The Southern Poverty Law Center maintains a database of organizations it designates as “hate groups.” To make the list, your group must “have beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.”
The SPLC identifies 1,007 active hate groups, and you’d probably think that places like Alabama, Arkansas and South Carolina would have far more such organizations than Pennsylvania, right? Nope. According to the SPLC, Pennsylvania boasts 35 active hate groups while those southern states have 30, 23 and 21, respectively.
I reached out to some of the Philadelphia-area organizations on the list to see how they feel about being called hate groups.
SPLC Designation: Radical Traditional Catholicism
Background: Through its website, this Delaware County-based publishing house sells CDs and videos on topics ranging from 9/11-debunking to the rise of the Antichrist. But what gets founder John Maffei (pictured) in trouble with the SPLC is his devotion to the teachings of Father John O’Connor, an anti-Semite and Holocaust denier. The SPLC describes Catholic Counterpoint’s offerings as “the most extreme radical traditionalist materials.”
Response: “Most of it comes from what people don’t want to discuss about the power that Jews have in our government,” Maffei says of his inclusion on the SPLC list. “When it comes to Hitler and the Holocaust, you cannot discuss it, or they will put you in jail.” He also wants you to know that he’s not a racist: “I come from a beautiful neighborhood in Philadelphia. An Italian neighborhood in South Philadelphia. It’s completely destroyed. But I’m not a racist. I just remember how it used to be.”
SPLC Designation: General Hate
Background: This “anti-Semitic” group is based in Washington D.C. but has a presence here as well as in California, where it was founded in the 1990s by Imam Abdul Alim Musa (pictured), born Clarence Reams. During the early part of his life, Musa wound up in Leavenworth on drug charges. The Anti-Defamation League says that As-Sabiqun is an “anti-Semitic Muslim group that advocates for a global Islamic state,” naturally under Sharia law. Musa is banned from entering the United Kingdom.
Response: “One of my best friends is a rabbi!” Musa was quick to point out when I spoke with him. “But there’s a difference between Jews and Zionists. We believe that the Zionists stole Palestine and put people on reservations, just like the European settlers did to Indians. But that belief is not hatred. It’s a political, social and historical position.”
Musa also points out that flying in a plane these days is still a stressful experience for a man like himself: “I can’t make any friends on a plane at all. When I press the button for the flight attendant, they come over all scared. ‘Uh, uh, yes sir? Is, uh, everything OK?’ And I can’t get up and walk around or people get very nervous.”
The Creativity Alliance
Background: The Creativity Alliance is a legally recognized “religion for white people.” According to the organization’s website, “We promote White Civil Rights, White Self-Determination, and White Liberation via 100% legal activism. We do not promote, tolerate nor incite illegal activity.” Members are known as Creators, although detractors have referred to them as Creatards. A Philadelphia chapter was active as early as 2010.
Response: “Despite claims to the contrary, the Creativity Alliance … is not a hate-group,” church leader Reverend Cailen Cambeul emailed me. “We are a religious group centered around a common love for our own people – White people. And indeed, there are many other groups – particularly non White groups who believe as we do concerning their own people.”
“However, because of their legally protected standing in the community deriving from their so-called minority status, it is not considered politically correct to call them a hate group. In fact, to refer to such groups as ‘hate-groups’ is itself often treated as sufficient reason for persecution via the well ingrained system of institutional anti-White racism, i.e. hate-crime laws.”
“True hate-groups like the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center choose to define themselves based on who and what it is they hate… Any claims that the Southern Poverty Law Center and people of that ilk are promoting tolerance and understanding is undermined by their hatred for people who simply are not like them.”
Aryan Terror Brigade
SPLC Designation: Racist Skinhead
Background: ATB founder Josh Steever, who has listed Stockton, New Jersey as his address, is one of those scary looking dudes with the word “RACIST” tattooed on his face. He also somehow managed to marry Patrick Swayze’s niece, although that didn’t last long. Steever was recently arrested for making terroristic threats (it’s not his first time in jail), but the hateful group–with chapters in more than a dozen states, according to the SPLC–hates on.
Response: “The SPLC is a Cultural Marxist hate group that slanders and attacks any pro-American, European ethnocentric, or anti-cultural Marxist group,” wrote an unnamed member of Aryan Terror Brigade New Jersey in an email to me. “The SPLC promotes ‘virtues’ and policies that history has shown does in fact destroy nations. Homosexuality, miscegenation, open boarders [sic], diversity, etc.”
“To be put on ‘Hatewatch’ is as rather easy. A person or group simply has to be against their country going down the Marxist toilet, questions your government, or owns firearms… Tolerance is a virtue of men who no longer believe in anything. Tolerance is only found in men and women devoid of all virtues, courage, and beliefs. They believe in nothing.”
Keystone State Racist Skinheads
SPLC Designation: Racist Skinhead
Background: “Defending our heritage since 2001,” claims their blog. The SPLC says that Keystone “is one of the largest and most active single-state racist skinhead crews in the country. While its members attempt to project a mediagenic image of being part of a new breed of more sophisticated and less spasmodically violent skins, the truth is that the group’s members have been convicted of a string of remarkably violent attacks dating back to at least 1998, ranging from bar brawls to murder.” Here, Keystone member and Northeast Philadelphia resident Keith Carney is seen at Geno’s Steaks.
Response: An anonymous Keystoner wrote in an email to me: “We are a Pennsylvania state organization devoted to educating, advancing and defending European-American culture, rights and heritage.”
Elsewhere, they’ve had this to say: “We wish to break the stereotypes of skinheads being alcoholic thugs and violent drug-addicted criminals… By offering education and guidance, we intend to mobilize our youth for change and create an atmosphere capable of weeding out the superficial and outdated reactionary elements so that we may continue to move forward.”