Tallahassee residents may be surprised to find that a hate group calls their backyard home. Nonetheless, the Southern Poverty Law Center has recognized at least one in the city.
The Nation of Islam is nearly invisible around the community. As Black Separatists, their beliefs include black superiority over whites and the prohibition of intermarriage and race mixing. They also hold anti-Catholic, anti-gay and anti-Semitic views, according ideologies expressed by to the Nation of Islam.
Neither Tallahassee’s chapter of the Nation of Islam nor the national headquarters could be reached for comment.
Representatives at the Southern Poverty Law Center were also unable to disclose further information regarding their registry of hate groups or the exact location of Tallahassee’s sect of the Nation of Islam.
According to SPLC’s website, the list, “was compiled using hate group publications and websites, citizen and law enforcement reports, field sources and news reports.”
David McCranie, 13-year spokesman for Tallahassee Police Department, was unaware that the SPLC recognized Tallahassee’s Nation of Islam as a hate group.
Although McCranie was unaware of the registered hate group, he said there have not been many recent reports of hate crimes.
“Here, we don’t have many problems. I almost want to say it’s rare that we have a known issue that’s public,” said McCranie. “Most of the violence seen here in Tallahassee is drug related, gang violence, or domestic related.”
Crimes that occur in Tallahassee usually involve a relationship between the victim and perpetrator. Typically a hate crime occurs between two strangers who didn’t know each other before, according to McCranie.
Florida Statue 887.19 defines a hate crime as a criminal act against a person or property in which the perpetrator chooses the victim because of the victim’s real or perceived race, religion, national origin, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability or gender.
Ben Tyson, a resident in Blair Stone Apartments was appalled upon hearing about a hate group in his “backyard.”
“That makes me really uncomfortable,” said Tyson.
“I had no idea but I’m offended.”
According to the Florida Commission of Human Relations, in 2008 Florida ranked 3rd among all states with hate groups at 56.
Malory Stone, a 20-year-old Tallahassee resident was avid in her disgust for the Nation of Islam’s practices.
“That’s awful. I really do not know how to react to that, ” said Stone.
The Nation of Islam’s Leader, 77-year-old Louis Farrakahn has been cited for making racist comments in the past, such as comments he made in a speech concerning the safety of President Obama.
“The white Right is trying to set Barack up to be assassinated,” said Farrakahn in a speech he gave in 2010.
This remark and others he made in the 2010 speech were met with disdain by many civil rights
organizations including the Anti-Defamation League.