The number of anti-Muslim hate groups in the US has nearly tripled since Donald Trump launched his presidential election campaign in 2015, according to a non-profit organisation that "combats hate, intolerance and discrimination through education and litigation".
The Montgomery, Alabama, based Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) said in a report on Wednesday that the number of organisations opposing Muslims "leaped" from 34 in 2015 to 101 last year, as the total number of various hate groups remained at "near-historic highs, rising from 892 in 2015 to 917 last year".
|The number of hate groups rose to historic levels after Barack Obama was first elected president in 2008 [SPLC]
The SPLC also noted that FBI statistics showed that the rate of hate crimes against Muslims rose by 67 percent in 2015, when Trump, who used his election campaign to call for a travel ban against Muslims among other policies targeting ethnic and religious minority groups, became a popular political figure.
"The growth [of hate groups] has been accompanied by a rash of crimes targeting Muslims, including an arson that destroyed a mosque in Victoria, Texas, just hours after the Trump administration announced an executive order suspending travel from some predominantly Muslim countries."
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"Without a doubt, Trump appealed to garden-variety racists, xenophobes, religious bigots and misogynists - people not necessarily in any hate or related kind of group, but who still were antagonistic towards multiculturalism," the report said.
In November last year, the SPLC released a report saying that the US saw a "national outbreak" of hate incidents following Trump's presidential election.
It said that it documented nearly 900 hate incidents within the 10 days after Trump's election on November 8, but noted it was "almost certainly a small fraction of the actual number" because of under-reporting.
Many of the perpetrators invoked the president-elect's name during the incidents, indicating the surge was linked or motivated by his electoral win, the report said.
|The rise in hate groups since Trump started gaining political popularity in 2015 [SPLC]
Source: Al Jazeera