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Nation of Islam in Milwaukee disputes “hate group” categorization

NOW: Nation of Islam in Milwaukee disputes “hate group” categorization

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Several Milwaukee community leaders spoke in support of the Nation of Islam after The Southern Poverty Law Center included them on a list of state hate groups.

"There is no facts that could speak to this organization being a hate group," said Patricia McManus with the Black Health Coalition of Wisconsin.

The Southern Poverty Law Center stood by its annual report of all hate groups in Wisconsin stating,

"The Nation of Islam is a black nationalist group whose basic foundation is that all whites are blue-eyed devils and that Jews ran the slave trade."

When asked to respond, Student Minister William Muhammad confirmed those are the groups views, but said that doesn't make them a hate group.

"No, it only means that those who don't know their history are doomed to repeat it. When you listen to the Jewish people and their concerns about the Holocaust, they say never again. They want to make sure that the history of what happened to them is known," said Student Minister William Muhammad: Nation of Islam.

Many historians have denounced the historical views as inaccurate and anti-semitic.

The groups leader, Louis Farrakhan, lost his Twitter verification last year after posting a video referring to unmasking the "Satanic Jew."

"When you see the Satanic Jew, and the Synagogue of Satan, which has many races in it,” said Louis Farrakhan: Leader of Nation of Islam.

Local leaders pointed out the positives that the local chapter has done for the community, especially avoiding violence.

“When there is a crisis in the community. They’ve been people that we can turn to bring about stability,” said Rev. Harold Moore: Mercy Memorial Baptist Church.

“I’ve worked with the Nation. Sisters and brothers of the Nation in the public schools. I’ve worked and marched with the Nation in regards to police brutality matters,” said Brian Verdin with MATC.

Milwaukee Common Council President Ashanti Hamilton says he's not aware of any violence or vandalism from the Milwaukee group.

The Southern Poverty Law Center says their criteria is an organization that has beliefs or practices that attack an entire class of people.

Their recent report lists 14 other groups in Wisconsin as well. 

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