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June 19, 2015

White Supremacists React To Charleston Tragedy With Anger, Vitriol


Dylann Storm Roof

As news spread of the tragic shooting rampage at the Emmanuel African Methodist Church in Charleston, South Carolina, America’s white supremacists reacted swiftly.  The killing spree left nine dead and a community in shock. The alleged shooter, Dylann Storm Roof, was arrested on June 18 and charged with nine counts of murder one day later.

Some white supremacists were, predictably, openly delighted by the massacre. On The Daily Stormer, a popular neo-Nazi web site, there was unabashed praise for Roof. “He had the balls to do what most white supremacists only talk big about,” commented Spartan 117 (punctuation and wording in comments reproduced here are as in the originals). “He is probably tired of all the race mixing propaganda, arrogant blacks, and tired of the negro getting pushed down his throat at every turn…. who cares what fate befalls the negros. We should have as much consideration for blacks as we do a fucking tapeworm latched onto to our gut. Face it, negros are an enemy people to us, we shouldn’t care what happens to these arrogant n—–s.”

Others cheered Roof because they believe his actions would hasten the destruction of American cities, seen by some white supremacists as ground zero for the diversity “problem.”  A poster identifying himself as John Sovereign wrote on the white supremacist discussion forum Vanguard News Network (VNN) that “the best thing that will come out of this is more ape rage and more cities destroyed…Good! Keep it up.”

Many posters on Stormfront, the most popular white supremacist Internet forum, fretted over the impact the shooting would have on the white supremacist cause, emphasizing the apparent lack of connection between Roof and organized racist groups. “I’ve heard of targeting ‘soft targets,’” wrote user Fiddler, “but this latest lone wolf nitwit picked a ‘mushy target.’Could he have possibly chosen more sympathetic victims?”

Generally, comments on Stormfront were more muted than at some other white supremacist venues, with a few Stormfronters even expressing disgust over the violence. This drew the ire of white supremacists on other forums, such as VNN.  “They are crying over the split blood of these ‘Christian’ N—–s over on Stormfront,” posted user EricPowers on  VNN. “Can’t believe so many people have sympathy on these N—–s just because their Christians. Like that some how makes them sympathetic.”

The real “victims” in this tragedy, according to some white supremacists, were the white supremacists themselves—and their 2nd Amendment rights. Right-wing extremists frequently cast violent acts in the news as conspiracies and “false flag” operations intended to falsely cast blame on the extreme right, possibly as an excuse for some sort of crackdown.  Roof, to many extremists, was just a pawn in a larger conspiracy–perhaps orchestrated by the Jews—to exacerbate racial tensions and deprive Americans of their guns. The true risk after a shooting like this, according to Daily Stormer poster Bennis Mardens, was that “the Jews” would respond by cracking down on gun ownership. “The kid is nuts,” Mardens wrote. “He’s not a ‘hero.’ He didn’t help our cause. Now the Jews will push for gun confiscation and more hate crimes legislation….Furthermore, not all black people hate white people. They ARE more tribal than we are, for sure, but their anger toward us is CAUSED by the Jew media and Jew academics.”

Brian Avran, a self-described National Socialist, raised the idea of “race war” in a June 18 Facebook post: “I smell a psyop/ government op. just like Sandy hook, Aurora and Columbine. This church shooting is what the media needs; a random act of white-on-black violence to push their hate whitey agenda, since an epidemic of black-on-white violence is happening every day, which goes unreported. ‘They’ want a race war. it might also be used as incentive for more gun control laws. “

“It didn’t take long for the media to begin the race baiting with the Dylann Roof shooting,” wrote Stormfront member “stuck on stupid.”  “This will be used to flame the fires of the on going race war. Please arm yourself and be prepared to defend your life at any moment.”

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March 23, 2015

New FBI Hate Crime Training Manual Published

This week the FBI published an updated hate crime training manual. The excellent new guide is the single most important, most inclusive hate crime training resource available for law enforcement officials

DOJ sealThis version of the Bureau’s Hate Crime Data Collection Guidelines and Training Manual  includes new definitions, training scenarios, and a special considerations section to help police officials effectively identify and report the new categories of crime mandated for collection for 2015 – including hate crimes directed at Arabs, Sikhs and Hindus. The first edition of the manual, published in early 2013, included guidance on how to define and identify gender and gender identity hate crimes, based on requirements set forth in the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act(HCPA).

The FBI has been track­ing and doc­u­ment­ing hate crimes reported from fed­eral, state, and local law enforce­ment offi­cials since 1991 under the Hate Crime Sta­tis­tics Act of 1990 (HCSA). The Bureau’s annual HCSA reports pro­vide the best sin­gle national snap­shot of bias-motivated crim­i­nal activ­ity in the United States. The Act has also proven to be a pow­er­ful mech­a­nism to con­front vio­lent big­otry, increas­ing pub­lic aware­ness of the prob­lem and spark­ing improve­ments in the local response of the crim­i­nal jus­tice sys­tem to hate vio­lence – since in order to effec­tively report hate crimes, police offi­cials must be trained to iden­tify and respond to them.

Although the newest data from the 2013 Hate Crime Statistics Act report showed hate crimes have been declining, the numbers are still disturbingly high.  The addition of anti-Arab, anti-Sikh, and anti-Hindu hate crimes for 2015 demonstrates the Bureau’s commitment to preventing and counteracting these crimes.  After the tragic murder of six Sikh worshippers in Oak Creek, Wisconsin in 2012, collecting data on Arab, Sikh, and Hindu victims of hate crimes became even more urgent. This updated FBI hate crime training manual is a crucial step in the work to address these crimes.

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February 13, 2015

A Tragic Murder, Hate Crimes, and the Need to Fight Stereotypes

The tragic murder of three Muslim students in Chapel Hill, North Carolina this week has stirred deep emotions.  While all of us should refrain from rushing to judgment about why they were attacked, we can certainly understand the powerful impact this horrific crime has had, not only on the Muslim community, but on Americans of good will.

Until the investigation is completed, the evidence analyzed, and the case presented, it is impossible to know whether or not this case meets the legal definition of a hate crime.  Such crimes require the prosecution to prove that the perpetrator targeted his victims because of their race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or other immutable characteristics.  A crime is not automatically a hate crime just because the victims are Muslims, or Jews, or blacks, or members of the LGBT community – or because the perpetrator and the victims are of different races or religious traditions.   The specific targeting because of their status is required.  And there is a reason for this – hate crimes are different precisely because they are not the result of greed, or road rage, parking lot arguments, or business disputes.  Rather, analogous to anti-discrimination laws, they are crimes which single people out simply because of who they are.


Un Trágico Asesinato, Crímenes de Odio y la Necesidad de Luchar Contra los Estereotipos

El trágico asesinato de tres estudiantes musulmanes en Chapel Hill, Carolina del Norte, esta semana ha provocado profundas emociones. Aunque todos debemos abstenernos de saltar a conclusiones sobre el por qué fueron atacados, ciertamente podemos entender el tremendo impacto que ha tenido este horrendo crimen, no sólo en la comunidad musulmana sino también en los estadounidenses de buena voluntad.

Hasta que se termine la investigación, se analicen las pruebas y se presente el caso, es imposible saber si este caso se ciñe a la definición legal de un crimen de odio. Dichos crímenes requieren que la Fiscalía pruebe que el agresor atacó a sus víctimas a causa de su raza, religión, origen étnico, orientación sexual u otras características inmutables. Un crimen no es automáticamente un crimen de odio solamente porque las víctimas sean musulmanes o judíos, negros o miembros de la comunidad LGBT –o porque el agresor y las víctimas sean de diferentes razas o tradiciones religiosas. Se requiere que la víctima sea escogida específicamente por su estatus. Y hay una razón para esto –los crímenes de odio son diferentes precisamente porque no son el resultado de la avaricia, ira en la carretera, argumentos en el estacionamiento o conflictos de negocios. Por el contrario, análogo a las leyes contra la discriminación, son crímenes que escogen a sus víctimas simplemente por ser quienes son.

Por supuesto, independientemente de si estos asesinatos resultan ser un crimen de odio, las preocupaciones expresadas en reacción a ellos por muchos de la comunidad musulmana son comprensibles. Los asesinatos refuerzan un sentido de vulnerabilidad y los estadounidenses de todas las creencias religiosas deben ser conscientes de ello, y ofrecer apoyo y consuelo a nuestros vecinos musulmanes.

Sabemos que la inmensa mayoría de los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos está consternada por ese pequeño porcentaje de extremistas musulmanes responsables por los actos de terror que los Estados Unidos vivió el 11 de septiembre de 2001 y que continúan planteando una grave amenaza para la seguridad y estabilidad en muchas partes del mundo. También sabemos que demasiados estadounidenses albergan estereotipos y están dispuestos a usar de chivo expiatorio a los musulmanes. En este contexto, es comprensible que los musulmanes estadounidenses estén ansiosos sobre el lugar que ocupan en la sociedad estadounidense y su seguridad física, particularmente a raíz de una tragedia como la de esta semana.

Los musulmanes estadounidenses tienen derecho a disfrutar de la seguridad y libertad que son el ideal americano. En el pasado, judíos, católicos y mormones (entre otros) también fueron vistos con desconfianza. Por tanto, todos debemos contribuir a arrojar luz por el distorsionado lente del miedo y la ignorancia, para ofrecer apoyo y amistad, y confiar en nuestros organismos policiales para que garanticen que se cumplen los intereses de la justicia.

Of course, regardless of whether or not these murders are ultimately shown to be a hate crime, the concerns expressed by many in the Muslim community in reaction to them are understandable.  The killings reinforce a sense of vulnerability, and Americans of all religious faiths need to be aware of that and to offer support and reassurance to our Muslim neighbors.

We know that the vast majority of Muslims in America are appalled by that small percentage of Muslim extremists responsible for the acts of terror to which America woke up on September 11, 2001 and which continue to pose a serious threat to both security and stability in many parts of the world.  We also know that too many Americans engage in stereotyping, and are willing to scapegoat Muslims.    In this environment, it is understandable that American Muslims are anxious about their place in American society and indeed about their physical safety, particularly in the aftermath of a tragedy like this week’s.

American Muslims are entitled to enjoy the security and freedom that is the American ideal.  In the past, Jews, Catholics, and Mormons (among others) were viewed with similar distrust.  We must therefore all do our part to shine a light through the distorting lens of fear and ignorance, to offer friendship and support, and to trust our law enforcement agencies to ensure that the interests of justice are served.

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