(TNS) - Antisemitic flyers featuring crude caricatures of Jews were discovered Sunday morning outside the First United Methodist Church in Ferndale and reported to police.

The black-and-white flyers were taped to three entrances of the church, 22331 Woodward Ave., and expressed support for the controversial far-right websites The Daily Stormer and Infowars.com.

The flyers blamed Jewish people for the fact that The Daily Stormer, a virulently antisemitic publication, was booted from a succession of website domains since August 2017. "They are coming for your free speech next," the flyers said.

The flyers say they were produced by a local Daily Stormer "book club," but there was no other identifying information on them.

Jill Warren, a member of the church's congregation, said they reported the flyers to Ferndale police.

"We need to make sure people are safe on our property, and hopefully whoever put them there will realize that we’re vigilant and not going to allow that kind of thing," said Warren, whose husband, the Rev. Robert Schoenhals, is the church's minister.

Ferndale Police Lt. Dennis Emmi said the department dispatched an officer to the church and took a police report. However, it does not appear that the flyers constitute a crime.

"It appears to be not a criminal matter at this point as it appears to fall under freedom of speech," Emmi said. Still, the department will investigate to try to determine who posted the flyers and if violations, such as trespassing, occurred, he said.

“In the end, it still may be non-criminal and fall under the First Amendment," Emmi said.

The flyers also featured an image of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones with a Star of David placed over his mouth. Jones is the controversial creator of the Infowars website whose profiles, podcasts and channels were removed last month from Facebook, YouTube and Apple's media platforms for purported hate speech and inciting violence.

Jones is known for his claims that the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre never took place, but instead was staged by the government using actors as an excuse to take people's guns away.

Warren said that she suspects First United Methodist Church's prominent location on Woodward and visible support for social justice issues made it a target for the flyers.

“Antisemitism has no place in our community," she said.


©2018 the Detroit Free Press

Visit the Detroit Free Press at www.freep.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.



--