Monday, February 20, 2017

Trump blamed for anti-Muslim groups tripling in 2016; anti-Muslim speakers touring rural areas

The number of hate groups in the U.S. rose last year for the second year in a row, from 892 to 917, and the number of anti-Muslim groups nearly tripled from 34 to 101, says the Southern Poverty Law Center's annual Census of Hate, which includes state-level maps and appears in its quarterly Intelligence Report.

Mark Potok, a SPLC senior fellow, argues that the rise in hate groups can be attributed to President Trump, saying "the increase in anti-Muslim hate was fueled by Trump’s incendiary rhetoric, including his campaign pledge to bar Muslims from entering the U.S." Along with the rise in hate groups there has been an increase in crimes against Muslims, with FBI statistics showing "that hate crimes against Muslims grew by 67 percent in 2015, the year in which Trump launched his campaign."

Anti-Muslim campaigns have become common in some rural areas, with speakers touring small towns. American Muslims have called Trump the "ring leader" championing mainstream hate.

Nearly 50 of the new anti-Muslim groups "are local chapters of ACT for America, an anti-Muslim activist group that claims Michael Flynn, who this week resigned as Trump’s national security adviser, as a board member," Abigail Hauslohner reports for The Washington Post. "Many of the groups the SPLC identified as part of the rise in extremist activity reject the label of 'hate group.'” (SPLC map: Hate groups in the U.S. For an interactive state-level version click here)

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