The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Michigan Trial Turns Anti-Muslim Activist Into Free-Speech Crusader

By Robert Steinback on April 29, 2011 - 9:16 am, Posted in Anti-Muslim

Efforts by Dearborn, Mich., officials to squelch an anti-Muslim protest last week by Koran-burning publicity hound Terry Jones have had the entirely predictable consequence of elevating the obnoxious Florida pastor to the status of First Amendment darling. Jones, who never got to follow through on his planned demonstration in front of Dearborn’s Islamic Center of America mosque on April 22, promised to return to Dearborn today, this time to rally for freedom of speech.

Jones, who heads the tiny Dove World Outreach Center church in Gainesville, Fla., was seeking last week to build on his newly acquired international infamy as the preacher whose burning of a Koran in March triggered riots in Afghanistan that killed more than 20 people. He applied for a permit to hold a Good Friday demonstration at the mosque – one of the nation’s largest – in a city whose population is one-third Muslim. Though Jones promised that his protest would be peaceful, he also said he would be legally armed. (Competently armed is another matter – Jones accidentally fired his pistol into the floorboard of his car while trying to holster the weapon on April 21 outside a Detroit-area TV station). Jones applied for a permit to hold his rally, declaring that only two people – presumably Jones and colleague Wayne Sapp – were expected to appear.

Jones’ assurances didn’t mollify Wayne County Prosecutor Kym L. Worthy, who filed a request with Michigan’s 19th District Court that Jones be required to post a “peace bond” in order to hold his rally. But according to the Michigan ACLU, a peace bond may only be sought when “a person has threatened to commit an offense against the person or property of another.” The concern in Jones’ case has not been that he might be violent but that his words and actions might provoke a violent reaction against him or others. Still, Worthy asserted that Jones and Sapp were “planning to incite a riot,” according to the brief. ( continue to full post… )

The Day After: ‘Birthers’ Regroup With Crazed Claims of Fraud

By Ryan Lenz on April 28, 2011 - 4:25 pm, Posted in Anti-Black

The foaming-at-the-mouth “birthers” are hardly the type to lay down their rhetorical arms and admit defeat even when forced to see the very document they’ve been demanding from President Obama.

The clamor surrounding Obama’s citizenship status has only intensified in the aftermath of the White House releasing, for the second time, documented proof he was born in Hawaii. For the most part, birthers refused to accept Obama’s “long-form” birth certificate at face value. Some even insisted the document they had sought for years — and claimed didn’t exist — offered more proof that Obama is not constitutionally eligible to be president.

Within hours of the White House releasing the document Wednesday — a political token Obama hoped would curtain the “sideshows” and muzzle the “carnival barkers” — lead barker Donald Trump held a news conference to offer self-congratulations for helping the country move past the issue. (Of course, for more than a month Trump has led the charge to delegitimize the president — and energize a possible campaign of his own.) Trump then moved on to question Obama’s intelligence, wondering how this “terrible student” got into Harvard and Columbia.

Not everyone would be as … ahem … gracious as The Donald. ( continue to full post… )

Let’s Call the ‘Birthers’ What They Are

By Mark Potok on April 28, 2011 - 12:39 pm, Posted in Anti-Black

Perhaps the time has come to state the obvious.

The people who have been selling claims that President Obama is not American — the Donald Trumps, the Orly Taitzes, the miserable state legislators hawking their snake-oil laws insisting that presidential candidates prove their citizenship — are mostly a pack of racists. In the cases where they are not, they are shameless opportunists perfectly willing to exploit racism for their own personal benefit, proponents of a second Republican “Southern strategy.”

And let’s not give a pass to the 25% of Americans who a Harris poll found last month believe Obama was not born in this country despite endless knockdowns by serious news organizations. Common sense — along with an important new study revealing the high levels of racism among those who make such claims — make it obvious what’s going on here. These people are either plainly stupid, or, far more often, whites who see Obama as the Other, the dark-skinned person who represents a racially changing society that they loathe and fear and resent. ( continue to full post… )

Assault on Maryland Transgendered Woman May Be a Hate Crime

By Hatewatch Staff on April 27, 2011 - 4:31 pm, Posted in Hate Crime

A furor has arisen over the brutal beating of a transgendered woman in a McDonald’s Restaurant near Baltimore, with many supporters saying that Chrissy Lee Polis was attacked because of her gender identity in a classic hate crime and calling for the levying of hate crime charges. However, Polis seems to have given differing accounts of the attack, and prosecutors say they are still investigating and have not spoken to the victim yet.

The attack on Polis, 22, occurred on April 18, but has only in the last few days drawn national attention on LGBT websites and elsewhere. On Monday, some 300 people rallied against violence directed at the transgendered, singing “We Shall Overcome” outside the Rosedale, Md., McDonald’s. In a weird aside, the white supremacist website Occidental Dissent — a site thick with links to racist blogs with names like “Why Blacks Suck” — attacked the Southern Poverty Law Center on Monday, saying it was ignoring the attack because Polis was white and her two attackers were black. That shows the SPLC is a “hate racket,” the site said. ( continue to full post… )

After NYT Article, John Tanton’s Name Disappears From FAIR Board of Directors

By Heidi Beirich on April 27, 2011 - 3:44 pm, Posted in Anti-Immigrant, White Nationalism

John Tanton’s name disappeared from the Federation for American Reform’s (FAIR) list of its board of directors in the days following the major April 17 New York Times story outlining Tanton’s racist views. FAIR’s website includes no information about why Tanton is no longer on the board, though Tanton’s bio is still listed on the page devoted to board member biographies. The Times story had described Tanton as a currently serving member of FAIR’s board.

It is unclear what role the Times story may have played in this change, but FAIR’s reaction to the story has been nothing short of hysterical. Today, FAIR spokesman Bob Dane was quoted condemning the article as a “hit piece” and telling the conservative website OneNewsNow, “The New York Times is very open borders, pro-amnesty and pro-President Obama… . They focused on one individual and [used] the old tactics of out-of-context statements, decades-old information, and guilt by association.” ( continue to full post… )

‘Where’s the Birth Certificate?’ The Lunatic Right Gets an Answer

By Ryan Lenz on April 27, 2011 - 11:57 am, Posted in Anti-Black

Over the past month, New York City real estate mogul and TV reality show host Donald Trump has turned himself into the nation’s biggest promoter of the alleged “controversy” over President Obama’s nationality. He claims to have ordered investigators to scour the globe in search of records of the president’s birth and, for good measure, now even questions how Obama, who he called “a terrible student,” got into Harvard or if he ever attended.

Just this Monday, Trump appeared on CNN, the latest in a series of self-promoting public appearances, to insist that the president’s birth certificate does not exist. He said to host Anderson Cooper: “I’ve been told very recently, Anderson, that the birth certificate is missing. I’ve been told that it’s not there, and it doesn’t exist.” Pressed by Cooper to identify his sources — or even some of the officials his investigators have supposedly talked to — Trump refused to provide a single name.

But Trump’s little game may have been checkmated today.

This morning, the Obama Administration released what has long been described as the missing puzzle piece by the so-called “birther” movement – his “long-form” birth certificate. The certificate notes that Barack Hussein Obama was born on Aug. 4, 1961, at Kapiolani Maternity & Gynecological Hospital in Honolulu on Aug. 4, 1961. His parents are identified on the certificate as Stanley Ann Dunham, born in Wichita, Kan., and Barack Hussein Obama, born in Kenya — precisely what the president has said clearly for his entire life. During his news conference, Obama referred to Trump, although not by name, as a “carnival barker.” ( continue to full post… )

Once More, Border Vigilante Laine Lawless Flirts With Nazi Enthusiasts

By Leah Nelson on April 27, 2011 - 8:24 am, Posted in Anti-Immigrant, Anti-Latino, Extremist Crime, Neo-Nazi

Arizona nativist Laine Lawless, chief of the vigilante group Border Guardians, pitched a fit in 2006 after the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Report published the contents of an E-mail she apparently sent to a high-ranking member of the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement (NSM) to urge a campaign of violence and harassment against Latino immigrants.

“Steal the money from any illegal walking to the bank or check cashing place. … Discourage Spanish-speaking children from going to school,” the E-mail to “SS Commander” Mark Martin of the NSM’s western Ohio chapter said. “Be creative. … Make every illegal alien feel the heat of being a person without status.”

Lawless, who refused to comment prior to the publication of the Report’s 2006 article – even after being sent copies of the E-mail over her signature to Martin – later told the media that the message was fabricated. In a long rant on her blog, she declared that the SPLC is part of an “essentially EVIL … Communist conspiracy” intent on destroying America. She was no neo-Nazi or racist, she insisted.

So it was particularly enlightening to learn that she took some time out from immigrant-bashing last Thursday to go to a speech by British writer David Irving in Phoenix. Irving, author of an infamous and ahistorical Hitler apologia called Hitler’s War and some 20 similar books, has cultivated a reputation as the world’s most prominent Holocaust denier. In 2000, at the conclusion of an exhaustive British trial in which he accused a Jewish scholar of libeling him by calling him a Holocaust denier, the judge of the London High Court ruled flatly against him. The judge concluded that Irving “displays a distinctly pro-Nazi and anti-Jewish bias” and is “an active Holocaust denier” who “deliberately misrepresented and manipulated historical evidence.” Later, in 2006, Irving served time in an Austrian prison for denying the existence of gas chambers at Auschwitz. He has been barred from entering Australia, New Zealand and Germany for similar reasons. More recently, he has suggested that the Jews’ best friend in 1930s Germany was Hitler. ( continue to full post… )

Alleged MLK Day Bomber Hit With Rare Federal Hate Crime Charge

By Bill Morlin on April 26, 2011 - 3:04 pm, Posted in Anti-Black, Extremist Crime

The white supremacist accused of planting a potentially deadly back pack bomb on the route of a Martin Luther King Jr. Day unity parade in Spokane, Wash., was arraigned Monday on four charges, including a new federal hate crime charge. His trial was scheduled for May 31 in federal court.

The grand jury indictment returned last week against Kevin William Harpham marks only the third time the U.S. Department of Justice has sought the filing of a federal hate crime charge under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hates Crimes Prevention Act enacted by Congress in October 2009.

“The filing of this charge is very rare,’’ said Jack Levin, a professor at Northeastern University in Boston and director of the school’s Brudnick Center on Conflict and Violence. That rarity is because hate crimes usually are prosecuted under state law, with 49 states having some form of hate crime statute, Levin said.  But even under state laws, only a “very small percentage of perpetrators are ever charged with hate crimes,” said Levin, a criminologist and author of several books on crime. ( continue to full post… )

Nullification Advocates Take Show On The Road

By Robert Steinback on April 26, 2011 - 2:53 pm, Posted in Antigovernment

Possibly coming to a city near you: A citizens’ seminar on how to weaken the “united” in United States by canceling federal laws that states don’t like.

The traveling conference, called “Nullify Now!” pushes nullification, the notion that a state has the right to invalidate and disregard any federal law. The concept relies on a spurious interpretation of the Tenth Amendment, which reserves to the states and the people any power not explicitly given to the federal government. Nullifiers ignore a long history of Supreme Court rulings defining federal authority.

Nullification is nothing new. Battles over states’ abilities to reject federal government initiatives go back to the founding of the country. During the 1950s, Southerners revived the idea as a way to reject the federal government’s efforts at desegregation.

Today’s nullifiers seem to decry just about everything the federal government does. ( continue to full post… )

Businessman at Center of Lesbian Custody Case Hawked Hate Pub Subscriber Lists

By Heidi Beirich on April 25, 2011 - 12:39 pm, Posted in Anti-Semitic, Christian Right

A prominent Christian direct-mail guru — who for years helped conservative groups market themselves to subscribers of a blatantly anti-Semitic publication — has been implicated for harboring a woman who ran away with her biological daughter after losing custody to a former lesbian partner.

According to an FBI affidavit, Lisa Miller and her daughter — missing since 2009 — have been living at a beach house in Nicaragua owned by Philip Zodhiates, who runs the marketing company Response Unlimited in Waynesboro, Va.

Miller’s custody battle with her former partner, Janet Jenkins, has received widespread publicity because of the questions it raised about the rights of non-biological parents in same-sex unions. Miller, who renounced homosexuality and became an evangelical Baptist, lost custody of her daughter after failing to grant Jenkins her court-required visits, citing her objections to Jenkins’ “homosexual lifestyle.” The two had been joined in a civil union in Vermont in 2000. Miller was artificially inseminated and gave birth to her daughter, Isabella, in 2002.

Zodhiates’ alleged involvement in the case was reported by The New York Times on Saturday. ( continue to full post… )