ACT for America the largest grassroots anti-Muslim organization in the country claiming 1,000 active chapters and over half a million members quietly deleted its chapter locator map this week.
The scrub comes after a chaotic couple of weeks for the organization, stemming from the firing of one of its most popular chapter leaders, Roy White.
White was fired for organizing a meeting to teach people to “shut down” mosques, which violate ACT’s policies. The fallout from this decision has been fervent. White is denying any wrongdoing, other ACT members and anti-Muslim activists are staunchly defending him, and attacking ACT founder Brigitte Gabriel for a number of things, including the inflation of the number of chapters ACT claims to have.
The online map was designed as a tool for activists to locate a chapter near them and an email to reach out and contact that chapter. The Southern Poverty Law Center scraped the map on ACT’s website in August of 2016 and found that ACT’s map actually contains far fewer than the 1,000 chapters it claims. In fact, the map contained fewer than 500 chapters.
In 2015, SPLC listed only ACT’s national chapter on our hate map but throughout 2016, we investigated ACT’s 1,000 chapter claim to see how many of these were in fact “active” – meaning engaging in some type of real world activity like hosting a meeting or representing the chapter in an interview for a newspaper or television. Fewer than 50 ACT chapters met that threshold.
SPLC also reached out to hundreds of ACT chapter leaders from chapters we couldn’t identify as being active and very few of them indicated that they were still, if ever, active in the real world.
Below is a map we created showing almost 500 chapters that were on ACT’s now-deleted map in August of 2016. It is split into two different filters; the ACT chapters that we found to be active, and the chapters that we did not find any evidence of real world activity: