Basically, a group of terrorists who are mostly from the West. Their reasons and goals may very, but such groups exist to cause violence and death to coerce others. The trope may also cover an individual. An apparently Extremist Islamic Terrorist group may really be Westerners being The Man Behind the Man.
Creators may opt to draw from Real Life terrorism cases from Anders Breivek to Germany's National Socialist Underground to the civilian mass-murders orchestrated in Northern Ireland, instead of the arguably more topical example of Middle Eastern terrorists. They may find Western terrorism more interesting than its counterparts in the rest of the world.
Some groups of Western Terrorists that have appeared in media and news are various Animal Wrongs Group, whose actions have been dubbed eco-terrorism. There are also militia groups. Other examples include extreme Nationalists and radical extremists. The Troubles in Northern Ireland is also notable - a definitely European dispute, with white Christians involved in sectarian violence which included riots and violence. Naturally some writers still managed to get it wrong.
Another good source of Euro-villainy is the post-Soviet weaponmonger. This person may be a fascist, but usually they serve no cause other than the creation of chaos, a self-sustaining market for their endless supplies of nukes, viruses, and other deadly toys for their more ideologically minded customers to use on each other. In series where such black-market dealers and Corrupt Corporate Executives exist, they inevitably prove to be more dangerous than the Islamists/neo-Nazis/revolucionistas/etc. to whom they're selling weaponry. Newer ones however prefer to reinstall the old Soviet Regime without the communist ideals and instead aim for a rule resembling more that of Ivan the Terrible.
This trope should not be confused with Partisans - resistance groups who fight regular military forces. Unlike Terrorists, Partisans are perfectly legal under international law - if and only if they have a chain of command, some means of identification from a distance, and carry their weapons openly. Otherwise, they are unlawful combatants. Note, this doesn't prevent characters from calling their attacks terrorism despite their legal legitimacy. Partisans are covered here on TV Tropes as La Résistance
Some Western Terrorists are also Terrorists Without a Cause. Often overlaps with Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters, especially when the Western Terrorists are portrayed as Irish or white supremacist. See also White Gang Bangers.
Flightplan: Part of the reason that no one was surprised at who the real villain was. Casting Sean Bean made for a much more successful Red Herring; thanks to this trope, everyone already knew the Middle Eastern fellow was going to be innocent.
In Batman Begins, the villain Ra's al Ghul, an Arab in the source material, is shown first to be East Asian, later revealed as a decoy for a Caucasian. His ninja students, however, are pretty diverse. And in The Dark Knight, the Joker is repeatedly referred to as a terrorist (which is half-true. While he mostly does needlessly destructive things for his own amusement, he does have some ideas and beliefs about chaos and anarchy). Likewise, in The Dark Knight Rises, Bane seems to be European, but born in India and his followers are diverse. Lastly, Talia al Ghul is French.
The Die Hard series (though in all the terrorists are actually thieves), with the villains being German in the first and third, and American in the other two (in the second, with the help of Banana Republic dictator).
Though not the main villain, the very Middle Eastern character The Hassassin of Angels and Demons is replaced in the movie by a generic (though very creepy) Caucasian villain for hire in the movie version.
The villains of 24's Day 2 were [[spoiler:a conglomerate of Corrupt Corporate Executives in the oil business, as well as a German arms dealer called Max, all of whom hired Peter Kingsley to give a nuclear device to Islamic terrorists and frame three Middle Eastern countries for the act so the United States could invade these countries and secure a steady supply of oil in the Caspian Sea.
To quote this handy article, "But Bauer'ss ass-kicking takes place in a landscape straight out of the '70s, in which America's terrorist enemies are enabled by (in no particular order) a cabal of businessmen hoping to foment a Middle Eastern war and benefit from skyrocketing oil prices; a group of hawkish Cabinet officials who plot to remove from office (or assassinate) their dovish superiors; a Nixonian chief executive who permits terrorist attacks on American soil as a pretext for U.S. military intervention in Central Asia; and an endless host of traitors inside America's antiterrorism outfit."
Spoofed in the South Park episode "The Snuke", a parody of 24 where Cartman (playing the role of Jack Bauer) is convinced the new Muslim kid in school is a terrorist, and tips off the government. Turns out there is a terrorist plot going on in South Park, but it involves Russian mercenaries trying to distract the government with a nuclear device planted in Hillary Clinton's crotch while America's oldest enemies (the British) stage a naval assault.
In G.I. Joe, COBRA was always referred to as a "terrorist" organization, even though it was closer in every way to James Bond's SPECTRE or Nick Fury's HYDRA than anything resembling modern terrorism (western or otherwise). The comic version of the franchise portrayed COBRA as tapping into the frustrations of lower to middle-class white Americans, even making Cobra Commander into a former used car salesman. COBRA also tended to use ordinary, all-American small towns named Springfield as secret headquarters.
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine used this trope (together with the Trek cliche of evil admirals) in "Homefront", in which a Changeling attack on Earth turns out to have been orchestrated by Admiral Leyton, the head of Starfleet Operations, as an excuse to tighten security for when the real attack inevitably comes. Sisko foils his plans — learning in the process that there are Changeling infiltrators on Earth (but only 3), watching all this with amusement.
The TV-movie Meltdown. Former US soldiers faking an attempt to blow up a nuclear powerplant to make a statement. "Our terrorist is GI Joe."
The unaired pilot for Heroes gave Ted's radioactive power to an Arab terrorist character. This plotline was dropped for the actual pilot and given to Ted, a white American. One result is that connected events (the train derailment, some of Isaac's paintings) become disconnected and random, while in the original pilot, they were all connected by the terrorist story.
A particularly Anvilicious episode of Without A Trace featured a precocious young boy who built a bomb to make a point that the country wasn't protected enough after his mother was killed in 9/11 (similar to one theory behind the anthrax letter guy's motivation). Additionally, the boy's only friend tortures him in his basement to make him reveal where he hid the bomb.
The irony being that there was no bomb (the kid made the whole thing up, as kids are apt to do), but the torture session embittered him so much that afterward he built a real one.
End War has Russian forces disguising themselves as "The Forgotten Army", who "are" a band of soldiers from various nations misused by the US and Europe.
In the movie Iron Man, Tony Stark is imprisoned by Afghan terrorists hiding in caves inspired by Al Qaeda, but not explicitly Islamic or even entirely Middle Eastern (the terrorist group actually has different cells of different races). It turns out that his capture was orchestrated by his white business partner Obadiah Stane, who later has the Afghan terrorists brutally murdered.
Captain America deals with a lot of these groups. The most prominent was HYDRA, led by Cap's Arch-Enemy, the Red Skull, which was bent on tyrannical world domination. He also tangled with the likes of AIM (dedicated to establishing a global technocracy), ULTIMATUM (dedicated on establishing a world without national borders of any kind), and the Secret Empire (modern-day fascists revealed to be led by none other than Richard Nixon though this was later retconned).
The movie versions of Resident Evil has the Umbrella Corp. dedicated to causing a massive zombie epidemic for no particular reason.
Charlie's Angels: The Patriots for a Free Society in the "Terror on Skis" episode seem to fit this trope. Their motivations seem to be muddled.
The main antagonists in the Light Gun GameTime Crisis 4 are at first presumed to be the European terrorist organization W.O.L.F., or Western Order Liberation Front, but later the terrorists are revealed to be a group of disgruntled US soldiers called the Hamlin Battalion, but their reason for trying to destroy the US is unknown, other than the fact that the Big Bad Gregory Barrows was given poor treatment in the military.
Right Wing Militia Fanatics
Note, the trope does not cover all reactionary militias. Only those who conduct violent, illegal actions to further their ideology count as examples.
The Big Bads in the sadly Vin Diesel-less xXx: State of the Union were of the right-wing military splinter ideology type.
The Anarchiste Libertaire Armee in Syphon Filter: The Omega Strain.
La Eden of Mobile Suit Gundam 00, a ultra-conservative political group within the AEU. They attempt to stop Celestial Being through random public attacks. One of the few groups in season one to be considered outright evil.
NCIS must deal with a radical faction of Military At Home (MAH), a group of nationalists who wanted America to focus on internal affairs (fighting crime and illiteracy) instead of foreign affairs. Interestingly, the members of the group were rich, well-to-do people living in a gated community.
Includes Neo-Nazis and white, ethnic, or Anti-fantastic supremacists.
The film adaptation of Tom Clancy's The Sum of All Fears replaced the Muslim terrorists of the novel with Neo-Nazis. According to the production staff, this was because shooting had actually wrapped on the film before 9/11, and, at the time, they felt the idea of a successful Muslim attack of that scale on the U.S. was far-fetched. It was apparently less farfetched to have the said Neo-Nazis be a bunch of wealthy businessmen, led by an Austrian billionaire, who hope to provoke a nuclear war between the USA and the Russian Federation in order to pave way for their takeover.
In a Doctor Who spin-off audio adventure, the villain (who desires to remove non-British from Britain) uses mind control to get people to blow themselves up shouting "THIS IS FOR MY PEOPLE!" Regardless of the nationality, he gets the press to cover it as a Muslim extremist (In the first instance, a Scot blew himself up, and was said on the news to be a Muslim student) or other non-British to cause riots and swell public support for his anti-foreigner agenda.
A bunch of skinheads came damn close to assassinating the president in The West Wing. Although they weren't actually trying to assassinate President Bartlett, but rather his bodyman, Charlie Young. Though technically they were trying to kill him for political reasons (he was black and was dating the president's white daughter).
In the film The Peacemaker, a white Bosnian Serb tries to suicide bomb New York City with a backpack nuke.
The Nicolas Cage movie Next did this, with the bad guys being a group of apparently Francophone Europeans.
Tom Clancy has quite a few examples, most of the Net Force series.
Richard Thompson's song about terrorism, "Guns are the Tongues," seems to be about the IRA (he's said the organization is meant to be generic, but the checkpoint they blow up is in Glengary and there are other hints). Who the terrorists are, though, is really incidental - the point of the song is that there are other reasons besides ideological fervor one might become a terrorist (in this case, being seduced and rather mentally unbalanced to begin with) and that the freedom fighter/ brutal terrorist line is really very subjective if it exists at all.
However, he does have a song sung from the perspective of a Muslim extremist suicide bomber, "Outside of the Inside".
An episode of Crossing Jordan had a terrorist bombing committed by a Westerner upset that the U.S. was not "protecting against terrorism enough" and wanted to prove it.
There's an element of Ripped from the Headlines to this: the anthrax case shortly after 9/11 remains unsolved, but the only major suspect has been an American virologist who would have had similar motives.
The Drazens, the employers of Ira Gaines in 24's Day 1, consisted of Slobodan Milosevic's lieutenant Victor Drazen and his two sons.
Most of Captain America's terrorist enemies are Conspiracy-type organizations, but the Sons of the Serpent fit more into this category. Think Archie Bunker if he were a murderous and genuinely bigoted psychopath, and you have a good idea of what the organization stands for.
In the UK, Channel 4 aired an original drama called Gas Attack about a Neo-Nazi organizing an anthrax attack on a council estate full of Kurdish asylum seekers, as part of the Neo-Nazis plan to force the government to deport all immigrants, homosexuals and non-white British people from the country.
Any comic by Frank Miller will inevitably have Nazi henchmen. Oddly enough, they rarely, if ever, make racist remarks. In fact, a Neo-Nazi in Sin City is shown working for Big Scary Blackman Manute with no trouble.
In "The Big Explosion" episode of Dragnet, a white supremacist steals dynamite from a construction site and plans to use it to blow up an integrated elementary school during school hours. Sgt. Friday and Officer Gannon must use trickery to find the TNT.
An episode of Law And Order: Criminal Intent dealt with two Western, non-Arab converts to Islam who decided to become suicide bombers. Which may, in turn, have been inspired by the Real Life case of John Walker Lindh, the "American Taliban".
Also a plot point in episodes of NCIS and Criminal Minds, where an Arab-born leader recruits Americans to carry out suicide missions.
A recent Eleventh Hour had a group attacking the Philadelphia transit system. In this case our bad guys are... Belgian? Though in this case, they are Islamic converts after the pattern of Lindh, mentioned above.
Used in a more meta- way later on. Even though all of the terrorists are Americans, the Western Galactic Empire is afraid of accusations of discrimination, and its own (Western) people are accused of terrorism by government and media at least as often as the Americans are.
An episode of the fifth series of Spooks featured the Sons of Phineas; former drug addicts who have been turned into fanatical assassins by a fundamentalist Anglican priest -which is arguably an oxymoron- during his rehab programmes. They might have been an interesting collection of enemies if the writers hadn't made them carbon copies of Islamic extremists with the terminology switched around (seriously, the first one who appears even yells, "Death to the enemies of Christ!" before he shoots a radical Muslim cleric). Furthermore, the minister who organised them seemed to honestly believe that this little band (which has about nine or ten guys at most) could eventually bring about the End of the World as We Know It. Maybe it was supposed to be some sort of Stealth Parody?
In Unthinkable, Steven Arthur Younger is a nuclear weapons expert and ex-military man who has converted to Islam and changed his named to Mohammed Yusuf Atta. He planted three nuclear bombs in three different US cities. The FBI and other agencies must get him to tell them where the bombs are - they achieve this by relying on a lot of Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique.
Season 2 of 24 used this for an actual, solid twist. The sister of a woman marrying a Muslim boy she met at college in London starts to suspect that he may have ties to a terrorist group. Turns out he's innocent; it's her sister the bride who's been converted and embraced radical Islam.
A recent episode of the U.S. version of Life On Mars featured the 1970s student-radical group the Weathermen claiming responsibility for (fictional) bomb attacks on former colleagues of Gene Hunt. Though they were a real left-wing terrorist group, they never attacked New York police in this manner.
A bonus comic (Cross Fire) in Hellsing features a communist group (hinted to consist of former Soviet officials), having brutally attacked a Catholic meeting and stolen millions from the Vatican, trying to buy weapons in a Berlin hotel (presumably to continue their anticlerical campaign). They are dealt with efficiently.
The Enforcer pits Dirty Harry against the fictional People's Revolutionary Strike Force, a Marxist terrorist cell however this turns out to be a ploy for extorting ransom from people-"they don't actually believe in any of that shit."
The fictional Citizen's Liberation Order for a Democratic Society (CLODS) in MAD magazine. The CLODS' leader, Field Marshall Arnold Marighella was named MAD's "Underground Revolutionary" of The Year.
Implied in Red Eye, where the villain's terrorist employers all speak Russian amongst each other.
In Rainbow Six: Patriots, the antagonists are a terrorist group called "True Patriots", who judging by their methods and motivations are a militarized, fanatic version of Occupy Wall Street.
A Dutch fireworks safety campaign portrayed a stereotypical, ostensibly Islamist terrorist group who commit atrocities with the use of fireworks as explosives. Because of concerns over racism and offense, the campaign was re-branded to make the characters extremist Flemish separatists who now operate in Belgium where they can easily obtain illegal fireworks.
Patriot Games featured the fictional Ulster Liberation Army, a Marxist splinter faction of the Provisional IRA, who were assisted in the US by Alex Dobbins and his group of terrorists (who roughly resemble the Black Panthers in general purpose), and assist the ULA in an attack on Ryan's house, where the Prince Charles Expy and his wife are visiting.
An episode of the British medical drama Casualty which would have begun with a Muslim carrying out a suicide bombing was rewritten so that the bombing was committed by animal rights extremists.
Subverted in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. The three hot chicks claim to be from an extreme animal rights group and recruit Jay and Silent Bob to liberate an animal research facility, but the mission is really a cover for a jewel heist.
The Criminal Minds episode "Empty Planet" has an anti-technology bomber who believes that the world is going to be overtaken by robots if we don't do something about it. Really, though, he was just trying to live out the plot of a novel because he believed the book's author was his mother and that somehow his crimes would serve to unite them.
We're led to think an eco-terrorist group are the villains of Flashpoint's second season premiere, "One Wrong Move". Turns out to be a remnant of said group and the brainwashed daughter of two former members.
A superpowered eco-terrorist group fought the New Warriors a lot in the early days of their original series.
A save-the-whales extremist tried to destroy a submarine on NCIS, believing that naval sonar and other signaling was disrupting whales' migration and breeding.
In the JAG episode "Surface Warfare" environmental activists sabotage naval exercises off the shores of Florida.
The villains of most episodes of the short lived television show Threat Matrix were Western Terrorists.
While the specific nationalities of the members of Danya's terrorists in Survival of the Fittest has so far remained unknown (though judging by the names, at least one is Swedish), most of the terrorists look distinctly Western and have Western names. So far we've only seen one Asian terrorist, a Vietnamese woman.
The Act Of War series uses a Russian with a vendetta and various groups of Marxist/eco-terrorist groups out of Latin America and Mexico. Ironically, they're used by a bunch of Oil Corporations to take over the Earth. There also appear to be corporate security and Islamic terrorists among them, too.
The Sci-Fi Channel Original Series The Invisible Man frequently used Western terrorists, including Swiss and Canadian terrorists.
The Big Bad in some of the Rogue Warrior books (Marcinko claims they are based on real life but one novel has Portland torn apart, so it's safely fictional) has ties to Muslim terrorists (allowing for a scene in which Dick Marcinko blows away Arabs) but completely unrelated goals. Red Cell and Task Force Blue was domestic traitors, SEAL Team Alpha was government insiders for the Chinese, Violence of Action was Neo-Nazis, Vengeance were the children of a soldier who died under Marcinko in Vietnam. Green Team was global terrorism with the Big Bad an Islamist sympathizer, and Designation Gold was the Russian mafiya and American traitors in a plot to boost the Russians in Israel and Syria.
Various episodes of Criminal Minds:
The unnamed terrorist cell in the "Lo-Fi/Mayhem" two-parter is given no real background, with its members being of various races and ethnicities. It attempts to pull off an overly complex plot to kill a single politician who has Secret Service protection, and may have been the US President or Vice President. However, all of the terrorists commit suicide to evade capture, and one says that since they don't fear death, they'll win in the end, thus implying they were Islamic extremists.
In "Amplification" the assistant of an eccentric scientist (who had created a new, more powerful strain of anthrax) kills his mentor in an argument and plans to unleash the anthrax to show how unprepared America really would be in the face of a terrorist attack (though in actuality he was just a spiteful little man who wanted to take revenge on places where he was rejected, one of which was a military research facility).
In the Command & Conquer: Tiberium series, most of the characters of the Brotherhood of Nod, a mysterious terrorist organization, are Westerners. Their only Middle Eastern character, Hassan, turns out to be a double agent working for the GDI, and is later defeated and executed by the Brotherhood. They combine Radical, Religious, and arguably Ecological terrorism.
The second and third give most of them Eastern European or Oriental names: Anton Slavik, Oxana Cristos, Killian Quatar, Ajay, Marcion, etc. The Eastern overtones are quite obvious in their peculiar brand of architecture (a sort of uber-modernist meld of Islamic and Orthodox Christian), their religious views, and the fact that they're most active in Eastern Europe (Kane has a thing for Sarajevo).
The Trigger by Arthur C. Clarke and Michael Kube-McDowell uses fictional examples of Conspiracy / Terrorists Without a Cause and Reactionary Militas, and an apparently real-life but rather obscure one, Los Macheteros (terrorists for Puerto Rican independence.) Wouldn't be so noticeable if Eastern and Middle Eastern terrorists weren't absent.
The Modesty Blaise story "The Vampire of Malvescu" featured Europe's Fist, a terrorist group dedicated to striking back by committing a retaliatory act of terrorism for every act of Middle Eastern terrorism committed against Europe.
Cordis Die, Raul Menendez's terrorist organization from Call Of Duty Black Ops 2 is rather difficult to classify. On the surface, they make themselves out to be a populist faction that seeks justice for the oppressed 99%, taking several cues from the Occupy Wall Street movement, but in reality, they serve simply as a means for their Nicaraguan narco-terrorist leader to take revenge on the West for the devastation of his country and the death of his sister. It has members all around the world, and they do indeed include insurgent groups in Yemen and Afghanistan, but the vast majority of their armed forces consist of Cuban mercenaries, who are, in turn, commanded by a white British guy.
Several of the disruptive events of the Pattern, on Fringe would technically rank as state-sponsored terrorism against the United States by the alternate United States.