There has been a rise in the number of hate groups operating in the United States for a second year in a row, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) monitoring group.
In a recent report , the SPLC found that the total number of hate groups in the US in 2016 grew to 917 from 892 a year earlier.
Since 1999, the total number of hate groups in the US has more than doubled.
There are now more anti-Muslim , anti-immigrant, anti-LGBT, white nationalist, neo-Nazi, neo-Confederate and black separatist organisations.
But the number of Ku Klux Klan (KKK) chapters, racist skinhead groups and anti-government militias and political groupings has declined, according to the report.
— AJ Labs (@ajlabs) August 16, 2017
The sharpest increase was among anti-Muslim groups, which grew from 37 to 101 during that period – a 197 percent increase in just one year.
FBI statistics show that hate crimes targeting Muslims had already grown by 67 percent between 2014 and 2015.
The SPLC defines anti-Muslim groups as those that harbour “extreme hostility” towards Muslims, who are “depicted as irrational, intolerant and violent, and their faith is frequently depicted as sanctioning paedophilia, coupled with intolerance for homosexuals and women”.
In 2010, the SPLC knew of only five anti-Muslim groups.
“Beginning in 2010, anti-Muslim legislation increased and opposition to the development of an Islamic centre in lower Manhattan made headlines,” the SPLC notes.
The SPLC’s newly published hate map comes at the same time as a sharp rise in “bias incidents” – instances of hate crimes or harassment and intimidation – following the election of far-right President Donald Trump.
In the first three months following Trump’s election, the group recorded 1,372 bias incidents. Of that total, more than 25 percent were motivated by anti-immigrant sentiments.
Nearly 19 percent of those incidents targeted African Americans, while nearly 10 percent were anti-LGBT and another nine percent targeted Muslims.
“We’ve also seen a steady accumulation of white nationalist flyering reports (at least 85), 78 percent of which occurred on college campuses,” the SPLC adds, explaining that most of these flyers were passed out by organisations affiliated with the Alternative Right (or Alt-Right), a loosely knit movement of far-right groups that include white nationalists, neo-Nazis and others.