Arts & Culture: Tolerance Exhibit Shines Light on Hatemongering Internet Sites

The Museum of Tolerance here has unveiled a new $5 million interactive exhibit to combat the proliferation of Internet sites by hate groups.

Visitors to the exhibit see eight large screens, illustrating some of the most heinous hate crimes of the last few years and community responses to them.

“Hate sites by neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other bigots represent one of the major growth industries on the Internet,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which created the museum.

“In 1995, when the Oklahoma City federal building was blown up, there was one such site. Now there are over 2,000.”

At the entrance to the exhibit is a bank of computer screens on which the visitor can instantly call up many of the 2,000 Web sites run by the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis, white supremacists, skinheads and Holocaust deniers.

“These extremist groups have become very sophisticated,” said Cooper.

“For instance, a student researching the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. might well click on MLKing.org. On the face of it, the site appears perfectly legitimate, but once you get into it, it becomes a front for white supremacists.”

Globalhate.com will be integrated into a training courses for law enforcement officers and educators that has been taken so far by some 16,000 professionals, said Liebe Geft, director of the Museum of Tolerance.

Since Globalhate.com can easily be misused as an access guide to hate groups, it will not be available on the Internet, said senior researcher Rick Eaton, who designed the exhibit.

However, the Wiesenthal Center is making available a compact disc that explains the exhibit’s methodology and some of the content.

Globalhate.com is part of a current $10 million renovation of the museum.

The Millenium Time Machine, which will deal with issues of prejudice and bigotry on a worldwide scale, is slated to open in February.

NEXT STORY