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

Census Data Puts to Rest Racists’ Dreams of a ‘Whites Only’ Homeland in Northwest

By Bill Morlin on May 13, 2011 - 5:10 pm, Posted in Neo-Nazi, White Supremacist

The Aryan Nations and its late leader Richard Butler once sought to create a “whites only” homeland in the Inland Northwest. The group eventually was crushed by a Southern Poverty Law Center lawsuit. Its compound was obliterated. And its membership was splintered.

Now, an analysis of Census data demonstrates that its dream, too, is dead.

Speaking today to the Kootenai County Democratic Club in Idaho, civil rights activist Tony Stewart offered the proof.

“I stand here 38 years after Richard Butler and the Aryan Nations arrived in northern Idaho to present to you the overwhelming evidence that diversity and a multiculture society are prevailing over the advocates of a whites-only region,’’ Stewart said. ( continue to full post… )

Two American Muslims Charged in NYC Bomb Plot

By Leah Nelson on May 13, 2011 - 11:56 am, Posted in Anti-Semitic, Extremist Crime, Muslim Extremism

Two American Muslims, one of whom complained that Muslims were treated like “dogs,” have been charged with plotting to kill Jews by blowing up synagogues in Manhattan.

Ahmed Ferhani, 26, an aspiring fashion model who once sold cosmetics at Saks Fifth Avenue, and his accomplice, Mohamed Mamdouh, 20, a taxi service dispatcher, were arrested Wednesday after purchasing three semiautomatic pistols, 150 rounds of ammunition and a hand grenade from an undercover police officer.

They are charged under state law with second-degree conspiracy as a crime of terrorism, second-degree conspiracy as a hate crime and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon as a crime of terrorism. ( continue to full post… )

GOP Members of Congress Push Amendment to ‘Nullify’ Federal Laws

By Heidi Beirich on May 12, 2011 - 12:56 pm, Posted in Antigovernment, Patriot Groups

Nullification — the idea that a state can simply refuse to follow federal laws when it doesn’t like them — has been popular of late. A traveling conference called “Nullify Now!” has been roving the country in the last year pushing this notion, with its events headlined by prominent figures in the antigovernment “Patriot” movement.

In addition, state lawmakers in recent months have introduced, but not passed, numerous bills to nullify federal initiatives like gun regulations and the new health care reform act. Some have sought to deny the authority of federal agents to act in state jurisdictions. Arizona’s Senate even passed a sweeping bill earlier this year that would create a legislative committee to “recommend, propose and call for a vote by simple majority to nullify in its entirety a specific federal law or regulation that is outside the scope of the powers delegated by the People to the federal government in the United States Constitution.”

Now, the movement is going national, with some Congressional GOP lawmakers pushing for legislation affecting the entire country. Their proposed constitutional amendment, a Tea Party favorite, would allow a vote by two-thirds of the states’ legislatures to override any federal law. According to the Talking Points Memo website, the amendment is being pushed by Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) in the Senate and is co-sponsored by Sens. John Barasso (R-W.V.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). In the House, U.S. Reps. Rob Bishop (R-Utah), Morgan Griffith (R-Va.) and Paul Broun (R-Ga.) are backing the amendment. These lawmakers, using traditional antigovernment language, claim their goal is to stop the tyranny of Washington over the economy and circumscribe other federal powers. ( continue to full post… )

Witness in Aryan Murder-for-Hire Scheme in Idaho Sentenced

By Bill Morlin on May 12, 2011 - 8:41 am, Posted in Extremist Crime

The key witness who assisted the Justice Department in last week’s successful prosecution of former Aryan Nations attorney Edgar Steele will spend 27 months in prison for building pipe bombs in a murder-for-hire plot.

Larry Fairfax, a 49-year-old handyman, contacted the FBI last year after he was approached by Edgar Steele and given $10,000 in silver coins to build pipe bombs to kill Steele’s wife, Cyndi, and her mother.

What Fairfax didn’t immediately tell the FBI was that he already had placed one of armed explosive devices on Cyndi Steele’s vehicle and it was there when she drove from North Idaho to Oregon.

The pipe bomb was discovered during an oil change on the vehicle shortly before Edgar Steele was arrested by the FBI and arraigned on federal charges related to the plot. A second pipe bomb – planted for a cover story – was successfully removed from a vehicle driven by Edgar Steele. ( continue to full post… )

Andrew Shirvell, Who Hounded Gay Student, Now Claims Victim Status

By Robert Steinback on May 11, 2011 - 1:14 pm, Posted in Anti-LGBT

If Andrew Shirvell represents the vanguard in the crusade against the “homosexual activist agenda,” it’s no contest. The agenda has won.

Shirvell (right), a former Michigan assistant state attorney general, essentially trashed his own career by waging a bitter campaign last year against a man he didn’t even know – Chris Armstrong, a 21-year-old, openly gay University of Michigan student who had just been elected the school’s new student government president. Now, Shirvell, a Michigan alumnus, is stretching the credulity of jurisprudence by claiming in a May 6 court filing that he actually is the victim in the fight he provoked – targeted by a reputed “homosexual agenda” often cited by right-wing extremists as seeking to thwart Christianity, destroy the institution of marriage and expand the number of LGBT people through “recruitment.”

Shirvell’s motion seeks dismissal of a harassment lawsuit Armstrong filed against him April 1. According to the Detroit Free Press, Shirvell’s motion claims Armstrong set out “to make an example out of (me) in order to deter others from criticizing (Armstrong’s) homosexual activist agenda.” Armstrong’s lawsuit seeks damages in excess of $25,000. ( continue to full post… )

Geographical Analysis of Hate Groups Listed by SPLC Released

By Heidi Beirich on May 11, 2011 - 10:50 am, Posted in Hate Groups

Today, The Atlantic magazine published an analysis of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of hate groups, which hit a high in 2010 of 1,002 groups. The analysis provides a “geography of hatred” in America and looks at what factors correlate with areas that are hotbeds for hate groups.

Written by Senior Editor Richard Florida, the research found that hate groups, when population is taken into account, are most highly concentrated in the Deep South and the northern Plains states. The states with the highest per capita concentrations of hate groups are Montana and Mississippi. Hate groups are least concentrated in the Northeast, the Great Lakes region and the West Coast. Minnesota has the lowest per capita concentration of hate groups of all.

The Atlantic also found that several other factors are associated with high concentrations of hate groups: high levels of poverty and religiosity and low levels of education. The share of the vote for President Obama is negatively correlated with a high concentration of hate groups. The Atlantic also reports that hate groups “reflect the underlying openness, tolerance and diversity of an area.” According to the analysis, hate groups negatively correlate with concentrations of gay and lesbian households and with areas where there are larger concentrations of immigrants.

In line with earlier studies, the research found no correlation between hate crimes and the number of hate groups. Instead, the research found that hate crimes are more closely connected to “adverse economic conditions, particularly unemployment and to a lesser extent poverty.”

‘Patriots’ and Militia Supporters Flock to New Social Networking Site

By Evelyn Schlatter on May 10, 2011 - 2:03 pm, Posted in Militias, Patriot Groups

Militia members and other antigovernment “Patriot” types have a new social network where they can share and discuss the latest conspiracy theories about the looming “New World Order” and its enablers.

The site, which calls itself the “Social Network of the Revolution,” is run by Patriot leader Gary Franchi, producer of “Camp FEMA,” a film that promotes the FEMA camp conspiracy theory.  The site, named RTR, apparently stands for Restore the Republic, since Franchi heads a Patriot group and website with that name.

It’s just been about a month since Franchi posted a welcome message on RTR, but already more than 30,000 people have signed up. Only 12, however, have responded to a recent fundraising email, according to the site. ( continue to full post… )

David Barton – Extremist ‘Historian’ for the Christian Right

By Evelyn Schlatter on May 5, 2011 - 4:04 pm, Posted in Christian Right

The New York Times today published an article about David Barton, a self-educated, pseudo-historian who advises several prominent right-wing political figures, including Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann, Mike Huckabee and Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback. Huckabee, in fact, recently said at a religious-right conference that he wished all Americans could be “forced — forced at gunpoint no less — to listen to every David Barton message, and I think our country would be better for it.”

Named by Time as one of the nation’s 25 most influential evangelical Christians in 2005, Barton is best known for peddling historical distortions promoting his view that America was founded as a Christian, rather than secular, nation. He served as vice chairman of the Texas Republican Party from 1997 to 2006, and he was hired in 2004 by the Republican National Committee to mobilize Christians for President George W. Bush’s re-election campaign. Since then, he has also become Glenn Beck’s unofficial “historian” (Barton and Beck below, recently in Israel).

David Barton with Glenn Beck

Times reporter Erik Eckholm noted that Barton “has steadily built a reputation as a guiding spirit of the religious right” even as many historians say he relies on flawed research. What the article didn’t reveal is the depth of Barton’s extremism. ( continue to full post… )

Muslim-Basher Pamela Geller Pushes Another Obama Fairy Tale, Proudly

By Robert Steinback on May 5, 2011 - 3:57 pm, Posted in Anti-Muslim

Did you catch the coup?

Anti-Muslim zealot Pamela Geller, who has posted such whoppers on her blog as the claim that President Obama is the secret “love child” of Malcolm X, is passing off yet another flight of right-wing conspiracy fancy as solemn fact: The idea that the order to launch the raid that killed Osama bin Laden Sunday was the result of an internal White House “coup” that overrode the baleful objections of a timid, disinterested Barack Obama. ( continue to full post… )

Alleged Florida Mosque Bomber Shot Dead by Authorities

By Mark Potok on May 5, 2011 - 3:15 pm, Posted in Anti-Muslim, Extremist Crime

The man wanted for the bombing of a Jacksonville, Fla., mosque almost a year ago was shot and killed Wednesday at an Oklahoma campsite after he drew a weapon on federal and state law enforcement officials who were trying to arrest him.

Sandlin Matthews Smith, 46, was charged with setting off a pipe bomb at the rear entrance of the Islamic Center of Northeast Florida on May 10, 2010. No one was injured in the bombing, which was the first of a series of incidents that signaled a renewed wave of Islamophobia, the first since shortly after 9/11.

Surveillance videotape from the mosque showed a white man setting the bomb, but not clearly enough to easily identify him. The FBI received information from an unknown person identifying Smith just late last month. ( continue to full post… )