Archive for the ‘Southern Poverty Law Center’ Category

Split Verdict in Michigan Twitter Hate-Stalking Case – Southern Poverty Law Center

While a jury in Grand Rapids, Michigan, determined there wasnt proof beyond a reasonable doubt to convict David Joseph Lenio of aggravated stalking and use of a computer to commit a crime, the panel did convict him of malicious use of telecommunication services, a misdemeanor.

Lenio, 30, who has been in jail sincelate February in Grand Rapids, was released on his own recognizance, but the judge banned him from using a phone or the Internet until sentencing in August.

Lenio did not testify in his own defense during the three-day trial.

He was accused of stalking and using a computer to threaten and engage in willful repeated or continuous harassment of Jonathan Hutson, a Maryland anti-gun violence advocate whose Twitter-sleuthing led to Lenios arrest when Leniowas briefly living in Kalispell, Montana, in 2015.

At that time, Flathead County, Montana prosecutors charged Lenio with two felony charges of intimidation and malicious intimidation for making online threats of violence. A search of his apartment in Kalispell turned up a handgun and two rifles a bolt action and a semi-automatic.

Lenio, a former high school cross-country athlete, used his Twitter account to say he wanted to execute 30 or more grade school children — to exceed the number killed at Sandy Hook in December 2012.

He also posted tweets about shooting up a synagogue, boasting that he wanted to put two bullets in the head of a rabbi or Jewish leader. He additionally posted comments about going on a killing rampage until cops take me out.

David Joseph Lenio was convicted of one misdemeanor and found not guilty of two felonies related to online threats made against children and Jews. (AP Images/Flathead Beacon, Greg Lindstrom)

But the Montana prosecutors suddenly dropped the twin felony charges just days before the 2015 trial under a deferred prosecution deal that the charges against Lenio would be dropped in 2018 if he broke no laws, including contact with Hutson.

However, after returning to his hometown in Michigan, Lenio early this year again used Twitter this time to terrorize, frighten, intimidate and harass Hutson in violation of the Montana court order.

During the Michigan trial thatended Wednesday, there was a point of confusion between the prosecution and defense whether Lenio violated the Montana delayed prosecution agreement, according to the news site Michigan Live.

Hutson told Hatewatch he hopes, as a crime victim, that he will be able to address the court at Lenios sentencing hearing.

My primary concern remains that David Lenio should receive the mental healthcare he needs and deserves at his own expense, Hutson said.

He also said he will urge the court to place Lenio on probation for two years, during which time he would be banned from social media, not contact any witnesses, and not own or possess guns.

I hope he will turn his life around, Hutson said. He needs intervention and support to do that.

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Split Verdict in Michigan Twitter Hate-Stalking Case – Southern Poverty Law Center

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NGO financial monitor GuideStar may resume using Southern … – Fox News

The worlds largest financial monitor of nonprofits finances, which began applying a left-wing organizations hate group label to some conservative nonprofits but stopped after a backlash, may soon resume the controversial practice.

Earlier this month GuideStar, which monitors the finances of more than 1.6 million NGOs and nonprofits, began adding the Southern Poverty Law Centers (SPLC) hate group labels to more than 40 nonprofits.

But after an outcry last week from 41 people, most affiliated with conservative groups, who signed and publicly released aletter blasting GuideStarfor using the SPLCs labels, the group pulled the labels. But the group implied it was open to reverting back to using the designation after it studies the issue.

They said the SPLC classifications are biased against conservative groups and that — solely because of views that SPLC deems as opposite of theirs — many peaceful organizations were inaccurately lumped with ones that actually promote violence.

If they’re going to use something from a highly ideological group like the SPLC, GuideStar should also ask conservative groups to draw up [hate-group] lists.

They assert that SPLC turns a blind eye to nearly all leftist groups that have been linked to hate-fueling activities and violence, and has no warning labels about them. They are concerned that as the most influential source for information about charities, GuideStars use of a list that targets only groups that lean conservative and that are peaceful could end up costing them donations.

Its a vicious way to smear people by lumping them in with genuinely nasty groups, said Scott Walter, president of Capital Research Center, a conservative think tank that monitors nonprofits. I prefer that they not use anybodys list. But at the barest minimum, if theyre going to use something from a highly ideological group like the SPLC, GuideStar should also ask conservative groups to draw up [hate-group] lists.

On Monday, GuideStar saidthat after the many complaints it received about the SPLCs list and approach for labeling a group as one that encourages hate, it was temporarily suspending the annotations. It also cited threats against its employees as a reason for taking down links to SPLC.

It is a growing concern in the nonprofit community that there are some groups who use a nonprofit designation to advance hateful agendas, GuideStar said in a statement to Fox News. Weve begun to engage the community in a conversation to figure out how we can best go about the process of identifying organizations that use the nonprofit form for this reason. Through these conversations, we hope to find a productive means to serve all the people who use GuideStar Nonprofit Profiles as a valuable resource for reviewing nonprofits missions, operations, goals, and results.

Asked what the next step is and when it will happen, GuideStar said: The timing of the next series of changes is dependent on the outcome of our conversations with the nonprofit community.

SPLC, meanwhile, downplayed the move by GuideStar in a statement to Fox News.

At a time when hate groups increasingly present a mainstream veneer, the public deserves such information.

At a time when hate groups increasingly present a mainstream veneer, the public deserves such information, the organization said. We respect that GuideStar is reassessinghowto make that information available.

Some Christian groups complained that they were pegged as hate groups by SPLC because they oppose same-sex marriage. They argued that it wrong to lump them in the same category as, for instance, the Ku Klux Klan and skinheads.

The Washington Post notedthat SPLC flags 52 organizations as anti-LGBT, among them churches and nonprofit Christian ministries.

SPLC points out that some of the groups support criminalization of gay sex and actively are working against bathroom bills that would ban transgender people from using public restrooms in accordance with their gender identities.

Those views, conservatives say, do not rise to the level of “hate group” or violence.

“The ‘hate-group’ list is nothing more than a political weapon targeting people it deems to be its political enemies,” said the letter sent to GuideStar. “The list is ad hoc, partisan, and agenda-driven.”

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NGO financial monitor GuideStar may resume using Southern … – Fox News

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The Southern Poverty Law Center Bears False Witness – First Things

For years, the Southern Poverty Law Center has enjoyed respect and deference in American political culture, with its list of hate groups frequently invoked as authoritative. All people of good faith, on the right and the left, should lament these facts. The SPLCs hyper-partisanship is bad enough. Far worse is its dilution of the word hate to denote any worldview that is not in step with a specific kind of ideological orthodoxy. The good news? People are beginning to notice.

Maajid Nawaz has noticed. Nawaz, a British Muslim activist who spent his teens and early twenties professing radical Islamist ideology before reforming, intends to sue the SPLC for defamation of character. The organization recently branded Nawaz an anti-Muslim extremist, for reasons that even sympathetic media outlets have found puzzling. By all appearances, Nawaz is a serious political thinker whose ideas have found cross-partisan support in the United Kingdom.

Why does the SPLC conclude that Nawaz is a hateful bigot? Its explanation is incoherent and petty, even by SPLC standards. The SPLC includes in its incriminatory In Their Own Words section the following notation: According to a Jan. 24, 2014, report in The Guardian, Nawaz tweeted out a cartoon of Jesus and Muhammaddespite the fact that many Muslims see it as blasphemous to draw Muhammad. He said that he wanted to carve out a space to be heard without constantly fearing the blasphemy charge. This is a truly bizarre indictment. As The Atlantics David Graham observes, the SPLC appears to be taking a theological position on the issue of cartoons and blasphemy, and then condemning Nawaz as a bigot based on his opposition to that position.

The SPLCs willingness to designate itself an arbiter of correct Islamic theology would be amusing if it werent so destructive.

Discussing his lawsuit during a recent appearance on Real Time with Bill Maher, Nawaz posed a question to defenders of the SPLC. Citing the SPLCs longstanding opposition to (and besmirching of) conservative Christian groups, Nawaz asked, They arrogate to themselves the right to criticize their own Bible Belt. But they dont want me to criticize my belt, within my own community? Its this hypocrisy that is the soft bigotry of low expectations.

Nawaz is right to point out the hypocrisy, though one wishes hed extend this line of reasoning farther. If the SPLC sees no contradiction between its blackballing of Christianity and its blackballing of Nawaz, could that be because the Center is not, in fact, interested in flagging real hatred?

Of course, the duplicity of the SPLC comes as no surprise to social conservatives. The SPLC has long designated the Family Research Council, founded by James Dobson, as an anti-LGBT hate group. Whether one agrees or disagrees with the theology and policy proposals of the FRC is irrelevant. Far more urgent is the need for supporters of the hate group designation to explain how such a pronouncement doesnt immediately apply to thousands of traditional Christian, Jewish, and Muslim organizations, and many millions of religious believers, who take conservative positions on sex and marriage.

The answer, of course, is that it does apply to those millions of believers. Can we really be shocked, then, when such sweeping denunciations trigger political violence? Floyd Lee Corkins, who walked into the FRC front lobby in 2012 with a pistol and fifty rounds of ammunition, told police that he had found the FRC listed on the SPLCs website. And as Nawaz remarked to Maher, Muslim intellectuals who are labeled haters by the SPLC are frequently targeted and sometimes assassinated. Though we should always distinguish clearly between those who use rhetoric and those who use violence, a connection between word and deed in specific instances is inarguable. And it would not be tolerated by the SPLCs supporters, if anyone other than the SPLC were doing the labeling.

The Southern Poverty Law Centers philological gerrymandering has been far too influential for far too long. Liberals and conservatives who want more for the public square than echo chambers and outrage factories should hope that Maajid Nawaz wins his lawsuit, and that the SPLC learns a costly lesson about bearing false witness.

Samuel D. Jamesis associate acquisitions editor for Crossway Books and blogs atMere Orthodoxy.

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The Southern Poverty Law Center Bears False Witness – First Things

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Anti-Radical-Muslim Activist Group Labeled a ‘Hate Group’ by Southern Poverty Law Center – National Review

Maajid Nawaz runs Quilliam, a London-based organization that aims to counter jihadism and extremism around the world. Nawaz, who considers himself a former Muslim radical (and still identifies as Muslim), is now fighting back against the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which has labeled his organization a hate group for its strong stance against radicalism. For the record, the SPLC also put Ayaan Hirsi Ali on their list.

Nawaz has filed a lawsuit against SPLC and many are left wondering how Quilliam could have received such a label in the first place. He has admitted he feels like there already is a target on his head from certain people in the Muslim community.

Nawaz appeared on Real Time with Bill Maher on Friday to explain the controversy and point out how well-meaning liberals are often way off the mark when it comes to their criticism. He calls it the bigotry of low expectations, saying that liberals fight for causes like gay rights and womens rights in America but refuse to allow people like him to fight for those issues within their own communities. Some liberals commonly ignore the fact that gays are often murdered by being thrown off of buildings or that countries such as Pakistan support spousal abuse.

Maher pointed out that most Muslims are not extremists, but there are many who are. Nawaz said that London police have said they need to be monitoring 23,000 jihadists in London in order to adequately prevent more terrorist attacks. The problem? They only have the capacity to monitor 3,000 and thats in London alone. Nawaz then points out there are even more ideological Muslims who wont attack, but would support the attacks. The numbers are staggering.

Its a scary shame that leftist extremists arent willing to take Nawaz or Hirsi Ali seriously. Just recently, Hirsi Ali and another anti-extremist, Asra Nomani, testified before the Senate. Nomani told Fox News that Democratic female senators refused to even look her in the eye when she addressed them about the abuse happening to women at the hands of Muslim extremists. Watch:

Just as we are invisible to the mullahs at the mosque, we were invisible to the Democratic women in the Senate, the two women wrote in a New York Times op-ed following the hearing, in which they were asked no questions. When it comes to the pay gap, abortion access and workplace discrimination, progressives have much to say. But were still waiting for a march against honor killings, child marriages, polygamy, sex slavery or female genital mutilation.

When will progressives join Nawaz, Hirsi Ali, and Nomani in their fight to against Islamic radicalism destroying lives around the globe?

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Anti-Radical-Muslim Activist Group Labeled a ‘Hate Group’ by Southern Poverty Law Center – National Review

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Hatewatch Headlines 6/27/2017 – Southern Poverty Law Center

Right Wing Watch: Supreme Court to hear wedding-cake case brought by anti-LGBT hate group ADF.

Reveal News: Trio of domestic-terrorism cases sheds stark light on the systematic skew favoring right-wing extremists.

Miami New Times (FL): White nationalists storm South Florida racial-justice seminar, horrify participants.

Interlochen Public Radio (MI): Kalkaska protesters argue about hate and freedom of speech in response to FB posts.

Raw Story: Trumps racist fans turn on each other over their so pathetic competing weekend rallies.

Huffington Post: Eric Trumps new haircut reminds Twitter of a certain white nationalist.

Mother Jones: Trumps crackdown on immigration is terrible news for anyone who eats food.

Media Matters: Trump ally Michael Savage compares refugees and immigrants to lions tearing entrails out the anus.

Talking Points Memo: Pepe the Frogs creator announces plans to resurrect cartoon figure hijacked by the alt-right.

Chicagoist: Tensions flare after Chicago Dyke March demands Star Of David Pride flag carriers leave rally.

Salon: Maryland councilman Peroutka attacked for his apparent connections to white-supremacist League of the South.

AlterNet: Journalist Patrice ONeill wins Danny award for her dogged work organizing against hate crime.

Washington Post: Some white Star Trek fans are up in arms over the latest entrys ethnic diversity.

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Hatewatch Headlines 6/27/2017 – Southern Poverty Law Center

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Former Islamist Suing SPLC After Being Labeled ‘Extremist’ for … – Fox News Insider

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A former Islamic extremist is suing the Southern Poverty Law Center for defamation after they accused him of being a fame-seeker by exposing his past experiences with terror groups.

The SPLC named Maajid Nawaz an “anti-Muslim extremist,” saying his story is riddled with holes and has been dismissed by fellow jihadists, Trace Gallagher reported.

The SPLC famously brought lawsuits against the Ku Klux Klan many years ago, but Nawaz said they have transformed into a left-wing political organization.

Nawaz said he and his Quilliam Foundation expose and critique modern Islamic extremism and try to fight the phenomenon as moderate Muslims.

He said it was ironic that they criticized him because he was once a liberal democrat on a political ticket in London.

“They are ideologically driven to silence any voice that introspects from within the Muslim community,” Nawaz said.

Nawaz said the SPLC went as far as to temporarily name HUD Secretary Ben Carson to their list of extremists.

He said the SPLC is “more interested in point-scoring against the right wing” and was historically a “great organization” when it fought the KKK.

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After conservative backlash, charity tracker GuideStar removes ‘hate … – Washington Post

Earlier this month, GuideStar, the worlds largest sourcefor information about charities, added a new feature to its website: warning labels flagging would-be donors to nearly four dozen nonprofits accused of spreading hate.

The outcry was immediate and most vehement from conservative groups, including Christians who said theyd been targeted as hateful for opposing same-sex marriage.

The complaints prompted GuideStar to reverse its course. The company said its removing the labels for the time being beginning Monday, in part because of concerns raised about their objectivity but also because of the threats against employees.

Dismayingly, a significant amount of the feedback weve received in recent days has shifted from constructive criticism to harassment and threats directed at our staff and leadership, said a statement posted to GuideStars website on Friday. With this development in mind driven by both our commitment to objectivity and our concerns for our staffs wellbeing, the labels are being removed.

The hate group designations used by GuideStar came fromtheSouthern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit watchdog organization that tracks such groups, which it says includesthe Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and white nationalists.The hate group banners used on GuideStars website linked to the law centers website, according to the Associated Press.

The SPLC lists 52 anti-LGBT organizations on its website, including several churches and nonprofit Christian ministries, such as the Alliance Defending Freedom, which it says has supported the criminalization of gay sex and currently is working to enact so-called bathroom bills around the country to prevent trans people from using public restrooms in accordance with their gender identities.

These groups are not listed on the basis of opposition to same-sex marriage or the belief that the Bible describes homosexual activity as sinful, the SPLCswebsite said.

But some conservativeorganizationscomplained that the centers lumping them together with violent racist groups wasnt based on objective research but on a political agenda. GuideStars usage of the centers designation, they said, undermined the websites policy of neutrality.

One may or may not like the legal advocacy of the Alliance Defending Freedom, but theyre not a bunch of hooded-sheet Klanners burning crosses,wrote Mark Kellnerfor the conservative-leaning Get Religion website, which focuses focused onreligion coverage in the news media.

GuideStar announced its decision to remove the labels last week, two days after being sent a complaint letter signed by 41 people, largely representing conservative organizations, including Pamela Geller of the American Freedom Defense Initiative, whom the Southern Poverty Law Center describes as one of Americas most notorious Islamophobes, and Tim Wildmon of the American Family Association, a group the SPLC says is staunchly anti-LGBT.

The hate group list is nothing more than a political weapon targeting people it deems to be its political enemies, the letter said. The list is ad hoc, partisan, and agenda-driven.

The letter called the SPLC a progressive political organization that had gained credibility attacking Klansmen, neo-Nazis, and skinheads many of who were engaged in violence. But now, the letter stated, the center had expanded its tactics into debates about immigration and sexual-identity politics.

The letter alsoclaimed the SPLChas been linked to gunmen who carried out two terrorist shootings in the D.C. area, including a 2012 shooting at theFamily Research Council and the recent shooting of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise at a baseball fieldin Alexandria.

In the first instance, the gunman said that he targeted Family Research Council after seeing it was listed as anti-gay on Southern Poverty Law Centers website. In the second instance, the letter simply stated the gunman liked the SPLCs Facebook page.

The letter complained that the SPLCcontinued to list Scalise on its website. A 2014 posting on the centers website says Scalise gave a speech to a well-known group of white supremacists and neo-Nazis years ago in his home state of Louisiana. Scalise said he wasnt aware of the groups views, a claim with which the SPLC took issue.

Conservative media outlets seized upon GuideStars warning labels and the organizations decision to remove them. A headline in the Daily Signal, a news platform for the conservative Heritage Foundation, blared: Nonprofit tracker smears dozens of conservative organizations as hate groups.’ Breitbart News reported: Institutional Left Loses Again: Nonprofit Tracker Withdraws Inaccurate Leftist-Driven Labels Hurting Conservative Groups.

For its part, GuideStar said in itsstatementthat designating hate groups is more complicated than it had realized when it first starting using the labels.

In the weeks and months since, we have heard from both supporters and critics of this decision, many of whom have presented reasonable disagreements with the way in which this information was presented. We are always open and willing to have conversations with our users and nonprofit groups and welcomed this feedback. We acknowledge there is a deep, nuanced conversation to be had with Americans of all political, cultural, and religious backgrounds regarding how we address and identify hate groups.

GuideStarsaid it will continue to make the hate groups information available on request.

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Weekend Read: A war of words – Southern Poverty Law Center

Earlier this week, he testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary about the obligation of universities to uphold not only the First Amendment rights of controversial speakers but to speak out against speech that threatens our democratic values.

Auburn University struggled with that balance when Richard Spencer, a white nationalist who popularized the term alt-right, was scheduled to speak in April only 50 miles from our office in Montgomery, Alabama.

The university first issued a statement deploring Spencers views. It later canceled his appearance. The university lost the court case over the cancellation, enabling a man whose views are inimical to our founding principles to parade around as a First Amendment hero, as Cohen said in his oral testimony.

This Sunday, Spencer is again speaking publicly, this time at the Lincoln Memorial. No one should be fooled into thinking this is a free speech movement, as Cohen writes in The Daily Beast:

The Lincoln Memorial, the scene of some of the most riveting andconsequential moments in the history of our country’s civil rights movement, will on Sunday be the site of a decidedly different sort of event.

The white nationalists who will hold a rally there will not be striving to form a more perfect Union, as was Abraham Lincoln, but rather to break it apart.

They will not be demolishing racial barriers, as was Marian Anderson when she sang to thousands in 1939, but rather erecting them.

They will not be dreaming about ending racism, as was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. when he spoke in 1963, but rather defending it.

It seems almost sacrilegious that white nationalists will be using the Lincoln Memorial as a backdrop for what they are billing as a Freedom of Speech Rally.

But it reflects something deeply disturbing thats happening in America: the growth of a white nationalist movement that has been energized and emboldened by the xenophobic campaign of Donald Trump.

No one should be fooled into thinking this is a free speech movement. Thats a mantle being claimed by bigots whose ultimate and, of course, impossible goal is the creation of a white ethnostate. The irony is inescapable. In such as state, people of different races, ethnicities or religions if allowed to live there at all would surely be denied the kind of rights, like free speech, that our democracy guarantees to all.

Among the featured speakers is Richard Spencer, an openly racist figure who last Novembercelebrated the outcome of the presidential election by quoting Nazi propaganda in German during a gathering just blocks from the White House. When some in the audience responded with sieg heils, he rewarded them with the words, Hail Trump! Hail our people! Hail victory!

In his first college speech after that rally,Spencer told his audience that America belongs to white men. We own it. He has previously called for peaceful ethnic cleansing, whatever that is.Commenting on immigration in 2014, he wrote that unless dramatic action is taken, the grandchildren of white people in America will live in a country that is alien and hostile.

Now, Spencer is returning to Washington. This time, because of recent demonstrations against him and other alt-right figures on college campuses, he is parading around as some kind of First Amendment martyr.

Another headliner for this Sundays rally is Nathan Damigo, the leader of a group called Identity Evropa that has made aconcerted effort in recent months to recruit young people on college campuses. To become a member, one must be of European, non-Semitic heritage. In a recentinterview with Mother Jones, Damigo said he had become racialized while serving a four-year prison sentence for robbing an Arab cab driver at gunpoint. It was in an Oklahoma prison where he started down his current path by reading the former Klan leader David Dukes autobiography.

Damigos star within the radical right has been rising since a video of him punching a young woman at a rally at Berkeley went viral in April. In the Mother Jones interview, he acknowledged that violence might be necessary to create the ethnostate he so fervently desires.

Spencer, Damigo and their ilk certainly have a right to speak. Its a testament to the power of the First Amendment that they and their allies will be standing on some of our nations most hallowed ground a place that celebrates our commitment to equality to promote their profoundly undemocratic, un-American views.

But the majority of Americans who are revolted by their racist ideology must also speak. We must fight speech that threatens our democratic values with speech that upholds them.

Unfortunately, we have heard far too little from the one pulpit that could make the most difference the White House.

President Trump has only tepidly denounced the racists and bigots who were so inspired and encouraged by his campaign. More importantly, he has done nothing to acknowledge that his own words during the campaign fanned the flames of division.

The president must do more. He should start by venturing to the Lincoln Memorial himself and reading aloud Lincolns affirmation of Americas most fundamental principle the proposition that all men are created equal.

As always, thank you for reading.

The Editors

P.S. Here are some other pieces we think are valuable this week:

SPLC’s Weekend Reads are a weekly summary of the most important reporting and commentary from around the country on civil rights, economic and racial inequity, and hate and extremism. Sign up to receive Weekend Reads every Saturday morning.

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Weekend Read: A war of words – Southern Poverty Law Center

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Hatewatch Headlines 6/26/2017 – Southern Poverty Law Center

San Francisco Chronicle: Trump administration slashes grants for number of groups combating white extremism.

Think Progress: Anti-Semitism monitoring office will reportedly be abandoned in July.

Mother Jones: White people keep finding new ways to segregate schools in collection of towns.

Right Wing Watch: Pence tells Focus on the Family it has an unwavering ally in Trump.

Raw Story: Alt-rights competing free speech rallies in D.C. draw less than 100 marchers combined.

BuzzFeed: Far-right activists are stealing tricks from YouTubers, and its going to get people hurt.

Huffington Post: Google search is doing irreparable harm to Muslims by spreading hate and falsehoods readily.

Salon: Islamophobia only helps our enemies it does nothing to stop extremist violence.

Newsweek: How the fight over Confederate monuments is affecting Southern politics.

Miami New Times (FL): Hollywood police defend cop who took selfie hugging pro-Confederate street sign protesters.

Media Matters: Fringe media target new Minneapolis hate-crime hotline as imposing Sharia and fascism.

Oregonian: Lake Oswego detective says he was tailed, called a racial slur by neighbor in tony suburb.

Victoria Advocate (Texas): Man accused of arson in mosque blaze is charged with a hate crime.

Texas Freedom Network: Steve Hotzes Conservative Republicans of Texas has become a cesspool of extremism and hate.

Washington Post: Six Nazi spies were executed in D.C. in 1942, and white supremacists gave them a memorial.

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Split Verdict in Michigan Twitter Hate-Stalking Case – Southern Poverty Law Center

While a jury in Grand Rapids, Michigan, determined there wasnt proof beyond a reasonable doubt to convict David Joseph Lenio of aggravated stalking and use of a computer to commit a crime, the panel did convict him of malicious use of telecommunication services, a misdemeanor. Lenio, 30, who has been in jail sincelate February in Grand Rapids, was released on his own recognizance, but the judge banned him from using a phone or the Internet until sentencing in August. Lenio did not testify in his own defense during the three-day trial. He was accused of stalking and using a computer to threaten and engage in willful repeated or continuous harassment of Jonathan Hutson, a Maryland anti-gun violence advocate whose Twitter-sleuthing led to Lenios arrest when Leniowas briefly living in Kalispell, Montana, in 2015. At that time, Flathead County, Montana prosecutors charged Lenio with two felony charges of intimidation and malicious intimidation for making online threats of violence. A search of his apartment in Kalispell turned up a handgun and two rifles a bolt action and a semi-automatic. Lenio, a former high school cross-country athlete, used his Twitter account to say he wanted to execute 30 or more grade school children — to exceed the number killed at Sandy Hook in December 2012. He also posted tweets about shooting up a synagogue, boasting that he wanted to put two bullets in the head of a rabbi or Jewish leader. He additionally posted comments about going on a killing rampage until cops take me out. David Joseph Lenio was convicted of one misdemeanor and found not guilty of two felonies related to online threats made against children and Jews. (AP Images/Flathead Beacon, Greg Lindstrom) But the Montana prosecutors suddenly dropped the twin felony charges just days before the 2015 trial under a deferred prosecution deal that the charges against Lenio would be dropped in 2018 if he broke no laws, including contact with Hutson. However, after returning to his hometown in Michigan, Lenio early this year again used Twitter this time to terrorize, frighten, intimidate and harass Hutson in violation of the Montana court order. During the Michigan trial thatended Wednesday, there was a point of confusion between the prosecution and defense whether Lenio violated the Montana delayed prosecution agreement, according to the news site Michigan Live. Hutson told Hatewatch he hopes, as a crime victim, that he will be able to address the court at Lenios sentencing hearing. My primary concern remains that David Lenio should receive the mental healthcare he needs and deserves at his own expense, Hutson said. He also said he will urge the court to place Lenio on probation for two years, during which time he would be banned from social media, not contact any witnesses, and not own or possess guns. I hope he will turn his life around, Hutson said. He needs intervention and support to do that.

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NGO financial monitor GuideStar may resume using Southern … – Fox News

The worlds largest financial monitor of nonprofits finances, which began applying a left-wing organizations hate group label to some conservative nonprofits but stopped after a backlash, may soon resume the controversial practice. Earlier this month GuideStar, which monitors the finances of more than 1.6 million NGOs and nonprofits, began adding the Southern Poverty Law Centers (SPLC) hate group labels to more than 40 nonprofits. But after an outcry last week from 41 people, most affiliated with conservative groups, who signed and publicly released aletter blasting GuideStarfor using the SPLCs labels, the group pulled the labels. But the group implied it was open to reverting back to using the designation after it studies the issue. They said the SPLC classifications are biased against conservative groups and that — solely because of views that SPLC deems as opposite of theirs — many peaceful organizations were inaccurately lumped with ones that actually promote violence. If they’re going to use something from a highly ideological group like the SPLC, GuideStar should also ask conservative groups to draw up [hate-group] lists. They assert that SPLC turns a blind eye to nearly all leftist groups that have been linked to hate-fueling activities and violence, and has no warning labels about them. They are concerned that as the most influential source for information about charities, GuideStars use of a list that targets only groups that lean conservative and that are peaceful could end up costing them donations. Its a vicious way to smear people by lumping them in with genuinely nasty groups, said Scott Walter, president of Capital Research Center, a conservative think tank that monitors nonprofits. I prefer that they not use anybodys list. But at the barest minimum, if theyre going to use something from a highly ideological group like the SPLC, GuideStar should also ask conservative groups to draw up [hate-group] lists. On Monday, GuideStar saidthat after the many complaints it received about the SPLCs list and approach for labeling a group as one that encourages hate, it was temporarily suspending the annotations. It also cited threats against its employees as a reason for taking down links to SPLC. It is a growing concern in the nonprofit community that there are some groups who use a nonprofit designation to advance hateful agendas, GuideStar said in a statement to Fox News. Weve begun to engage the community in a conversation to figure out how we can best go about the process of identifying organizations that use the nonprofit form for this reason. Through these conversations, we hope to find a productive means to serve all the people who use GuideStar Nonprofit Profiles as a valuable resource for reviewing nonprofits missions, operations, goals, and results. Asked what the next step is and when it will happen, GuideStar said: The timing of the next series of changes is dependent on the outcome of our conversations with the nonprofit community. SPLC, meanwhile, downplayed the move by GuideStar in a statement to Fox News. At a time when hate groups increasingly present a mainstream veneer, the public deserves such information. At a time when hate groups increasingly present a mainstream veneer, the public deserves such information, the organization said. We respect that GuideStar is reassessinghowto make that information available. Some Christian groups complained that they were pegged as hate groups by SPLC because they oppose same-sex marriage. They argued that it wrong to lump them in the same category as, for instance, the Ku Klux Klan and skinheads. The Washington Post notedthat SPLC flags 52 organizations as anti-LGBT, among them churches and nonprofit Christian ministries. SPLC points out that some of the groups support criminalization of gay sex and actively are working against bathroom bills that would ban transgender people from using public restrooms in accordance with their gender identities. Those views, conservatives say, do not rise to the level of “hate group” or violence. “The ‘hate-group’ list is nothing more than a political weapon targeting people it deems to be its political enemies,” said the letter sent to GuideStar. “The list is ad hoc, partisan, and agenda-driven.”

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June 28, 2017   Posted in: Southern Poverty Law Center  Comments Closed

The Southern Poverty Law Center Bears False Witness – First Things

For years, the Southern Poverty Law Center has enjoyed respect and deference in American political culture, with its list of hate groups frequently invoked as authoritative. All people of good faith, on the right and the left, should lament these facts. The SPLCs hyper-partisanship is bad enough. Far worse is its dilution of the word hate to denote any worldview that is not in step with a specific kind of ideological orthodoxy. The good news? People are beginning to notice. Maajid Nawaz has noticed. Nawaz, a British Muslim activist who spent his teens and early twenties professing radical Islamist ideology before reforming, intends to sue the SPLC for defamation of character. The organization recently branded Nawaz an anti-Muslim extremist, for reasons that even sympathetic media outlets have found puzzling. By all appearances, Nawaz is a serious political thinker whose ideas have found cross-partisan support in the United Kingdom. Why does the SPLC conclude that Nawaz is a hateful bigot? Its explanation is incoherent and petty, even by SPLC standards. The SPLC includes in its incriminatory In Their Own Words section the following notation: According to a Jan. 24, 2014, report in The Guardian, Nawaz tweeted out a cartoon of Jesus and Muhammaddespite the fact that many Muslims see it as blasphemous to draw Muhammad. He said that he wanted to carve out a space to be heard without constantly fearing the blasphemy charge. This is a truly bizarre indictment. As The Atlantics David Graham observes, the SPLC appears to be taking a theological position on the issue of cartoons and blasphemy, and then condemning Nawaz as a bigot based on his opposition to that position. The SPLCs willingness to designate itself an arbiter of correct Islamic theology would be amusing if it werent so destructive. Discussing his lawsuit during a recent appearance on Real Time with Bill Maher, Nawaz posed a question to defenders of the SPLC. Citing the SPLCs longstanding opposition to (and besmirching of) conservative Christian groups, Nawaz asked, They arrogate to themselves the right to criticize their own Bible Belt. But they dont want me to criticize my belt, within my own community? Its this hypocrisy that is the soft bigotry of low expectations. Nawaz is right to point out the hypocrisy, though one wishes hed extend this line of reasoning farther. If the SPLC sees no contradiction between its blackballing of Christianity and its blackballing of Nawaz, could that be because the Center is not, in fact, interested in flagging real hatred? Of course, the duplicity of the SPLC comes as no surprise to social conservatives. The SPLC has long designated the Family Research Council, founded by James Dobson, as an anti-LGBT hate group. Whether one agrees or disagrees with the theology and policy proposals of the FRC is irrelevant. Far more urgent is the need for supporters of the hate group designation to explain how such a pronouncement doesnt immediately apply to thousands of traditional Christian, Jewish, and Muslim organizations, and many millions of religious believers, who take conservative positions on sex and marriage. The answer, of course, is that it does apply to those millions of believers. Can we really be shocked, then, when such sweeping denunciations trigger political violence? Floyd Lee Corkins, who walked into the FRC front lobby in 2012 with a pistol and fifty rounds of ammunition, told police that he had found the FRC listed on the SPLCs website. And as Nawaz remarked to Maher, Muslim intellectuals who are labeled haters by the SPLC are frequently targeted and sometimes assassinated. Though we should always distinguish clearly between those who use rhetoric and those who use violence, a connection between word and deed in specific instances is inarguable. And it would not be tolerated by the SPLCs supporters, if anyone other than the SPLC were doing the labeling. The Southern Poverty Law Centers philological gerrymandering has been far too influential for far too long. Liberals and conservatives who want more for the public square than echo chambers and outrage factories should hope that Maajid Nawaz wins his lawsuit, and that the SPLC learns a costly lesson about bearing false witness. Samuel D. Jamesis associate acquisitions editor for Crossway Books and blogs atMere Orthodoxy. Become a fan ofFirst ThingsonFacebook,subscribe toFirst ThingsviaRSS, and followFirst ThingsonTwitter.

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June 28, 2017   Posted in: Southern Poverty Law Center  Comments Closed

Anti-Radical-Muslim Activist Group Labeled a ‘Hate Group’ by Southern Poverty Law Center – National Review

Maajid Nawaz runs Quilliam, a London-based organization that aims to counter jihadism and extremism around the world. Nawaz, who considers himself a former Muslim radical (and still identifies as Muslim), is now fighting back against the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which has labeled his organization a hate group for its strong stance against radicalism. For the record, the SPLC also put Ayaan Hirsi Ali on their list. Nawaz has filed a lawsuit against SPLC and many are left wondering how Quilliam could have received such a label in the first place. He has admitted he feels like there already is a target on his head from certain people in the Muslim community. Nawaz appeared on Real Time with Bill Maher on Friday to explain the controversy and point out how well-meaning liberals are often way off the mark when it comes to their criticism. He calls it the bigotry of low expectations, saying that liberals fight for causes like gay rights and womens rights in America but refuse to allow people like him to fight for those issues within their own communities. Some liberals commonly ignore the fact that gays are often murdered by being thrown off of buildings or that countries such as Pakistan support spousal abuse. Maher pointed out that most Muslims are not extremists, but there are many who are. Nawaz said that London police have said they need to be monitoring 23,000 jihadists in London in order to adequately prevent more terrorist attacks. The problem? They only have the capacity to monitor 3,000 and thats in London alone. Nawaz then points out there are even more ideological Muslims who wont attack, but would support the attacks. The numbers are staggering. Its a scary shame that leftist extremists arent willing to take Nawaz or Hirsi Ali seriously. Just recently, Hirsi Ali and another anti-extremist, Asra Nomani, testified before the Senate. Nomani told Fox News that Democratic female senators refused to even look her in the eye when she addressed them about the abuse happening to women at the hands of Muslim extremists. Watch: Just as we are invisible to the mullahs at the mosque, we were invisible to the Democratic women in the Senate, the two women wrote in a New York Times op-ed following the hearing, in which they were asked no questions. When it comes to the pay gap, abortion access and workplace discrimination, progressives have much to say. But were still waiting for a march against honor killings, child marriages, polygamy, sex slavery or female genital mutilation. When will progressives join Nawaz, Hirsi Ali, and Nomani in their fight to against Islamic radicalism destroying lives around the globe?

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June 27, 2017   Posted in: Southern Poverty Law Center  Comments Closed

Hatewatch Headlines 6/27/2017 – Southern Poverty Law Center

Right Wing Watch: Supreme Court to hear wedding-cake case brought by anti-LGBT hate group ADF. Reveal News: Trio of domestic-terrorism cases sheds stark light on the systematic skew favoring right-wing extremists. Miami New Times (FL): White nationalists storm South Florida racial-justice seminar, horrify participants. Interlochen Public Radio (MI): Kalkaska protesters argue about hate and freedom of speech in response to FB posts. Raw Story: Trumps racist fans turn on each other over their so pathetic competing weekend rallies. Huffington Post: Eric Trumps new haircut reminds Twitter of a certain white nationalist. Mother Jones: Trumps crackdown on immigration is terrible news for anyone who eats food. Media Matters: Trump ally Michael Savage compares refugees and immigrants to lions tearing entrails out the anus. Talking Points Memo: Pepe the Frogs creator announces plans to resurrect cartoon figure hijacked by the alt-right. Chicagoist: Tensions flare after Chicago Dyke March demands Star Of David Pride flag carriers leave rally. Salon: Maryland councilman Peroutka attacked for his apparent connections to white-supremacist League of the South. AlterNet: Journalist Patrice ONeill wins Danny award for her dogged work organizing against hate crime. Washington Post: Some white Star Trek fans are up in arms over the latest entrys ethnic diversity.

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June 27, 2017   Posted in: Southern Poverty Law Center  Comments Closed

Former Islamist Suing SPLC After Being Labeled ‘Extremist’ for … – Fox News Insider

Sanders Deflects FOX Question on FBI Probe, Gives Health Care Criticism Instead WATCH: Trump, Indian PM Modi Share Hug at WH Presser A former Islamic extremist is suing the Southern Poverty Law Center for defamation after they accused him of being a fame-seeker by exposing his past experiences with terror groups. The SPLC named Maajid Nawaz an “anti-Muslim extremist,” saying his story is riddled with holes and has been dismissed by fellow jihadists, Trace Gallagher reported. The SPLC famously brought lawsuits against the Ku Klux Klan many years ago, but Nawaz said they have transformed into a left-wing political organization. Nawaz said he and his Quilliam Foundation expose and critique modern Islamic extremism and try to fight the phenomenon as moderate Muslims. He said it was ironic that they criticized him because he was once a liberal democrat on a political ticket in London. “They are ideologically driven to silence any voice that introspects from within the Muslim community,” Nawaz said. Nawaz said the SPLC went as far as to temporarily name HUD Secretary Ben Carson to their list of extremists. He said the SPLC is “more interested in point-scoring against the right wing” and was historically a “great organization” when it fought the KKK. Watch the clip above. HI Dem: Gorsuch, Clarence Thomas, Sam Alito ‘The 3 Horsemen of the Apocalypse’ LISTEN: CNN’s Acosta Confronts Spicer Over Off-Camera Briefing

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After conservative backlash, charity tracker GuideStar removes ‘hate … – Washington Post

Earlier this month, GuideStar, the worlds largest sourcefor information about charities, added a new feature to its website: warning labels flagging would-be donors to nearly four dozen nonprofits accused of spreading hate. The outcry was immediate and most vehement from conservative groups, including Christians who said theyd been targeted as hateful for opposing same-sex marriage. The complaints prompted GuideStar to reverse its course. The company said its removing the labels for the time being beginning Monday, in part because of concerns raised about their objectivity but also because of the threats against employees. Dismayingly, a significant amount of the feedback weve received in recent days has shifted from constructive criticism to harassment and threats directed at our staff and leadership, said a statement posted to GuideStars website on Friday. With this development in mind driven by both our commitment to objectivity and our concerns for our staffs wellbeing, the labels are being removed. The hate group designations used by GuideStar came fromtheSouthern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit watchdog organization that tracks such groups, which it says includesthe Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis and white nationalists.The hate group banners used on GuideStars website linked to the law centers website, according to the Associated Press. The SPLC lists 52 anti-LGBT organizations on its website, including several churches and nonprofit Christian ministries, such as the Alliance Defending Freedom, which it says has supported the criminalization of gay sex and currently is working to enact so-called bathroom bills around the country to prevent trans people from using public restrooms in accordance with their gender identities. These groups are not listed on the basis of opposition to same-sex marriage or the belief that the Bible describes homosexual activity as sinful, the SPLCswebsite said. But some conservativeorganizationscomplained that the centers lumping them together with violent racist groups wasnt based on objective research but on a political agenda. GuideStars usage of the centers designation, they said, undermined the websites policy of neutrality. One may or may not like the legal advocacy of the Alliance Defending Freedom, but theyre not a bunch of hooded-sheet Klanners burning crosses,wrote Mark Kellnerfor the conservative-leaning Get Religion website, which focuses focused onreligion coverage in the news media. GuideStar announced its decision to remove the labels last week, two days after being sent a complaint letter signed by 41 people, largely representing conservative organizations, including Pamela Geller of the American Freedom Defense Initiative, whom the Southern Poverty Law Center describes as one of Americas most notorious Islamophobes, and Tim Wildmon of the American Family Association, a group the SPLC says is staunchly anti-LGBT. The hate group list is nothing more than a political weapon targeting people it deems to be its political enemies, the letter said. The list is ad hoc, partisan, and agenda-driven. The letter called the SPLC a progressive political organization that had gained credibility attacking Klansmen, neo-Nazis, and skinheads many of who were engaged in violence. But now, the letter stated, the center had expanded its tactics into debates about immigration and sexual-identity politics. The letter alsoclaimed the SPLChas been linked to gunmen who carried out two terrorist shootings in the D.C. area, including a 2012 shooting at theFamily Research Council and the recent shooting of House Majority Whip Steve Scalise at a baseball fieldin Alexandria. In the first instance, the gunman said that he targeted Family Research Council after seeing it was listed as anti-gay on Southern Poverty Law Centers website. In the second instance, the letter simply stated the gunman liked the SPLCs Facebook page. The letter complained that the SPLCcontinued to list Scalise on its website. A 2014 posting on the centers website says Scalise gave a speech to a well-known group of white supremacists and neo-Nazis years ago in his home state of Louisiana. Scalise said he wasnt aware of the groups views, a claim with which the SPLC took issue. Conservative media outlets seized upon GuideStars warning labels and the organizations decision to remove them. A headline in the Daily Signal, a news platform for the conservative Heritage Foundation, blared: Nonprofit tracker smears dozens of conservative organizations as hate groups.’ Breitbart News reported: Institutional Left Loses Again: Nonprofit Tracker Withdraws Inaccurate Leftist-Driven Labels Hurting Conservative Groups. For its part, GuideStar said in itsstatementthat designating hate groups is more complicated than it had realized when it first starting using the labels. In the weeks and months since, we have heard from both supporters and critics of this decision, many of whom have presented reasonable disagreements with the way in which this information was presented. We are always open and willing to have conversations with our users and nonprofit groups and welcomed this feedback. We acknowledge there is a deep, nuanced conversation to be had with Americans of all political, cultural, and religious backgrounds regarding how we address and identify hate groups. GuideStarsaid it will continue to make the hate groups information available on request. More from Morning Mix Professor who said clueless white male Otto Warmbier got what he deserved wont be rehired Audiences of Broadways graphic portrayal of 1984 faint and vomit Professor fired after defending blacks-only event to Fox News. I was publicly lynched, she says.

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June 27, 2017   Posted in: Southern Poverty Law Center  Comments Closed

Weekend Read: A war of words – Southern Poverty Law Center

Earlier this week, he testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary about the obligation of universities to uphold not only the First Amendment rights of controversial speakers but to speak out against speech that threatens our democratic values. Auburn University struggled with that balance when Richard Spencer, a white nationalist who popularized the term alt-right, was scheduled to speak in April only 50 miles from our office in Montgomery, Alabama. The university first issued a statement deploring Spencers views. It later canceled his appearance. The university lost the court case over the cancellation, enabling a man whose views are inimical to our founding principles to parade around as a First Amendment hero, as Cohen said in his oral testimony. This Sunday, Spencer is again speaking publicly, this time at the Lincoln Memorial. No one should be fooled into thinking this is a free speech movement, as Cohen writes in The Daily Beast: The Lincoln Memorial, the scene of some of the most riveting andconsequential moments in the history of our country’s civil rights movement, will on Sunday be the site of a decidedly different sort of event. The white nationalists who will hold a rally there will not be striving to form a more perfect Union, as was Abraham Lincoln, but rather to break it apart. They will not be demolishing racial barriers, as was Marian Anderson when she sang to thousands in 1939, but rather erecting them. They will not be dreaming about ending racism, as was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. when he spoke in 1963, but rather defending it. It seems almost sacrilegious that white nationalists will be using the Lincoln Memorial as a backdrop for what they are billing as a Freedom of Speech Rally. But it reflects something deeply disturbing thats happening in America: the growth of a white nationalist movement that has been energized and emboldened by the xenophobic campaign of Donald Trump. No one should be fooled into thinking this is a free speech movement. Thats a mantle being claimed by bigots whose ultimate and, of course, impossible goal is the creation of a white ethnostate. The irony is inescapable. In such as state, people of different races, ethnicities or religions if allowed to live there at all would surely be denied the kind of rights, like free speech, that our democracy guarantees to all. Among the featured speakers is Richard Spencer, an openly racist figure who last Novembercelebrated the outcome of the presidential election by quoting Nazi propaganda in German during a gathering just blocks from the White House. When some in the audience responded with sieg heils, he rewarded them with the words, Hail Trump! Hail our people! Hail victory! In his first college speech after that rally,Spencer told his audience that America belongs to white men. We own it. He has previously called for peaceful ethnic cleansing, whatever that is.Commenting on immigration in 2014, he wrote that unless dramatic action is taken, the grandchildren of white people in America will live in a country that is alien and hostile. Now, Spencer is returning to Washington. This time, because of recent demonstrations against him and other alt-right figures on college campuses, he is parading around as some kind of First Amendment martyr. Another headliner for this Sundays rally is Nathan Damigo, the leader of a group called Identity Evropa that has made aconcerted effort in recent months to recruit young people on college campuses. To become a member, one must be of European, non-Semitic heritage. In a recentinterview with Mother Jones, Damigo said he had become racialized while serving a four-year prison sentence for robbing an Arab cab driver at gunpoint. It was in an Oklahoma prison where he started down his current path by reading the former Klan leader David Dukes autobiography. Damigos star within the radical right has been rising since a video of him punching a young woman at a rally at Berkeley went viral in April. In the Mother Jones interview, he acknowledged that violence might be necessary to create the ethnostate he so fervently desires. Spencer, Damigo and their ilk certainly have a right to speak. Its a testament to the power of the First Amendment that they and their allies will be standing on some of our nations most hallowed ground a place that celebrates our commitment to equality to promote their profoundly undemocratic, un-American views. But the majority of Americans who are revolted by their racist ideology must also speak. We must fight speech that threatens our democratic values with speech that upholds them. Unfortunately, we have heard far too little from the one pulpit that could make the most difference the White House. President Trump has only tepidly denounced the racists and bigots who were so inspired and encouraged by his campaign. More importantly, he has done nothing to acknowledge that his own words during the campaign fanned the flames of division. The president must do more. He should start by venturing to the Lincoln Memorial himself and reading aloud Lincolns affirmation of Americas most fundamental principle the proposition that all men are created equal. As always, thank you for reading. The Editors P.S. Here are some other pieces we think are valuable this week: SPLC’s Weekend Reads are a weekly summary of the most important reporting and commentary from around the country on civil rights, economic and racial inequity, and hate and extremism. Sign up to receive Weekend Reads every Saturday morning.

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Hatewatch Headlines 6/26/2017 – Southern Poverty Law Center

San Francisco Chronicle: Trump administration slashes grants for number of groups combating white extremism. Think Progress: Anti-Semitism monitoring office will reportedly be abandoned in July. Mother Jones: White people keep finding new ways to segregate schools in collection of towns. Right Wing Watch: Pence tells Focus on the Family it has an unwavering ally in Trump. Raw Story: Alt-rights competing free speech rallies in D.C. draw less than 100 marchers combined. BuzzFeed: Far-right activists are stealing tricks from YouTubers, and its going to get people hurt. Huffington Post: Google search is doing irreparable harm to Muslims by spreading hate and falsehoods readily. Salon: Islamophobia only helps our enemies it does nothing to stop extremist violence. Newsweek: How the fight over Confederate monuments is affecting Southern politics. Miami New Times (FL): Hollywood police defend cop who took selfie hugging pro-Confederate street sign protesters. Media Matters: Fringe media target new Minneapolis hate-crime hotline as imposing Sharia and fascism. Oregonian: Lake Oswego detective says he was tailed, called a racial slur by neighbor in tony suburb. Victoria Advocate (Texas): Man accused of arson in mosque blaze is charged with a hate crime. Texas Freedom Network: Steve Hotzes Conservative Republicans of Texas has become a cesspool of extremism and hate. Washington Post: Six Nazi spies were executed in D.C. in 1942, and white supremacists gave them a memorial.

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