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

Meet Steve Klein, the Hate Group Leader Who ‘Consulted’ on ‘The Innocence of Muslims’

By Leah Nelson on September 12, 2012 - 4:38 pm, Posted in Anti-Muslim, Christian Right, Extremist Propaganda, Intelligence Report, Militias

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.”

  • Ed

    I always find it funny when people show their ignorance in violence and hate and claim to be of what ever religion. Any one who has really studied religion knows that for the most part they all preach the same things love peace, and fuzzy things. But If you only look for the hate that is exactly what you find. All these wars, verbal and physical between multiple religions that all derive from the bible. Very sad that in their hate they ignore the very god they proclaim to love and follow.

  • CM

    Well Edward, it’s clear that you’ve never actually read the Quran, because if you had, you’d know that you’re citing selective, out-of-context, distorted quotations.

    For example, your hyped-up all-caps citation of 8:12 is “I WILL CAST TERROR INTO THE HEARTS OF THOSE WHO DISBELIEVE IN iSLAM. THEREFORE STRIKE OFF THEIR HEADS AND STRIKE OFF EVERY FINGERTIP OF THEM.”

    That verse actually reads: “When your Lord revealed to the angels: I am with you, therefore make firm those who believe. I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them.”

    Um, where’s the reference to “Islam?” Apparently, some Christian fanatic inserted it before sharing this passage with you, in much the same way that crazy anti-Semites used to make up stuff about infant-sacrifice that they claimed the Talmud contained. What Muhammad (or Allah) is railing against here is disbelief in God. I suspect you’d probably agree with the underlying sentiment.

    Then there’s your citation of 8:39: “AND FIGHT WITH THEM UNTIL THERE IS NO MORE UNBELIEF IN iSLAM.”

    Um, except that what the Quran actually says is this: “And fight with them until there is no more persecution and religion should be only for Allah; but if they desist, then surely Allah sees what they do.”

    Again, either you’re misrepresenting the text or you’re blindly following someone else who’s making these misrepresentations. If you have to tell lies to make your case, your case isn’t worth making.

  • thesneakyemu

    @ Erika- Well said.

  • Dick Baumgartner

    When freedom of speech becomes the intentional spreading of mass hate we need to find new ways to nail and jail morons like Terry Jones, Sam Bacile and the other scum .

    Take a look at Baciles criminal background….christian my ass !

    Unfortunately most people dont get . They just blame those who protest this abuse but have’nt a clue why…probably ” Fox News Twisted Views ” listeners and “Mush Lamebrain” dittoheads dummies !

    Makes me sick to my stomach….sicker yet that they will probably not be punished for this film

  • Reynardine

    It’s okay, Kiwi. I already gave Homberg his Silver Shuttle award, and I expect his brain will stay lost in space anywat.

  • Erika

    Edward, picking random verses out of context proves nothing. And if you’ve ever actually read your Bible, you’d know that Christians probably shouldn’t engage in that sort of thing because there are all sorts of extremely violent passages in The Bible which are very much within context. You know, go to the Babylonian cities and slaughter all the men, enslave all of women (btw, this pretty clearly “justifies” mass rape and forcing women to become harlots and concubines) and the children, slaughter all of the first born Egyptians and drown the Egyptian Army in the Red Sea, God sending plagues to punish and help, and all of those gory prophesies from the Old Testament and Revolations. That sort of thing.

    Not to mention the fact that The Bible calls for execution by stoning or burning to death for all sorts of things including mixing types of cloth, eating shellfish, being a disobedient child, or being a rape victim. Yes, if you want to see a “take everything in The Bible literally” person squirm and than parse, spin, and invent things out of thin air point out the verses regarding rape. The Bible very clearly says to execute a woman for the sin of being forcibly raped, yet they will invent things to try to deny it.

    The fact is that if you Christian Right morons ever actually read The Bible you would be calling for libraries to ban it because it has so much violence and sex in it. So you people who are so busy trying to save children from the threats of Mighty Mouse, the Teletubbies, Spongebob Squarepants, Dr Seuss, old Looney Tunes cartoons, and The Muppets are actually trying to force all children in public schools to have to read what is in fact one of the most violent and bloodiest books ever written – The Bible.

    The fact that you would make such a ludicrous argument simply proves that you have no idea what you are talking about. No Christian who has actually read The Bible would dare make comparisions between their book and another one. Any intelligent person should also realize that Islam, Christianity, and Judaism are all based upon a common foundation. In fact, it is likely that many of the most violent passages in the Quoran had their origins in the Old Testament. Obviously you hadn’t read the Quoran – or were even somewhat familiar with the beliefs of Islam – because if you had, you’d know that the only difference between Islam and Christianity is that in Islam Jesus Christ is merely a great prophet and teacher (considered likely the second greatest within Islam) and not the son of God. The only difference between Islam and Judaism is that Islam rejects the concept of a Messiah (obviously the only difference between Christians and Jews is that Christian believe that Jesus Christ was the Messiah and Jews believe that the Messiah is still coming). Other than that, the religions are very similar in what they believe. In fact, the Quoran actually tells its followers (unlike The Bible) specifically to respect other people’s faiths especially the Jewish and Christian faiths. Moslems who actually understand their religion understands that it was designed to build upon existing faiths – many observant Moslems actually know more about Christian beliefs than most Christians if for no other reason that they have actually read The Bible and studied the life of Jesus Christ (who as noted, is one of the top prophets and teachers in Islam).

    Yes, Islam like Christianity is an evangelical religion (that means their followers are supposed to try to convert others to them), but both religions actually call for their followers to convert others through reason and kindness. Not by the sword.

    Its not the religion which is the problem, its the “followers” who use religion for their own purposes to justify slaughters or hatred. It doesn’t matter which of the Abrahamic religions you are talking about – they all have plenty of blood on their hands. Ironic given that the actual beliefs of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are actualy extremely similar and Jesus Christ taught peace. Is it really worth killing someone over whether they believe that Jesus was merely a great prophet and teacher or a great teacher and the actual Son of God? Obviously not.

    When you get down to the root cause problem of the fighting between religions it ultimately comes down to land – that was the case when the Ancient Isrealis were battling the Ancient Babylonians and its still the case today. People have been fighting over land and profit since the beginning of recorded history even in many cases where people believed in the same religion. There is no religious conflict between Christianity and Islam (or between Judaism and Islam) – it is a conflict over land and oil money. Its not a conflict over God, its a conflict over Mammon.

    Besides being very stupid you are also very naive. The people pushing this “Islam is violent” line are just trying to justify an act of naked aggression to grab oil from the Middle East. Or simply to sell their guns and bombs to people around the world.

  • CoralSea

    Toolcat –

    Drinking and jumping through fire doesn’t make you anything more than someone who drinks and jumps through fire — or if your coordination is off, it may make you a (literally) flaming drunk. Go away. Pagans may be tolerant, and notoriously bad a showing up on time, but we aren’t idiots.

    Edward Homberg –

    While past accomplishments and sacrifices are deserving of praise and respect, they also make the descent into craziness and evil even more poignant. Mr. Klein, as he is now, appears to be a potentially violent man with a lot of strident and bizarre views. This is a shame.

    As for your quoting the Quran, I don’t know enough about it to know if your quotes are accurate. I do know that the Christian bible (parts of which are also common to Jews and Muslims) has some real doozies in terms of violent quotes — and the vast majority of Christians wandering around aren’t stoning anyone. Nor are the vast majority of Muslims — especially those who are not living under the duress of religious fanatics (like the Taliban).

    As a Pagan, I don’t care what scriptures say. We don’t really have scriptures ourselves. If those who participate in organized religion take comfort in them, fine. I also don’t care that much about historical misdeeds, which are bloody and practically beyond count. They were bad, but they are over (although some grievances may remain to be settled, preferably without bloodshed). What I and most of the people I know care about is finding a way to live morally and ethically and helping others who so desire to do the same. As soon as one engages in the whole, “Well, THEY do it!” whining, you are no longer trying to change anything — you are just acting like a spoiled brat.

  • Kiwiwriter

    Edward Homberg:

    Military service makes you an honorable hero. It does not necessarily make you an oracle or always right.

    George Lincoln Rockwell, Richard Miles, and Edwin Walker, all three nutters (the first one being the head of the American Nazi Party) all served in the US military with distinction in WW2.

    And the Bible is full of hate, wrath, and destruction, too. Read the Book of Revelations.

  • Edward Homberg

    What about the Truth ? Does ANYONE Care about the TRUTH ? They Call MR Klein a Hate Monger , Does Anyone know about his Military Service in Vietnam ? His Metals won for Bravery ? What he Gave up to Serve His Country ? What his sons gave up to also serve ? Their Injuries ? That Family has Lost BLOOD From Their own Bodies Because They LOVE AMERICA ! Have you ever read the qURAN ? Here is a Brief preview ” I WILL CAST TERROR INTO THE HEARTS OF THOSE WHO DISBELIEVE IN iSLAM . THEREFORE STRIKE OFF THEIR HEADS AND STRIKE OFF EVERY FINGERTIP OF THEM ” qURAN 8 :12
    ” AND FIGHT WITH THEM UNTIL THERE IS NO MORE UNBELIEF IN iSLAM ” qURAN 8:39
    ” FIGHT THEM , aLLAH WILL PUNISH THEM BY YOUR HANDS AND BRING THEM TO DISGRACE ” qURAN 9:14
    ” FIGHT THOSE WHO DO NOT BELIEVE IN aLLAH ” qURAN 9:29
    Sadly The qURAN IS FULL OF HATE ! Not Those who are BRAVE ENOUGH TO TELL US THE TRUTH !

    ” AM I NO LONGER YOUR FRIEND BECAUSE I SPEAK THE TRUTH ” GALATIANS 4:16 THE BIBLE NO HATE FOUND !

  • toolcat

    Hey all. greetings! So many interesting points. I dig the Pagan stuff you mentioned.Seems you’ve all[mostly] done your homework. I like to drink and jump through fire.[isn't that pagan?] Could any of you consider the possibility that there will always be war and fighting? Perhaps it’s a condition of mankind, maybe even necessary. One thing I can guarantee you is, I can make you less violent.I’ve done it before, and I’ll most likely do it again. Heh,heh,heh. Well, good day to all of you

  • aadila

    “Tantrum much?”

    The return on this conversation just headed south.

  • Joy B.

    ~Religion~: Anyone who believes in God.

    God so loved the WORLD that he gave his only begotten son, so that none shall perish but have ever lasting life. I’m quoting this just by memory from reading the Christian Bible, but I know all religions value Love, Family and Life.
    Why can’t the world get this Godly message through their heads if you assess you are Godly. Even the Golden Rule would be the least of these beliefs.
    Just stop hating people, is that even possible? Religion, Media/Tech and Politics are ruining the world. It’s a sorry, sorry day that we can’t look past surfaces and realize we are all equal in the eyes of God. Good is good and Bad will always be bad no matter your feelings. And do know that judgement will someday come, so as the song says come on people you got to love one another right now.

  • CoralSea

    Teresa — Thanks for your comments. I know — I have to hide my religion from my family because there are family members who would genuinely do me physical harm.

    I assume that you are acquainted with Circle Sanctuary and Circle Network News? Every issue they have blurbs on how Pagans are hassled and/or persecuted under the heading of the Lady Liberty League. Selena Fox has done a lot of good work, helping people who being pounded on by bigots (and sometimes the government) retain their rights to worship as they wish.

    I agree with you 100 percent on the Native, indigenous religions. They develop to help people live with each other and their environment. The problem emerges when you get one group that tries to force its ideas on all of the others.

    Stay strong, and Bright Blessings!