The Southern Poverty Law Center has removed a town it accused of being the home of neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer from its “Hate Map.”
The center had listed Amana Colonies, Iowa, as the home of neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer, based on the fact that a group of affiliated individuals met at a restaurant there last year.
“The town had previously contested the claim, but the SPLC had stood by its marking the Amanas on the ‘hate map.’ Why? The organization claimed ‘it had confirmation that a group of individuals met sometime in September 2016 at a restaurant in the Amanas,'” reported PJ Media on Tuesday. “‘The First Iowa Stormer Bookclub was a success!’ a user with the screen name Concerned Troll posted in a September 26, 2016, thread. Concerned Troll did not provide specific details about the visit, but went on to suggest a subsequent meeting in Des Moines.”
“Local officials shot back, explaining that there are no such groups active in Iowa County. Amanas leaders denounced hate groups and their activities, saying none of their messages or activities are welcome in their town,” they continued. “They demanded that the SPLC remove their community from the ‘hate map.'”
In a statement to Iowa City’s Press-Citizen, David Rettig, the executive director of the Amana Colonies Convention and Visitors Bureau, declared, “We’re thrilled for them changing the map and correcting it to what it should be, and not having the Amanas as a hate group.”
The Daily Stormer was dropped from various internet services following the Charlottesville rally this month, and has since been forced to turn to the dark web, prompting criticism from digital rights groups such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, who warned that such censorship would just be the beginning.
Convicted domestic terrorist Floyd Lee Corkins II was inspired by the SPLC’s “hate map” to attempt a mass shooting at the Family Research Council (FRC), a conservative Christian organization in Washington, D.C., in 2012.
As previously reported, Corkins was inspired after he saw the location of the organization listed on the SPLC’s website, where it was listed as a “hate group.”
“Prosecutors revealed that Mr. Corkins had obtained our building location from the Southern Poverty Law Center’s website. He was clearly inspired by the [SPLC]’s labeling of FRC as a ‘hate group’ based on our belief that marriage can only take place between one man and one woman,” declared FRC President Tony Perkins. “His goal and that of the SPLC is to silence those with whom they disagree.”
Following the attack, the SPLC refused to acknowledge responsibility for the attack, and the organization is still listed on their website.
James T. Hodgkinson, who targeted Republicans at a baseball game in June, resulting in the hospitalization of Steve Scalise, was also a fan of the SPLC.
British Muslim reformer Maajid Nawaz is currently suing the SPLC after they listed him as an anti-Muslim extremist.
Nawaz, a Muslim, and Ayyan Hirsi Ali, a feminist scholar and former Muslim, were both listed alongside groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis for their criticism of aspects of Islam.
Despite this, the SPLC, who allegedly cheated tax laws and were dropped by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as a hate crime resource in 2014, have received a large amount of support this year, with Apple CEO Tim Cook pledging $1 million to the organization earlier this month.