Supremicist rally Ok'd Effort to oust Lewiston Somalis
Saturday, November 23, 2002
Kennebec Journal-Morning Sentinal
LEWISTON — A committee of city officials granted permission Friday for a
white supremacist group to hold a rally calling for the expulsion of the city's
The facilities committee, made up of the fire chief, police chief and other city
officials, agreed to allow the World Church of the Creator to hold the rally
The East Peoria, Ill.-based organization had asked officials for permission to
gather at the city's multipurpose center to show support for the "expulsion of
Somalis" from Maine's second-largest city.
City officials said they had to consider the application equally with other
applications to use city facilities, even if they disagreed with the message.
City Administrator Jim Bennett said the group has a constitutional right to have
its voice heard, and the city has an obligation to allow the rally.
"Are we happy about it? Of course not," Bennett said.
The council approved the rally, but said it should be held at the Lewiston
Armory, a larger venue than the community center. That decision came after
hearing of the World Church press release that said hundreds of
people were expected at the event.
The council also said the group will have to sit down with city, police and fire
officials to address public safety and security concerns.
The World Church of the Creator is the second hate group to target Lewiston
after an open letter from Mayor Larry Raymond to the Somali community drew
Raymond said the influx of approximately 1,000 Somalis was straining the city's
resources and urged Somali residents to discourage relatives and friends from
relocating to the city.
Soon afterward, the National Alliance began delivering racist pamphlets to homes
in Lewiston-Auburn. The West Virginia-based group also created a Web site
designed to recruit members from the area.
The World Church of the Creator says it wants to mobilize Lewiston residents
against what it calls the "Somali invasion."