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National Alliance fliers upset some residents

St. Cloud Times, USA
Mar. 16, 2004
Kate Kompas and Sarah Colburn
miva.sctimes.com

ReligionNewsBlog.com • Tuesday March 16, 2004

Susan Riley opened her door Monday morning, and what she saw disturbed her.

The four sheets of paper on her front step referred to, among other things, supposed Jewish control of mass media. The fliers were created by an organization called National Alliance.

“You reach for the newspaper and get a bundle of hate,” said Riley, who lives in north St. Cloud. At least one of her neighbors received the papers, too.

St. Cloud human rights director Baba Odukale met with St. Cloud police after Riley contacted him.

Police have received one complaint about another set of fliers, also by National Alliance, Sgt. Jim Feeny said. They contained concerns about white people becoming a minority.

Odukale is investigating how many fliers have circulated. He will talk with city attorneys to see what action could be taken.

“This type of behavior will not be accepted in any way, shape or form,” Odukale said.

National Alliance representatives in the Columbia Heights office could not be reached Monday for comment. Only a recorded message was available.

Reaction

John Merkle, associate director of the Jay Phillips Center for Jewish-Christian Learning, said he doesn’t often see “hate propaganda.”

Merkle, a Catholic theologian who teaches Jewish theology at the College of St. Benedict/St. John’s University, said those spreading the information should come forward for a debate.

“It can damage Jewish-Christian relations because many people may not be able to see these pamphlets are filled with lies,” Merkle said.

Jerry Sales picked the fliers off his south side lawn Monday because he saw the word “missing” and assumed they were about a child. Instead, they referred to the “missing future for white children.”

“I thought, ‘I can’t believe I’m seeing this in St. Cloud, Minnesota,’ but I guess I was too naive,” he said.

‘Passion’

One of the fliers on Riley’s door accused “Jewish pressure groups” of trying to censor “The Passion of the Christ.”

Merkle and Joseph Edelheit, director of St. Cloud State University’s Jewish studies program, offered educational forums about the movie.

“Clearly, this film has material, which touches the deepest, the most profound religious experience people can imagine, and at the same time it touches the deepest, most painful gaps in our community,” Edelheit said.

The National Alliance, he said, is taking advantage of people in what he called “their most vulnerable moments.”

‘Dangerous’

Elana Stern, associate director of the Anti Defamation League ‘s Greater Chicago/Upper Midwest regional office, said the National Alliance has been distributing literature since at least February.

One of the fliers on Riley’s doorstep called the League a “dangerous domestic terrorist, extremist group.”

The League, which fights anti-Semitism and hate crimes, believes National Alliance is “the largest and most dangerous neo-Nazi hate organization,” Stern said.

She hopes the St. Cloud area reacts to the National Alliance’s messages.

“It’s an opportunity for a community to come together and condemn this message of hate,” Stern said.

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