A representative from the Southern Poverty Law Center, a left-leaning civil rights group, told MSNBC's Ed Schultz on Wednesday that he's not surprised that an explosive device detonated near an NAACP office in Colorado Springs on Tuesday, referencing the "very, very conservative" nature of the state and the "Christian right."
"Well, I don't think its terribly surprising that it would occur there," Mark Potok said after Schultz asked what he makes of the event taking place in Colorado Springs. "I mean, Colorado is a bit of a strange state in that it has very liberal enclaves in Denver and other cities, but once you get out into the country it is a very, very conservative state and, of course, Colorado Springs, itself, was for many, many years the kind of national capital of the Christian right."
He continued, "They also had another attack in '97 — a group of anti-government so-called patriots who firebombed the IRS building in Colorado Springs and actually caused almost $3 million in damage."
It's unclear what the Christian right has to do with the most recent bombing and Potok didn't go into specifics.
Watch his comments below:
Potok did not definitively say where he stands on the likelihood that the event was an act of terrorism, but added in his MSNBC appearance that, if it was, this would be yet another attack in a string of offenses against African Americans in the U.S.
"If it actually turns out to have been an ideological attack on the NAACP, to me, that is the latest manifestation of the kind of anger you see in this country directed at black people in general," he said. "There's a lot of fury out there. It has been exacerbated, I think, by ferguson, by the black lives matter movement and so on."
The FBI continues to investigate the homemade pipe bomb that detonated Wednesday outside of a barber shop in the same building that houses NAACP offices, with authorities not yet concluding whether the civil rights group was targeted, the Washington Post reported.
Some, like the president of the NAACP's Denver office Sondra Agnew-Young, though, believe that this was an "act of domestic terrorism."
"This cowardly attempt at a criminal act is both intolerable and morally reprehensible," Agnew-Young said in a statement.
Authorities continue to look for a balding white man in his 40s who is said to be driving a pickup truck.
The Southern Poverty Law Center has come under fire from conservatives for its liberal inclinations in the past. The group was removed from the FBI's hate crime web page last year after conservative groups protested its initial inclusion there.
As TheBlaze previously reported, the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “hate map” targets groups with “beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.” The hate map is “compiled using hate group publications and websites, citizen and law enforcement reports, field sources and news reports,” its website states.
The Southern Poverty Law Center includes Ku Klux Klan and New Black Panther Party groups on its “hate map,” as well as organizations like the Family Research Council, a socially conservative organization. A man who was convicted of opening fire at the Family Research Council’s Washington, D.C. headquarters in 2012 acknowledged that he used the “hate map” to target the organization.