Alabama terror website is pulled amid outcry
The Alabama Department of Homeland Security has taken down a website it operated that included gay-rights and antiwar organizations in a list of groups that could include terrorists.
The website identified different types of terrorists and included a list of groups it suggested could spawn terrorists. The list also included environmentalists, animal rights advocates and abortion opponents.
The director of the department, Jim Walker, said his agency received calls and e-mails from people who said they felt the site unfairly targeted certain people because of their beliefs. He said he planned to reinstate the website but would no longer identify specific types of groups.
Howard Bayliss, chairman of the gay-rights group Equality Alabama, said he didn’t understand why gay-rights advocates would be on the list.
“Our group has only had peaceful demonstrations. I’m deeply concerned we’ve been profiled in this discriminatory matter,” Bayliss said.
The site included the groups under a description of what it called “single-issue extremists.” That group includes people who feel they are trying to create a better world, the website said. It said that in some communities, law enforcement officers considered certain single-issue groups to be a threat.
“Single-issue extremists often focus on issues that are important to all of us. However, they have no problem crossing the line between legal protest and ... illegal acts, to include even murder, to succeed in their goals,” it read.
Walker said the site had been up since spring 2004, and had gotten a relatively small number of hits until it recently became the subject of blogs.
Birmingham attorney Eric Johnston, president of the Alabama Pro-Life Coalition, said he was concerned about any list that described people doing social justice work as terrorists.
“Our group’s main mission is educational.
“The thought that we would somehow be harboring terrorists escapes me,” he said.