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Proud Boys an ‘extremist’ group, FBI says

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gavin mcinnes vice proud boys maga cap
Proud
Boys founder Gavin McInnes takes part in an alt-right protest of
Muslim Activist Linda Sarsour on May 25, 2017 in New York
City.

Stephanie Keith/Getty
Images


  • The FBI has designated the far-right “Proud Boys” as an
    “extremist group with ties to white nationalism,” according to a

    document from the Clark County sheriff’s office in Washington
    state.
  • The Proud Boys, which recently made headlines over its
    involvement in street violence in New York City and Portland, was
    founded by Vice Media co-founder Gavin McInnes.
  • The Proud Boys are known for anti-Muslim and
    misogynistic rhetoric, the Southern Poverty Law Center says on
    its website. 

The FBI has designated the far-right “Proud Boys” as an
“extremist group with ties to white nationalism,” according to a

document from the Clark County sheriff’s office in Washington
state.

The report was
obtained by The Guardian
via the government
transparency nonprofit 
Property of the People, and it marks the
first reported instance of the FBI referring to the group as
“extremist.”

According to the document, “The FBI has warned local law
enforcement agencies that the Proud Boys are actively recruiting
in the Pacific north-west.”

“Proud Boys members have contributed to the recent
escalation of violence at political rallies held on college
campuses, and in cities like Charlottesville, Virginia, Portland,
Oregon, and Seattle, Washington,” the document added.



Read more:
2 stats show why the US government has struggled to fight the
rise of white nationalism and domestic
terrorism


The authenticity of the report was confirmed to The
Guardian by its author. The FBI did not immediately respond to a
request for comment.

The Proud Boys, which recently made headlines over its
involvement in street violence in New York City and Portland, was
founded by Vice Media cofounder Gavin McInnes during the
2016 presidential campaign. The group describes itself as
comprised of “western chauvinists” and believe the “West is
best.”

McInnes has sought to distance the
Proud Boys from associations with white nationalism and the
alt-right
, but the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)
describes it as a
“hate group.”
The Proud Boys are known for
anti-Muslim and misogynistic rhetoric, the SPLC says on its
website. 

President Donald Trump has faced criticism
over his approach to right-wing extremism
, as critics say his
rhetoric emboldens such movements and those associated with
them.

A recent poll by the Public Religion Institute found that

a majority of Americans (54%)
 believe Trump’s decisions
and behavior have encouraged white supremacist groups.


Read more:
Most Americans think Trump has encouraged white supremacists, and
some are worried he has become a ‘legitimizing voice’ for hate
groups

Trump in 2017
cut funding to groups focusing on countering right-wing
violence
, a move that faced condemnation after the
president’s response to violence at a white nationalist rally in
Charlottesville, Virginia, which was
organized by former Proud Boys member Jason
Kessler.

Since his presidential campaign, Trump has frequently
emphasized the danger of
“radical Islamic terrorism,”
but law enforcement data
shows white
supremacists and other far-right extremists have killed more
people
 since the terror attacks on September 11, 2001,
than any other category of domestic extremist. 

The FBI has also faced criticism over its approach to white
nationalism and associated groups, as critics say it has not been
quick or forceful enough to thwarting far-right extremism even as
it’s targeted
“black identity extremists.”

“The FBI’s failure to initially identify the Proud Boys as
a violent organization allied with White Nationalists is hardly
surprising given the FBI’s long record of targeting social
justice activists as terrorists while turning a blind eye to the
threat posed by the radical right,” Ryan Shapiro, executive
director of Property of the People,
told HuffPost in a statement.

 

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