. It was founded on July 13, 2013, by Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi.
The group was created in response to the acquittal of George Zimmerman, a white man accused of killing Trayvon Martin, a Black man, on Feb. 26, 2012. Trayvon was targeted, pursued and shot dead by Zimmerman in a gated neighborhood in Sanford, Florida.
Antifa has roots in 1932
Antifa, an anti-fascist political movement in the United States and a defensive response to the growing presence of right-wing extremism, was founded in 1932, well before Obama was born on Aug. 4, 1961.
After the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville in 2017 led to violent clashes between white nationalists and counter-protesters, American awareness of that opposition rose dramatically, TIME reported.
Antifa drew support from some and drew condemnation from others — including from President Donald Trump — for what appeared to be violent tactics. In March 2018, Merriam-Webster added antifa to the dictionary.
A 'war on cops'
In July of 2016, a law enforcement advocacy group head lashed out at Obama in the wake of the Dallas shootings that left five police officers dead. He accused the president of carrying out a "war on cops."
“I think (the Obama administration) continued appeasements at the federal level with the Department of Justice, their appeasement of violent criminals, their refusal to condemn movements like Black Lives Matter, actively calling for the death of police officers, that type of thing, all the while blaming police for the problems in this country has led directly to the climate that has made Dallas possible,” said William Johnson, the executive director of the National Association of Police Organizations. "It's a war on cops."
Obama quickly condemned the Dallas shootings, which happened at the end of a protest about the killings of two Black men by police officers, calling it a "vicious, calculated and despicable attack."
"Let's be clear: There are no possible justifications for these attacks or any violence towards law enforcement," Obama said.
Also in 2016, New York Public Radio published a story that the idea of a "'War on Cops' doesn't bear out in data, at least numerically."
According to the Officers Down Memorial Page, which tracks police deaths, the number of officers who have been intentionally killed on the job has fallen from 101 per year under President Ronald Reagan, to 90 per year under George H.W. Bush; to 81 per year under Bill Clinton; to 72 per year under George W. Bush; to 62 per year under Barack Obama — a figure that doesn't change when accounting for the Dallas ambush.
Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Police Executive Research Forum, says that when it comes to violence against police, America is doing much better than we think.
“In the '60s and '70s, you did have a lot of police officers who were killed more so than today — ambush and deliberately killed,” he says. “You had the Black Panther movement and the fight back and forth between the police from New York to Oakland.... It was a difficult time then, much like it is now, but overall, the numbers have come down.”
Our ruling: Partly false
We rate this claim as PARTLY FALSE, based on our research. It is true that Black Lives Matter was established in 2013, during President Barack Obama's second term. But it is false to say ISIS, antifa and a "war on cops" also did not exist before the 44th president entered the White House.
Our fact-check sources:
USA TODAY: 5 years after Trayvon Martin's death
Police group director: Obama caused a 'war on cops', POLITICO
Reach Natalie Neysa Alund at email@example.com and follow her on Twitter @nataliealund.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Was there Black Lives Matter, ISIS, antifa before Obama?