Bahai News -- Lewistonians plan event to counter white supremacist’s speech Tuesday, November 26, 2002

Lewistonians plan event to counter white supremacist’s speech

LEWISTON, Maine (AP) — Some residents are planning to counter a speech by a white supremacist group with an event of their own.

The leader of the World Church of the Creator is planning to call for the expulsion of Somalis in a speech at the Lewiston Armory on Jan. 11. The Illinois-based group is the second white supremacist group to target Lewiston since the mayor urged Somalis to discourage friends and relatives from moving to the city.

The World Church of the Creator, which describes itself as a religion based on the supremacy of white race, was granted permission to use the city facility Friday.

This week, some local religious and community leaders announced a plan to hold a celebration of diversity.

The Rev. Nancy Moore of the Episcopalian Trinity Jubilee Center said she wants to reclaim the word "church" for Lewiston.

"I also need to reclaim the word ‘creator,"’ she said. "The creator didn’t create just one color, just one kind or just one view of the world. I want to reclaim the diversity that is creation."

Representatives of the Franco-American Heritage Center, Holy Trinity Orthodox Church, the Sisters of St. Joseph, the Maine Rural Workers Association and the local Ba’hai and Armenian communities are among those involved in the diversity celebration.

Details of the event were still being worked out.

About 1,000 Somalis have moved to Lewiston from other U.S. cities in the last year and a half. Their arrival in the city of 36,000 was followed by rumors of special treatment.

Somali leaders reacted with anger when Mayor Larry Raymond asked them to stem their flow, saying that the city’s resources were being overtaxed.

The city says it pays $382,000 for services for Somalis, primarily English as a second language programs and general assistance. That figure represents about 0.5 percent of Lewiston’s $70 million budget, $40 million of which the city must raise through local property taxes.

Somali leaders initially accused Raymond of bigotry but relations between the two sides have since been smoothed over.

The furor caught the attention of the World Church of the Creator and the National Alliance, which saw the incident as a chance to recruit member in the area.

©Copyright 2002, Foster's/Citizen Online

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