The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.
In the weeks following the terrorist attacks in France, major players in the American anti-Muslim movement have unleashed a tirade of bigotry and renewed their energies in attacking the federal government. But not to be left out, prominent anti-immigrant figures and politicians have also joined the show.
Former congressman Tom Tancredo called for a ban on all Muslim immigration to the United States, and rabid far-right commentator Ann Coulter said the same for France, suggesting that it might be a good time for the French to “take a little pause in Muslim immigration for a while.”
But that was only the beginning of their outrage, which quickly turned to focus on criticizing Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN), for his appointment to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Carson is the first Muslim to sit on the committee.
Robert Spencer, who runs the website Jihad Watch and is closely tied to anti-Muslim activist Pamela Geller, questioned Carson’s position and lamented that he “already has entrée to highly sensitive areas” of the federal government. The anti-Muslim blog “Creeping Sharia” called Carson “delusional” and “dangerous” and claimed, “he does not belong on any intel committee.” A post about Carson on the website of the increasingly extreme American Thinker also concluded, “With radical Muslims parading in and out of the White House over the past six years, installing Carson on a national security committee is more proof that the Islamic threat we face is inside our own government.”
The fallacy in the Thinker’s argument — that all Muslims are radicalized and bent on destroying the West — is only the beginning in this new round of anti-Muslim hate. Others have reacted to the Jan. 7 attack in Paris by ratcheting up completely fabricated concerns, like so-called “no-go zones” in the United States and United Kingdom where non-Muslims are no longer welcome and, in fact, targeted upon visiting.
The idea has received considerable airtime thanks to repeated statements from Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who recently doubled down on his claims that these areas exist in a interview with CNN, stating, “I think your viewers know absolutely there are places where the police are less likely to go. They absolutely know there are neighborhoods where they wouldn’t feel comfortable.”
Even before Jindal’s remarks, though, anti-Muslim activist Steve Emerson told Fox News that Birmingham, the UK’s second largest city, is “totally Muslim, where non-Muslims just simply don’t go in.” Emerson’s comments prompted an angry response from British Prime Minister David Cameron who branded him “a complete idiot.” (Fox News issued an apology for Emerson’s comments soon after.)
But anti-immigrant leader Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), a nativist think tank, echoed Jindal and Emerson’s comments in a tweet on January 20. “OF COURSE there are no-go zones in many of Europe’s Muslim neighborhoods,” the tweet said.
Krikorian is no stranger to anti-Muslim sentiment, once writing, “I’m afraid that in the Islamic world democracy faces the problem of a vicious people, one where the desire for freedom is indeed written in every human heart, but the freedom to do evil.”
It doesn’t stop there. There has also been increased hand-wringing about Sharia law supplanting Constitutional law. A litany of anti-Muslim leaders signed a letter penned by Frank Gaffney, head of the Center for Security Policy praising Jindal for his recent comments about Sharia. Other notable signatories included Brigitte Gabriel, head of the anti-Muslim ACT! for America and Tony Perkins, president of the anti-LGBT hate group Family Research Council.
Then, last week, some in the anti-Muslim movement decided to take to the streets to voice their opposition to Islam.
On January 17, a “Stand with the Prophet” event aimed at combatting Islamophobia took place in Garland, Texas. In response, Muslim-basher Pamela Geller organized a demonstration that attracted a number of extremists, including representatives from the anti-Muslim group The United West and Ruben Israel, part of the Los Angeles-based hate group Official Street Preachers. In an interview with The United West at the protest site, Geller stated, “The Islamic leadership in this country is holding a conference to restrict our free speech. It’s the same exact premise, it’s the same ideology, it’s the same system of governance, the Sharia, that was behind those murders (in Paris).”
There are voices that disagree. In a recent op-ed in The Tennessean, for example, Paul Galloway, executive director of the American Center for Outreach, which works to bring Muslim voices to the Tennessee political stage, wrote that, “More and more people are starting to see the symbiotic relationship between Muslim terrorists and the anti-Muslim propaganda machine.” This is certainly the case, but the propaganda from anti-Muslim quarters continues to spread.
Update: The RNC voted yesterday to censure its member Dave Agema for posting material on social media that is insensitive to gays, Muslims and African Americans. Ironically, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus is working closing with a group, American Family Association, that could be described in the exact same way.
It’s only been a few weeks since we learned that majority whip Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) had spoken to a white supremacist group in 2002, and again the Republican Party has a scandal about race on its hands.
As the RNC gathers today in San Diego for its annual strategy meeting to draft plans for its future, particularly how it will improve its outreach to minorities, another prominent GOP lawmaker has been discovered to be a fan of white supremacist thinking.
Dave Agema, a member of the Republican National Committee from Michigan, republished an essay by the white nationalist publication American Renaissance in a New Year’s Eve Facebook post. The racist article, par for the course for American Renaissance, said “blacks are different by almost any measure to all other people. They cannot reason as well. They cannot communicate as well. They cannot control their impulses as well. They are a threat to all who cross their paths, black and non-black alike.”
Agema reportedly found it “very enlightening.” Can that possibly be true?
Agema has since pulled the piece down, but he refuses to apologize or resign from the RNC. And this isn’t his first racist rodeo.
According to the National Journal, Agema has a well-documented history of making inflammatory and false remarks, such as that President Obama is a Muslim. The Journal points to another Agema Facebook faux pas. He apparently shared what he called an “eye opening” essay that posed the question: “Have you ever seen a Muslim do anything that contributes positively to the American way of life?”
At least in this case, some in the RNC have reacted appropriately by calling for Agema to resign or be removed. They include RNC head Reince Priebus and Michigan’s entire GOP delegation. That’s all well and very good, but where’s the outrage from Priebus or other prominent Republicans over Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal’s plan to hold a prayer rally with the American Family Association (AFA)? Emails to Priebus’ and Jindal’s offices asking for comment were not returned.
On Jan. 24, Jindal, with AFA backing, will be praying at Louisiana State University in an event billed as “The Revival.” His partner, AFA, has defamed immigrants, the LGBT community and women. And just like American Renaissance, it has had horrible things to say about black people.
Let’s take a look at Jindal’s prayer partners.
- An AFA leader has said, “Homosexuality gave us Adolph Hitler, and homosexuals in the military gave us the Brown Shirts, the Nazi war machine and 6 million dead Jews.”
- The same staffer said African Americans “rut like rabbits” and women have no place in politics or the military.
- Another has argued that Hispanics are “socialists by nature” and come to the United States to “plunder” our country.
- And the group has repeatedly made the point that non-Christians are second-class citizens—“we are a Christian nation, and not a Jewish or Muslim one.” (Find a comprehensive look at AFA’s extremist statements and positions here).
Given a track record like that, I have to ask where’s the outrage from Jindal’s fellow Republicans? American Renaissance is clearly racist, but so are these statements about black people and Latinos. Shouldn’t they be condemned as well? And what about blaming gay people for the Holocaust?
So, if Agema is the big Republican elephant in the room stalking the GOP’s efforts to reach out to minorities, isn’t that true as well of any politician who is close to AFA?
Sadly the hypocrisy goes much deeper. As RNC Chair Priebus has berated Agema, rightly saying, “The tone and rhetoric from Agema is consistently offensive and has no place in politics or any rational conversation,” the chairman is also working closely with AFA.
At the end of this month, Priebus is leading an all expenses paid trip to Jerusalem for RNC members. So far, about 60 members (about 36 percent) of the RNC have accepted the offer, according to Haaretz.
And guess who is picking up the tab for this “incredible opportunity” Priebus is offering his fellow RNC members? You guessed right: the AFA.
Terry Jones has given up cooking Qurans for the time being in favor of taking a new stand in Bradenton, Florida. Jones and his two brothers opened “Fry Guys Gourmet Fries,” a French fry stand at the food court of the DeSoto Square mall.
Jones is the pastor of the Dove World Outreach Center, an anti-Muslim hate group that received international attention for planning to burn 2,998 Qurans—one for each victim from the September 11th terrorist attacks—in 2013. He was arrested on his way to the event for felony unlawful conveyance of fuel and also charged with unlawful open-carry of a firearm.
Previous plans to burn a Quran in 2010, eventually aborted, and 2011 resulted in a $2.2 million bounty being placed on Jones’s head by an Al-Qaeda affiliate.
According to a recent interview in VICE, Jones sees his fry stand as an act of patriotic defiance.
“I hope that it’s somewhat of an asset for people that are tired of what is going on and want to speak out, and want to believe that someone will stand up, and take a chance, and speak out. People can support us by coming out to eat,” Jones said.
Jones, who also made headlines in 2011 for holding “Good Friday protest” in Dearborn, Michigan, at the Islamic Center of America where he claimed that the city was ruled by sharia law, seems to have toned down his rhetoric.
When asked by VICE if he wished all Muslims would convert to Christianity, he gave a surprising answer.
“If you’re asking me as an American, then I have no problem with Islam—they are protected under the First Amendment. I have no problem with them being in the country, building mosques, or evangelizing.”
In his first column of 2015, published on the right-wing website News with Views, Wooldridge continued his campaign to denigrate Muslims, calling for a ban on all Muslim immigration to the U.S. and warning that no Western country will “survive [Muslim] birthrates or culture.”
“Islam grows in America. This beast roams America in places like Philadelphia where Muslim women walk Market Street where Ben Franklin walked,” Wooldridge wrote. “At some point, we must shut down all Muslim immigration before we lose control of our own country. They prove relentless, uncompromising and unyielding. No such thing as a ‘moderate Muslim!’”
The column is the third installment in a series titled, “Impregnating America With Muslims: Onslaught on our Ethos, Language and Culture.” It also quoted heavily from an October 2014 sermon delivered by Rabbi Shalom Lewis of Congregation Etz Chaim, where Lewis called for a “holy crusade” against Muslim extremists.
Wooldridge has a long history of anti-Muslim vitriol, and he is far from an isolated figure within the broader anti-immigrant movement. He is an advisory board member with the hate group Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), founded by white nationalist John Tanton, the architect of the modern-day anti-immigrant movement. Wooldridge also worked as a “senior writing fellow” for the anti-immigrant group Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS). Both FAIR and CAPS received funding from the Pioneer Fund, a foundation dedicated to funding the studies of race and intelligence, as well as eugenics, the “science” of breeding superior human beings that was discredited by various Nazi atrocities.
Incidentally, the idea of Muslim immigration diluting western culture has long been a nativist fascination. As early as 2000, for example, FAIR attacked Sen. Spencer Abraham (R-Mich.), an Arab-American, for supporting more high-tech visas for immigrants. In radio and TV ads, FAIR claimed Abraham’s proposal could “make it easier for [Arab] terrorists like Osama bin Laden to export their way of terror to any street in America.”
A decade later, in the Fall 2010, Tanton’s anti-immigrant journal The Social Contract (TSC) called for a ban on all Muslim immigration to the U.S. Tanton’s right hand man, K.C. McAlpin, attempted to justify the call for a ban, saying “Congress has used that power in the past to ban the immigration of Communist Party and National Socialist (Nazi) party members who were deemed to be threats to our national security. This case is no different.”
But in reality, for Wooldridge and McAlpin, it is completely different.
Editor’s Note: This story will be published in the forthcoming issue of the Intelligence Report magazine, which is scheduled for release in February.
At an age when most men and women choose to retire, 67-year-old William W. Williams went out and got a new job in one of the world’s oldest professions – hate.
He is now the HNIC – Head Nazi in Charge.
Known throughout the white nationalist movement as “White Will” – the fictional hero of a notorious 1990s racist comic book he helped write and draw – Williams is the new chairman of what’s left of the old neo-Nazi National Alliance (NA), once America’s leading hate group. Crafty and smart, the self-described “biological racist” recently out-maneuvered and hustled his bitter rivals in the neo-Nazi movement for the tarnished title, a state of affairs duly registered with the Commonwealth of Virginia State Corporation Commission.
Williams won by stealth and ambush, skills he picked up as a young U.S. Army Special Forces officer during two combat tours in Vietnam. But this time, he did not have to fire a shot to get the job done. He sat back and watched his foes – a band of disgruntled former NA members calling themselves the National Alliance Reform & Restoration Group, or NARRG – do the heavy lifting. As NARRG was spending tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees to seize control of the Alliance with a $2 million civil lawsuit against Erich Josef Gliebe, the much maligned chairman who presided over the last 12 years of the NA’s decline, Williams was secretly negotiating with Gliebe to resign and hand over to him the keys to the crumbling kingdom.
“We managed to keep it pretty close to our chest,” Williams told the Intelligence Report in a recent interview. “We didn’t go out there, bragging and boasting and all that. We just kind of slowly maneuvered around.”
Williams’ power grab clearly caught NARRG off guard. It was a stiff Roman salute to the jaw and NARRG did not take it well, calling Williams, among other things, a “superficial” “racial gadfly” who blends “various reactionary white nationalist ideologies” and is “bent on a path of religious tyranny.”
Herr Kettle, meet Herr Pot.
Needless to say, NARRG rejects Williams as chairman. “The lawsuit,” NARRG announced on its website, “continues to go on, even though the purported wrinkle of Williams may be in the mix.” ( continue to full post… )
A 34-year-old Kansas City truck driver faces a first-degree murder charge and a federal hate crime investigation after authorities say he deliberately struck a teenager leaving a mosque with his SUV.
After his arrest, Ahmed H. Aden told police that he had been looking to kill several men who threatened him earlier, mistaking 15-year-old Abdisamad Sheikh-Hussein for one of those men, the Kansas City Star reported.
The high school sophomore, who had just led evening prayers at his mosque on Thursday, was struck outside the Somali Center by a speeding Chevrolet Blazer, nearly severing his legs. He died a short time later at a hospital.
Mohamed Ahmed, 13, told the newspaper that the teenager “was leading our prayer, and then after that, he just went outside. He was going to the gym to meet his friends and play basketball. And then, he got hit.”
Prosecutors have charged Aden with armed criminal action, leaving the scene of an accident and unlawful use of a weapon. He is also the focus of a federal hate crimes probe, the newspaper reported.
Abdinajib Dirir, the victim’s uncle, said the family had emigrated from war-torn Somalia and was devastated by the loss.
“There are no words to describe,” he told Kansas City newspapers. “This is a community that fled a violent situation. Now we’re facing violence in the United States. … We are American like everyone else. And this is a tragedy for us.”
Members of the Somali community told the newspaper that the suspect had a history of making violent threats against Muslims and the mosque, occasionally even threatening the mass slaughter of worshipers. He had been interviewed by police, but apparently a case against him couldn’t be developed.
Moussa Elbayoumy, chairman of the Kansas chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said a member of the mosque has a photo of Aden’s SUV with anti-Muslim graffiti reading, “Quran is a virus disease (worse) than Ebola.”
As Fury Mounts Over Obama Actions on Immigration, SPLC Releases Major Report on Nativist Movement Rebirth
Just a day after President Obama announced a series of executive actions meant to allow millions of undocumented residents to remain in the United States, the Southern Poverty Law Center is releasing a major report on the apparent rebirth of the nativist extremist movement that swept the country between 2005 and 2011.
Today’s release of “Back to the Border,” the cover story of the new issue of the SPLC’s Intelligence Report, comes amid a rising din of anti-immigrant fury from both the mainstream and the radical right about Obama’s moves, unilateral actions that an array of enraged nativists claim could set political violence. The new report traces the resurgence of the movement to early July, when a furious mob turned back buses carrying undocumented and unaccompanied minor immigrants to a Border Patrol facility in Murrieta, Calif. The new edition of the quarterly investigative journal carrying the story can be read at www.splcenter.org.
The confrontation in Murrieta led to a series of similar nativist outbursts around the country and the massing of antigovernment militias and other radical groups on the U.S.-Mexican border in the months that followed. The movement grew large enough that it sparked worries about the return the Minuteman and other nativist groups that harassed undocumented immigrants in recent years. Now, with Obama’s Thursday night speech on immigration already setting off a renewed round of enraged attacks on the president, the threat of a major nativist resurgence seems strong.
“The success of a howling mob in turning back buses filled with undocumented immigrant children bound for a shelter was the first spark to reignite the nativist extremist movement,” said Mark Potok, senior fellow at the SPLC and author of the new report. “Now, with the new executive action initiative announced last night by President Obama, that spark may turn into a conflagration.’
This issue of the Intelligence Report also examines another radical movement experiencing a revival — the racist music industry. Racist bands are using iTunes, the world’s largest music vendor, to distribute their music following the collapse of several racist music labels and distributors. Although its terms of service appear to make iTunes off limits to these groups, the Report found that the music of at least 54 well-known racist bands was being sold by the music service this fall.
“The racist music industry, long a major source of money and new recruits for the white power movement, had been in decline in recent years,” Potok said. “But the discovery of iTunes by racist bands, and the fact that iTunes seems unwilling to move against them, has helped this industry find new hope and profits.”
Also in this issue of the Intelligence Report:
- “Warrior for God” profiles retired three-star general William “Jerry” Boykin, a longtime anti-Muslim activist now serving as executive vice president of the Family Research Council.
- “War Dreams” investigates how the neo-Confederate League of the South is forming a secret paramilitary unit called “The Indomitables,” another step in its continuing radicalization. The group now appears to include white supremacists, former Klan members and neo-Nazis.
- “East of Eden” examines how a small group of racists are promoting the Orthodox Church as a home for fascism. Although the church has its share of extreme-right officials, it vigorously rejects any association with such groups.
- “Redeemed” is an interview with Yvette Cantu Schneider, a woman who worked in religious-right “ex-gay” ministries for years, but recently joined other former activists in renouncing the movement.
Gunshots were fired today at a mosque in Coachella, Calif., about 120 miles east of Los Angeles, but no one was injured, authorities reported.
Four people were praying inside the Islamic Society of the Coachella Valley mosque when shots were fired about 5 a.m., striking the building and a car parked outside, Riverside County Sheriff’s Department Capt. Andrew Shouse told the Desert Sun newspaper.
“A reasonable person would believe when a mosque is targeted, a hate crime may be occurring,” the sheriff’s official said at the scene of the shooting.
Salah Salah, a member of the mosque’s board, expressed concern over the shooting and the initial lack of a suspect.
“Somebody drunk? Something crazy? Nothing ever happened here before,” Salah told the newspaper, adding: “We are concerned about our safety, our security.”
The 16-year-old mosque has about 90 members.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization, has asked the FBI to investigate.
“Any time shots are fired at a house of worship, the FBI should offer its resources to local authorities to help determine whether or not there was a bias motive for the attack,” CAIR chapter executive director Hussam Ayloush said.
A scheduled appearance by retired Lt. Gen. William G. “Jerry” Boykin, a noted conspiracy theorist who has called President Obama a “Marxist” and warns incessantly of a “Muslim threat,” this morning at a civic “prayer breakfast” in Washington has stirred controversy.
Muslim-American community leaders in Seattle last week raised concerns about Boykin’s appearance, saying he is an “anti-Muslim bigot” with a history of hateful remarks about both Muslims and President Obama.
“While Mr. Boykin has the right to hold extremist anti-Muslim views, his un-American bigotry should not receive the endorsement of elected officials who serve citizens of all faiths,” said Arsalan Bukhari, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations for Washington, based in Seattle. ( continue to full post… )
Editor’s Note: This weekend, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban announced that his government would “use all legal means” to prevent the Budapest white nationalist gathering explored below from occurring, presumably by banning foreign visitors from entering the country. According to the Hungarian blog HungarianAmbience.com, officials at the planned venue for the conference also have cancelled their contract with conference organizers, saying they were not aware of the nature of the gathering. Still, chief organizer Richard Spencer is reassuring those planning to attend that the conference will go on as scheduled, even if meeting will be a “little more inconvenient” than it would have been.
One of the most polished American racists of recent years is Richard Bertrand Spencer, a 36-year-old Ph.D. program dropout who, in his khakis and oxfords, looks more like some ambitious young Capitol Hill staffer than a white supremacist. Indeed, with a master’s degree from the University of Chicago and a bachelor’s from the University of Virginia, Spencer’s resumé reads a lot like that of a well-heeled, up-and-coming politico.
But several years ago, when he was in his early thirties, Spencer left mainstream conservatism for what he calls “a life of thought crime.” Since then, he has established racist websites and ascended to the top spot at the National Policy Institute (NPI), a white nationalist nonprofit he runs from his home in Whitefish, Mont., along with two affiliated publishing outfits. After holding a series of highbrow-racist conferences on such topics as the future of white people, Spencer has now set his sights on bigger things — building bridges to the organized European racist right.
Though past NPI conferences have featured leading European racists, Spencer is moving beyond one-off presentations from these folks in order to connect with two newly important radical-right strains on the continent: the Movement Identitaire, a pro-white, anti-Muslim and anti-globalist movement that started in France in the early 2000s and has been growing rapidly since, and Jobbik, the anti-Semitic and racist organization that became Hungary’s third-largest political party this spring, when it polled more than 1 million votes.
“We hope that our budding society will act as a forum for a number of different traditionalist groups in Europe, including Identitarians,” Spencer told Hatewatch. “We are eager to involve Europeans who seek to connect with community and tradition, and thus preserve true diversity against the flattening of globalism.” His interest, Spencer added, is to reach “any European who seeks to develop racial identity and consciousness.”
A key upcoming moment in this effort comes at a planned Oct. 3-5 conference NPI organized in Budapest, Hungary. Co-hosted by Jobbik, the Inaugural Identitarian Congress is slated to feature prominent European nationalists of various types and several leading American racist ideologues (see biographies below).
Little is known about Spencer’s new allies in the U.S., but across the Atlantic they are seen as serious threats to European democracy. Members of the European Union, the European Jewish Congress and other prominent human rights defenders have warned of the dangers posed by Jobbik, which has been widely described as fascist, is patently anti-Semitic, and yet has grown rapidly. Similarly, the Movement Identitaire, which started small but made a name for itself with the 2012 invasion of a French mosque, is deeply worrying to European officials. ( continue to full post… )