PORTLAND (AP) – Pamphlets from a white supremacist group targeting Jews and racial minorities have shown up in the Deering and North Deering neighborhoods.

Residents said they won’t be intimidated by the literature from the World Church of the Creator that showed up on their doorsteps Sunday morning. The leaflets, wrapped in pink plastic, featured a photo of the destruction of the World Trade Center towers with a Star of David superimposed over the towers.

Peter Rogers said his first concern after finding the leaflet was for Temple Beth El, across the street from his house. He took the materials to the synagogue and spoke with someone there.

“There is a mild level of unease, because there are people like this who have done violent things in the past,” he said.

The World Church of the Creator held a rally in Lewiston in January calling for the expulsion of that city’s Somali residents. About three dozen people showed up for the rally, while more than 4,000 people turned out for a separate rally urging Mainers to reject racism and embrace the Somali immigrants.

The group’s leader, Matt Hale, is now in jail on a charge of soliciting a federal judge’s murder.

The group in December distributed leaflets in Lewiston and in Portland’s Sagamore Village neighborhood.

Rabbi Carolyn Braun said she is a firm believer in freedom of speech, but questions how someone can live with so much hate for people they do not know personally.

“It’s tragic that someone can live with that hatred,” she said. “But we won’t tolerate it, we can’t tolerate it.”

Portland Police Chief Michael Chitwood said he doesn’t know why the white supremacist group began circulating more literature, or why they chose the Deering area.

He said police will investigate the incident, but added that the individuals responsible have broken no laws.

AP-ES-04-16-03 0843EDT



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