SPLC Backs Down: Removes Innocent Town From 'Hate Map'

A map of organizations across the United States which the Southern Poverty Law Center considers "hate groups."

On Monday, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) removed the historic Iowa town Amana Colonies from its "hate map" that inspired a terrorist attack in 2012. The SPLC had targeted Amana Colonies as a refuge of "hate" because of an alleged link to the neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer. The Amana Colonies is a historic landmark, the site of seven German Pietist villages that produced a self-sustaining local economy for eighty years.

"We're thrilled for them changing the map and correcting it to what it should be, and not having the Amanas as a hate group," David Rettig, executive director of the Amana Colonies Convention and Visitors Bureau, told the Iowa City Press-Bulletin.

The SPLC "had previously designated the historic settlement as the home of the Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi and white supremacy news and commentary organization," the Press-Bulletin reported. On Monday, one of the Amanas leaders received word that the SPLC had changed Daily Stormer's designation to "statewide."

The town had previously contested the claim, but the SPLC had stood by its marking the Amanas on the "hate map." Why? The organization claimed "it had confirmation that a group of individuals met sometime in September 2016 at a restaurant in the Amanas."

"The First Iowa Stormer Bookclub was a success!" a user with the screen name Concerned Troll posted in a September 26, 2016, thread. Concerned Troll did not provide specific details about the visit, but went on to suggest a subsequent meeting in Des Moines.

Local officials shot back, explaining that there are no such groups active in Iowa County. Amanas leaders denounced hate groups and their activities, saying none of their messages or activities are welcome in their town. They demanded that the SPLC remove their community from the "hate map."

While Amana had been previously marked on the "hate map," the local leaders remained unaware of this designation until Daily Stormer became infamous following the white nationalist riots in Charlottesville, Va., on August 12.

On Monday, the SPLC finally agreed, removing the town from the map.

This incident should not be lightly brushed over, however. The SPLC's "hate map" inspired a terror attack in 2012.