Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The Number of Hate Groups Rose By 14% in 2015

For many years the Southern Poverty Law Center ("SPLC")  has tracked hate groups that operate in America.  Many are white supremacists groups and chapters of the KKK, a few are black separatist groups, a growing number of groups are anti-Muslim, and some are radical Catholic traditionalists who have virulent anti-Semitic views and propaganda.  Frighteningly, most other that black separatist groups tend to align politically with the Republican Party that has increasingly shown its willingness to embrace hate merchants.   In its 2016 Intelligence Report, SPLC looks at the rise in hate groups in every state across America.  The report also looks at the vitriol and hate being broadcast by Republicans like Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio among others.  Here are highlights:

The SPLC found that the number of hate groups operating in 2015 was 14 percent higher than in 2014. Anti-government “Patriot” groups – armed militias and others animated by conspiracy theories – also grew 14 percent during the same period.

Hate groups increased from 784 groups in 2014 to 892 last year. Antigovernment “Patriot” groups grew from 874 in 2014 to 998.

This growth came amid a series of lethal terrorist attacks by extremists. In June, a white supremacist murdered nine black parishioners at a church in Charleston, South Carolina. In December, Islamist radicals killed 14 people at a work party in San Bernardino, California – just days after an anti-abortion extremist killed three people at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, Colorado. These were just the worst of numerous other attacks and foiled extremist plots reviewed in this issue.

The demonization of Muslims, Latinos, immigrants and others became commonplace in 2015. Presidential candidate Donald Trump made headlines with a call for a temporary ban on Muslim immigration and his description of Mexican immigrants as rapists and drug dealers. He even cited a bogus “poll” by the Center for Security Policy that falsely claimed that a quarter of American Muslims support violent jihadists such as the members of the Islamic State.

The Center for Security Policy is one of two anti-Muslim groups listed as hate groups for the first time in this year’s report. The other is ACT! for America.

Other political figures launched their own verbal attacks against a host of targets to exploit the anger and fear of some Americans over the country’s changing demographics, immigration, the legalization of same-sex marriage, the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement and atrocities committed by Islamist terrorists. Economic pressure on white, working-class Americans has also contributed to the anger.

The hate groups listed in this report include neo-Nazis, white nationalists, neo-Confederates, racist skinheads, Klansmen and black separatists. Other hate groups on the list target LGBT people, Muslims or immigrants, and some specialize in producing racist music or propaganda denying the Holocaust. 

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