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Catalog of state hate groups

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Muise, a 13-year veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps who served in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm in the Persian Gulf War, started a second career as an attorney in 2000. He joined New York attorney David Yerushalmi in 2012 to form the American Freedom Law Center. The SPLC specifically lists Yerushalmi as an anti-Muslim activist "who is a leading proponent of the idea that the United States is threatened by the imposition of Muslic religious law, known as "Shariah."

"For good or ill, the battle of America's soul is being waged in courtrooms across America, pressed forward by secular progressives and sharia-advocating Muslim Brotherhood interests," the firm states on its website.

In its legal work, the firm is involved in free speech cases involving pro-life advocates and freedom of religion issues, including those pushing for extreme vetting for Islamist Sharia ideology. In March, the firm filed a civil rights suit against the city of Sterling Heights on behalf of residents opposing the construction of a mosque in the city. The firm, according to the SPLC, has also pushed for anti-Shariah laws in legislatures across the country, arguing that America has unique values of liberty and freedom that don't exist in foreign legal systems.

Muise, frustrated by the hate group designation, said it's the SPLC who is the real hate group, a claim made by dozens of groups who have found themselves on the Hate Map.

"They are the ultimate of hate groups. They hate our message and they hate our Christian view and hate our Orthodox Jewish message," he asserted. "They are enemies of the First Amendment, and they are trying to shut us down by employing tactics like this.

"Why not add Al Queda, ISIS and all the other terrorist groups to their list... Guess what, it's the Muslims who are doing the global terrorism. Go on the FBI most wanted list right now. I'll tell you what, none of them are conservative Christians. One is a Black Liberation Party person, and one is an environmentalist. I don't see one conservative Christian on there."

Nationwide, the SPLC said there has been a 197-percent increase in anti-Muslim hate groups in the country from 2015 to 2016, and it has increased from just five in 2010 to 101 in 2016.

ACT For America is one of the largest organizations listed by the SPLC as an anti-Muslim hate group, with more than a quarter-million members and 1,000 chapters, including those in Detroit and Grand Rapids.

In 2008, ACT began a campaign called "Stop Shariah Now," which aimed to "inform and educate" the public about Shariah and how the group claims it's creeping into American society and "compromising our constitutional freedom of speech, press, religion and equality." ACT worked with Yerushalmi prior to his formation of the American Freedom Law Center to draft anti-Shariah legislation, which has been passed in a handful of states.

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