WASHINGTON: A record number of hate groups were active in the United States last year, their anger driven by fears of Latino immigration, a souring economy and the election of Barack Obama to the presidency, a report said Thursday.
The report by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) showed that 926 hate groups were active in the United States, a four percent rise from the 888 groups active the previous year and a 56 percent rise from the 602 groups documented in 2000.
“Tough economic times provide fertile ground for those who would foment hate against minorities by scapegoating them for our problems,” said Mark Potok, editor of the quarterly Intelligence Report, which monitors the radical right, in an editorial posted on the SPLC website.
The election of Obama, the first African-American president of the United States, has further “inflamed racist extremists who see it as another sign that their country is under siege by non-whites,” Potok said.
The report said Obama had received “more threats than any other presidential candidate in memory, and several white supremacists were arrested for saying they would assassinate him or allegedly plotting to do so.”
Scores of racially charged incidents including effigy burnings and beatings were reported across the United States after Obama was elected in November.
The hate groups active in the United States include neo-Nazis, white nationalists, racist skinheads, Ku Klux Klan groups, black separatists who don’t like Obama, anti-gay and immigrant groups, and negationists who deny the Holocaust. (economictime.com)