Chicago Public Library Denies Meeting Room to Anti-Semitic Group

Chicago Public Library Denies
Meeting Room to Anti-Semitic Group

The white-supremacist World Church of the Creator, headquartered in East Peoria, Illinois, has changed its plans for a talk by founder Matt Hale that was scheduled to take place March 23 at the Portage-Cragin branch of the Chicago Public Library. After receiving a March 15 letter from CPL Commissioner Mary Dempsey that denied his application for a meeting room, Hale called for a two-hour “mass demonstration by White citizens” in front of the branch on West Belmont Avenue and is “pursuing legal action” against the library, according to the church Web site.

Dempsey’s letter referred to “numerous misrepresentations and omissions” in the group’s application, including its characterization of the event as a meeting by the “European Historical Society” that would “discuss historical issues from the middle ages” as well as provide an “in-depth look at the classical age of history and its effect on our times.” She contrasted that with Hale’s own March 6 announcement that gave the title of the talk as “Jewish Ritual Murder: How and Why Jews Have Sacrificed Non-Jewish Children as Part of Their Religion.”

Hale’s inflammatory speeches at other library venues in Wallingford, Connecticut, Schaumburg, Illinois, and York, Pennsylvania, have generated protests and violence that “would interfere with normal library operations,” the letter added.

The library is arranging for a Chicago police presence at Hale’s demonstration. CPL Press Secretary Margot Burke told American Libraries, “The Chicago Police Department is extremely capable and has handled many things of this nature. I have full trust in them that they understand the scope of this and that they are prepared.”

Posted March 25, 2002.