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Hamilton Spectator, May 17, 1996, p. C3

"On-line racism is his target: Crusader tells students Internet a
reflection of society."

The rise of the Internet -- a worldwide network of
interconnected computers -- has opened a huge, new frontier for
hate-mongering which typically targets Jews, denies the Holocaust
and attempts to make fascism respectable.

     But don't blame the medium, says Kenneth McVay, director of a
volunteer organization dedicated to combating neo-Nazi propaganda on
the Internet.

     ``The Internet is simply a reflection of our society,'' said Mr.
McVay. ``If there's hate on the Net, it's because there's hate in
this room.''

     Mr. McVay spoke yesterday to about 400 area high school students at

an annual seminar on the Holocaust, held at McMaster University
under the auspices of the Jewish Federation of Hamilton-Wentworth.

     Noting that it is virtually impossible to censor the Internet, Mr.
McVay urged the students to confront bigotry when they meet it --
even when it's in their own hearts.

     ``Is there anyone here who can honestly say there isn't some ethnic

group that doesn't make them uncomfortable?'' he asked.

     On the surface, Mr. McVay seems an unlikely crusader.

     The 55-year-old grandfather of six looks, in his own words, like an

old hippie with a bad hair day. But his Nizkor (Hebrew for we
remember) Project has become an effective, nationally recognized
countermeasure to racism on the Net.

     Based in British Columbia, the former assistant manager of a
convenience store first encountered anti-Semitic material on the
Internet in 1992. Since then, he has built up an extensive
electronic data base of hate literature and propaganda which, with a
team of 165 volunteers, he uses to puncture the lies of ``white
power rangers.''

     ``The most powerful weapon you have against these guys is their own

words,'' he explained in an interview.

     He was awarded the Order of British Columbia last year in
recognition of his work, and recently received a special human
rights award from B'nai Brith Canada.

     Among the tens of millions who access the Net, about 100 people use

it to actively promote fascism, according to Mr. McVay, who
estimates there are roughly 3,000 active fascists throughout North
America.

     But their potential danger, he says, exceeds their numbers,
particularly during economic hard times when many start casting
around for scapegoats.

     ``The danger is, we will not take them seriously, that we'll write
them off as a lunatic fringe.''
     If so, he predicts, society will pay for it with hate-inspired
riots and murders. He urged the audience to question everything
hate-mongers say.

     ``Don't expect these people to deal with life logically,'' he said.

They lie through their teeth.''
CAPTIONS:  Photo: ||The danger is, we will not take them seriously, that

we'll write them off as a lunatic fringe.'' - Kenneth McVay
    Copyright Hamilton Spectator 1996


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