Over the weekend, the FBI raided a Michigan Christian militia group called Hutaree. The group sought to "levy war" against the government and planned to execute a local law enforcement official, according to an indictment unsealed Monday morning in court. On their Web site, members call themselves Christian soldiers arming themselves for the coming of the Antichrist. What else is known about this group?
- It's Vehemently Anti-Government, write Paul Egan and Mike Wilkinson at The Detroit News: "The eight men and one woman are members of the Hutaree, identified as an 'anti-government extremist organization' in the indictment, and each faces three to five charges, including sedition, attempts to use weapons of mass destruction, teaching/demonstrating use of explosive materials and two counts of carrying weapons in relation to a crime of violence. The Adrian-based group has said it is training in modern combat techniques for a prophesized battle with the anti-Christ ... Their goal was to 'intimidate and demoralize law enforcement, diminishing their ranks and rendering them ineffective,' according to the indictment. The group then intended to use the incident to spark a 'war' against law enforcement, using bombs, ambushes and prepared fighting positions."
- Heavily Armed, 17-Strong, notes Justin Elliott at Talking Points Memo: "Hutaree's Web site features Youtube videos of heavily armed men in fatigues training in the countryside ... Its not clear how large Hutaree is, but a group picture on the front page of the site shows 17 men, all holding large rifles." The site's "About Us" section says:
The only thing on earth to save the testimony and those who follow it, are the members of the testimony, til the return of Christ in the clouds. We, the Hutaree, are prepared to defend all those who belong to Christ and save those who aren't. We will still spread the word, and fight to keep it, up to the time of the great coming.
- Very Similar to the Mahdi Army in Iraq, observes Juan Cole: "I am struck that Hutaree has a great deal in common with the Mahdi Army of Muqtada al-Sadr in Iraq. The Hutaree militia seems to recruit from the poor or lower middle class. Michigan's real unemployment rate is said to be 17%, and for many Michigan workers there have been years of hopelessness and joblessness, inducing despair and anger. The Mahdi Army likewise drew on Iraqi unemployed and angry youth. Many Sadrists believe that the Mahdi or Muslim messiah will soon come."
- More Background JClifford at Irregular Times writes: "The Hutarees used the Bible to justify a mission of religious violence in the belief that the Hutarees would eventually be in a military conflict against the AntiChrist and the AntiChrist’s human followers. The motto of the Hutarees is Preparing for the end time battles to keep the testimony of Jesus Christ alive."