Church in north Spokane littered with flyers promoting neo-Nazi group, race war
Oct. 15, 2019 Updated Tue., Oct. 15, 2019 at 9:08 p.m.
A neo-Nazi group that calls for a race war and promotes terrorist attacks against Jews and people of color has claimed responsibility for flyers that appeared Monday outside a church in north Spokane.
The flyers were taped to signposts and electrical poles surrounding Morning Star Baptist Church. They featured swastikas and other neo-Nazi symbols, as well as messages such as “Turn your sadness into rage” and “It’s OK to genocide subhumans.”
One flyer featured an image of Adolf Hitler and the words, “The war never ended and we keep fighting.”
A group called the Feuerkrieg Division took credit for the propaganda on the encrypted messaging app Telegram, which has become a favorite platform of hate groups over the past year.
The group posted photos of the flyers taken at night and credited “our recently opened Washington cell,” though there is no evidence the group has a large presence in the area.
In a statement, Spokane police Chief Craig Meidl said his department “is aware of this incident and taking appropriate steps to investigate.”
“SPD stands in solidarity with all of our community against hate and will relentlessly follow up on those who espouse hateful and violent ideologies,” Meidl said.
Sgt. Terry Preuninger, a department spokesman, said the FBI’s local Joint Terrorism Task Force also is investigating the flyers.
Morning Star Baptist Church, 3909 W. Rowan Ave., has many black congregants and is home to an activist group called Spokane Community Against Racism, or SCAR, which has focused on racial disparities in the local justice system and advocated against building a new county jail.
Walter Kendricks, the pastor at Morning Star and a leader of SCAR, said a neighbor of the church called him Monday after finding the flyers.
“I’m really concerned about the safety of the people at my church,” Kendricks said.
The Anti-Defamation League describes the Feuerkrieg Division, or FKD, as “a small, international neo-Nazi organization that embraces the most extreme interpretations of white supremacist ideology.”
The group was established in late 2018 in Europe. Its leader is based in Estonia, but its membership is increasingly American, according to the ADL. While most of the group’s activity is online, the ADL says members have previously engaged in leafleting efforts.
The FKD’s Telegram channel, which had fewer than 750 subscribers as of Tuesday, includes calls for a race war, propaganda videos and a 10-hour audio reading of “The Turner Diaries,” a 1978 novel that influenced the Oklahoma City bomber and members of The Order, a white supremacist terrorist group born out of Eastern Washington in the 1980s.
The FKD is an offshoot of a group called the Atomwaffen Division, which has recruited members of the U.S. military and been linked with several hate-fueled murders. Among its followers is Conor Climo, a 23-year-old former Army combat engineer and security guard who was arrested in August and charged with planning attacks on a synagogue in the Las Vegas area and on a bar he believed catered to LGBT people.
Members of a third affiliated group, The Base, are believed to have traveled through Spokane in August en route to a gathering in Stevens County. A propaganda video released by The Base shortly after the rumored gathering showed at least seven masked men firing shotguns and assault rifles in what appeared to be a paramilitary-style training exercise in a wooded area.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox
Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.