The emerging face of hate

White supremacists, neo-Nazis and fascists descended on a Middle Tennessee town Saturday for a “White Lives Matter” rally, striking fear into communities desperate to avoid the kind of violence that visited Charlottesville, Virginia, nearly three months ago.


Jeff Schoep, second from the left, is head of the National Socialist Movement, a neo-Nazi group. He and three other NSM members met HuffPost outside their hotel in the Nashville area.

On Friday evening, a HuffPost reporter met Jeff Schoep, head of the National Socialist Movement, in a hotel parking lot in the Nashville area. Standing with three NSM subordinates, two of them armed, Schoep too seemed fixated on changing the optics of organized white supremacy in America. No more swastikas, he said. No more shouting racial epithets.

But it’s hard to teach an old Nazi new tricks. When a pair of young black men started taking photos of the Nazis hanging out in a hotel parking lot talking to some journalists, a middle-aged NSM member wearing SS lightning bolts on his jacket said, “Get out of here, n****rs.”

The Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, fearing that it could be targeted, prepared to cancel services and religious classes. Earlier this year, two young men were arrested for wrapping bacon around the front door of the mosque (pork, the consumption of which is forbidden in Islam, is a common weapon of Islamophobes) and spray-painting profane anti-Muslim messages on the building’s exterior.

Since it opened in 2012, the mosque has received a bomb threat and been the target of arson. Women in headscarves outside the center have been harassed. In 2010, over 300 anti-Muslim protesters marched on the mayor’s office here, chanting “No Shariah in the USA!” and demanding that the town not allow the Islamic center to be built at all.

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