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Steve Klein, the leader of a California hate group, says that Islam is a “penis-driven religion” whose followers have “no choice but to hunt Jews and Christians down, torture us and murder us.”
Klein of Hemet, Calif., who has a long history of ties to militant Christian organizations, has been identified as one of the brains behind the anti-Muslim film that triggered violence in northern Africa, including a rocket attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and the murder of Chris Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya.
Much like Terry Jones, the Florida pastor whose much-hyped Koran burning sparked mob riots that led to at least a dozen deaths in Afghanistan last spring, Klein is an anti-Muslim ideologue who knew exactly the risks he was taking.
A longtime religious-right activist who brags about having led a “hunter killer” team as a Marine in Vietnam, Klein believes that America is already at war with Islam.
“We are a country at war and the enemy is among us,” he wrote on his Facebook page in 2011. “I don’t care what Janet Napolitano says, it’s a fight to the death and we should be prepared as possible. There are a certain number (probably a large number) of Muslims among us who are awaiting the trigger date and will begin randomly killing as many of us as they can, sort of a Fort Hood on steroids. I know I’m getting prepared to shoot back.”
Muslims, he wrote, “are a cancer that WILL attack us and KILL as many as they can to further the Islamic doctrine of Sharia law. They behead, cut off limbs, stone people to death and worse. Beware, there IS a holy war coming. The signs are everywhere if you care to look and listen.”
Klein has been waging his own holy war since 1977, when he founded Courageous Christians United (CCU), a group that conducts “respectful confrontations” outside of abortion clinics, Mormon temples and mosques.
In 2004, CCU’s anti-abortion efforts earned Klein the acclaim of the late Robert Ferguson, an anti-abortion extremist whose vocal support for the murderers of physicians, reproductive clinic workers, secretaries and escorts led the radical, pro-violence “Army of God” website to dub him a “Hero of the Faith.”
Klein now heads Concerned Citizens for the First Amendment, which has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The group recently partnered with the ironically named Christian Anti-Defamation Commission to leaflet California high schools with material depicting the prophet Mohammad as a sex-crazed pedophile.
When he’s not busy spreading fear and hate among America’s youth, Klein conducts outreach and encourages militancy among Christians from the Middle East and northern Africa.
He runs drills with the Christian Guardians, a San Francisco-based group headed by Andrew Saqib James, an American-born Pakistani Christian who calls Islam “a giant crime syndicate” and hopes his group will become “the most feared militia in the world.” The trainings, which allegedly take place at the Church at Kaweah’s sprawling central California compound, are described as a “unique system of learning how to survive the Muslim Brotherhood as we teach the Christian Morality of Biblical Warfare.”
Klein has also traveled to other states to urge religious-right activists to take a harder line against the supposed threats of Islam, abortion and liberalism. In March 2011, he met with militant pastors in Missouri and asked that they let military veterans in their congregations “do our job.”
Discussing the visit on the radical Christian-right Dutch Joens Show, Klein said, “I bellowed at the audience, ‘Pastors, why do we have to act like women? Why do we have to be castrated? … You have the jurisdiction to preach, but … us guys that have been in the military, we have the authority from God on high to protect you? Why won’t you let us do our job?”
Klein seems to want violence to break out – in America. Later, he bragged to Joens about how his anti-Muslim leafleting campaign had led to fights at a California high school.
“If the kids are willing to fight, that’s because they realize how dangerous Islam is,” he said. Referencing violence that broke about between abolitionists and pro-slavery forces in the decade before the Civil War, he continued, “I can see it … kind of like Bleeding Kansas. … It’s gonna heat up big time.”
On Wednesday, Klein told the Associated Press that he anticipated the film’s release would lead to violence. “We went into this knowing this was probably going to happen,” he said.
Later, speaking with the U.K.’s Daily Mail online, Klein said that he regrets the ambassador’s death, “but it’s not our fault. We didn’t want anybody to get killed but on the other hand the truth had to come out. … We told the truth and these people reacted the way that Mohammed wanted to them to react – by killing people.”
He continued, “Do I feel guilt? Yes, but not for me, I feel it for those that did this. Do I feel shame? Yes, but not for me. Killing this man fits in with their legal and ethical standpoint.”