Profiles of 20 Nativist Leaders
No one has ever accused Vito Vaccaro of being subtle. At a Ground Zero rally in New York City in April 2007, the goateed 25-year old took to the podium and announced that all Muslims living in America, regardless of their immigration status or citizenship, should be immediately forced to leave the country. Vaccaro also advocates denying Muslims First Amendment protections, removing Islam from the city of New York's list of recognized religions, and affixing a symbol to any government-issued identification card issued to any Muslim living in the United States, even citizens. No Muslims of any kind are allowed to join Vaccaro's group, The Loyalist Party Against Islamic Hate.
"Terrorism is not a misinterpretation of Islam. It is Islam," Vaccaro said at a press conference held in Bayside, N.Y., in December. According to the Loyalist website: "[Vaccaro] is the only politician who openly declares the obvious fact that Islam is, in and of itself, an intolerant and hateful philosophy."
Aside from its fringe views on Islam, much of the Loyalist Party's platform echoes mainstream anti-immigration movement positions: No amnesty or driver's licenses for illegal immigrants; funding for legal immigrants to learn English and American history; strong support for private gun ownership. But its overtly exclusionary anti-Muslim policies make it arguably the most extreme of all the nativist organizations in the country.
In an entry titled "Hope for America or America's BNP [British Nationalist Party]?" Rob Taylor at Red Alerts, a far-right website that monitors Islamic extremism, described his reaction to the Loyalist Party after meeting some of its members. "Like the BNP," Taylor wrote, "the Loyalists are hampered from getting their message out because their rhetoric not only borrows from White nationalism, but attracts a White Nationalist contingent."
Loyalist Party co-founder Brian Nordval said in a recent Internet radio interview that while his organization's ideology may be out of step with mainstream America for now, "I want you to think about the future, 15, 20 years from now. You turn on the TV and you see that mushroom cloud over D.C. or New York. … [J]ust then a light bulb will go off, 'Wait, I remember this fringe party, the Loyalists, warned us about this.'"