Radio Jihad Personality Vito Esposito Says They Have No Connection to Little Falls [INTERVIEW]
There may be a factual inaccuracy in a listing of alleged hate groups in the United States.
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), based in Montgomery, Alabama, has identified 44 groups in New York State as “hate groups,” one of which the group says is in a tiny Central New York town. The SPLC’s “Hate Map” identifies Little Falls as the home of “Radio Jihad.”
This came as big news to the city with a population – as of the 2010 U.S. Census – of five thousand, known for its backdrop of waterfalls, not as a nesting ground for hate.
Several news organizations picked up on the story and reported that, according to the SPLC, Little Falls is included among the sites.
WIBX’s First News with Keeler in the Morning spoke with Vito Esposito, co-host of Radio Jihad’s “Mama Mia No Sharia,” who says that although he has lived in New York, he is not a resident of the state and has not lived there for some time. He says his group has no known ties to Little Falls, New York, and certainly not an office there. He says that he is reaching out to other show hosts to see if they have any broadcast connection to Central New York, but – as of this posting – says that he knows of none.
The interview with Esposito is below:
Of those groups identified as being Anti-Muslim the SPLC says the following:
“All anti-Muslim hate groups exhibit extreme hostility toward Muslims. The organizations portray those who worship Islam as fundamentally alien and attribute to its followers an inherent set of negative traits. Muslims are depicted as irrational, intolerant and violent, and their faith is frequently depicted as sanctioning pedophilia, marital rape and child marriage.”
Esposito says that he does not know of any connection between his group and Little Falls, New York. He jokingly said that just because they broadcast from Prospect Street and Garden Street in the tiny city of Little Falls there is no connection.
In compiling the list he accuses members of the SPLC of not doing their due diligence investigating his group. He says that they are “on the radar of some of the Muslim Brotherhood front groups,” but says that he certainly does not consider himself to be a member of a hate group. He says that they are considered a conservative group. “We are educating America as to what the influence of Islam is in America and how they’re trying to undermine our U.S. Constitution and now we’re a hate group…”
WIBX has contacted the Southern Poverty Law Center numerous times via both e-mail and telephone. Our requests for a comment have been acknowledged but, as of March 26, 2015 at 2:40pm ET, WIBX has not yet received a formal response from the group.
In any event Esposito’s comments are not designed to be innocuous. Many are critical of his hardline stance against fundamentalism, and the controversy has brought more attention to Radio Jihad. Says Esposito, “I think when you look at the Malaysia flight…..when you look at he Fort Hood…..the Islamic doctrine is, we’re living it true to today…Now you could say we’re cherry-picking out of “The Koran” but what would Mohammed do? Exactly what ISIS is doing today. Fourteen hundred years of Islamic doctrine is being, is still being used. Whereas…tell me how many Christians… are slaughtering Muslims in Nigeria? Boko Haram and the Muslim Brother front group is doing just that.” Later he added, “There’s no such thing as a ‘moderate Muslim.'” When confronted with challenges to that statement Esposito acknowledged, “Not all Muslims are bad.”
While not in Little Falls, New York he says that Radio Jihad broadcasts from Texas, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, and South Carolina.
Of the group’s moniker Esposito says they chose it because “It is a good, catchy name.”