The town manager of Jackman calls Islam “the scourge of Western civilization” and suggests that the United States would be better off if people of different races “voluntarily separate.”
Tom Kawczynski moved to Maine about a year ago and began New Albion, a group that declares those sentiments on its website, and promotes “traditional Western values emphasizing the positive aspects of our European heritage” in northern New England and Maritime Canada.
Kawczynski, 37, told the Bangor Daily News that he wants to preserve this region’s white majority and keep out Muslims, but rejected the idea that his views are racist, saying that people of different racial backgrounds are welcome in his movement as long as their culture is “rooted in Western civilization.”
“Wow,” said Zachary Heiden, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine, when asked about Kawczynski’s views. “That’s shockingly racist.”
Kawczynski said, “We are pro-white without being anti-other groups in terms of their racial identity. But we … oppose the idea of bringing people in from the outside that come from different cultures.
“I would say unequivocally that I see Islam as fundamentally incompatible with Western civilization,” he added.
Kawczynski was hired by Jackman amid the rise of the so-called alt-right and a resurgence around the country of white nationalist movements that have felt buoyed by the election of President Donald Trump. Kawczynski was active in Trump’s campaign in New Hampshire.
Albion was a term used by the ancient Greeks to refer to the island of Britain. New Albion’s membership includes a “few dozen people across the state,” Kawczynski said. He said that he would not apply the label “white nationalism” to himself or his movement.
In a post on the group’s website, Kawczynski wrote that “while I am not an absolutist on race, understanding the many complications created by the American system, I do believe to the extent we voluntarily separate, the happier every group will be as they regain self-determination.” Another post refers to Islam as “barbarism.”
Kawczynski said that he has talked about New Albion to some of Jackman’s selectmen but only in a “general sense,” that he keeps his personal views on race and culture largely separate from town business and that they do not represent those of the town government.
“I do not run [Jackman] in a way where we in any way discriminate against anyone who is there. And we follow all the guidelines. And we respect everyone that comes through,” Kawczynski said.
Nevertheless, he added that he does see a “natural overlay” between the mission of New Albion and his work for Jackman. “It is something that I am trying to integrate in the sense that I’m trying to develop our community,” he said. “But I do not make that relationship explicit.”
Jackman, located in Somerset County near the Canadian border, had a population of 862 in 2010, the most recent census.
Three Jackman selectmen did not immediately respond to requests for comment. After initially supplying a reporter with phone numbers for two selectmen, a clerk at the Jackman town office said she could not give out phone numbers or email addresses for the elected officials.
Kawczynski was hired as manager from among 14 applicants after multiple interviews and a background check, according to a news release from the town. He started his job last June and said his views on race and culture did not come up during the interview process.
“The hiring process included the Board as well as six citizens who went to great lengths in reviewing each application,” the release said.
Originally from Arizona, Kawczynski said that he and his wife moved to New Hampshire and then to Maine, after years in Pennsylvania.
In 2011, Kawczynski ran for county executive in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, as an independent, according to PoliticsPA. And he said that he and his wife moved after Pennsylvania’s “cultural and political divides … put danger to people’s quality of life.”
In New Hampshire, Kawczynski was also politically active. He served as Lisbon town chair for Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. Kawczynski said that “a lot of people” come to northern New England for reasons similar to his. And he is encouraging more to do so on the website GAB.
Kawczynski frequently shares his political views on the website and his personal Facebook page. His posts include calls for the deportation of immigrants protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, questions about “why Europeans let Islam run over them” and statements such as, “It’s no accident unattractive women make up the vast majority of feminists.”
On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Kawczynski wrote on GAB: “I’m actually glad not to have today off. #NotMyHoliday”
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Correction: This story has been updated to correct the source of the quote attributed to the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine.