Bloomington conservative group expresses concerns about hateful online comments at meeting

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The Grassroots Conservatives in Bloomington have been on the front lines of those who oppose Syrian refugees resettling in their community. The group has grown and started to meet monthly, but when their leader, Robert Hall, advertised this month's meeting they were met with harsh criticism.

One post which we deleted the expletives from, said:

"So these little Nazis have created a new event for this and are trying to limit who is "going" and limit comment. Not in our public library."

“I was concerned. They were very hateful words that they said. They brought up Hitler, Nazis, they were vulgar words. I was very concerned we had not seen that before,” Grassroots Conservatives, organizer Robert Hall said.

Hall says most of the backlash was in response to the film shown at Wednesday's meeting, “The Enemies Within.” It's a documentary that claims to expose political ties to Islamic terrorists.

Reggie Provine says he found out about the meeting on Facebook and although he opposes the views of the grassroots conservatives he felt it was important to be here. He refers to himself as a democratic socialist.

“Offer a real opportunity to speak with them. And if I get kicked out for it so what,” Provine said.

Provine was joined by others who oppose the views here. And although things started with vulgar language on Facebook, both sides were willing to have a healthy conversation face to face.

“A peaceful disruption absolutely. I’m not here to fight anyone. I would like very much to have an opportunity for discourse," Provine said.

“Keep an open mind. Hear both sides. Don’t jump to conclusions,” Hall said.

Most of the opposed to the Grassroots Conservatives views left the meeting before the documentary was over. There was a discussion afterwards, but those who expressed opposition were not a part of that conversation.

The Bloomington Police Department was notified of a potential need to respond to the meeting but their services were not needed.

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