Hoosier Hate Groups on the Rise

By Megan Trent

February 23, 2011 Updated Feb 23, 2011 at 8:25 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - Spreading hate. A report recently released by the Southern Poverty Law Center indicates that radical groups on the hard-right grew by 22% in 2010.

The SPLC tracks four distinct extremist groups - hate groups that hate an entire population of people (like Neo Nazis), anti-government patriot groups (militias), nativist extremist groups (anti-immigrant groups) and religious-right anti-gay groups.

For two years, those groups have been increasing dramatically. Indiana has 24 such groups overall. Roanoke is home to WTM Enterprises, a white nationalist group. Warsaw is home to a neo nazi group, the White Aryan Resistance. Van Wert, Ohio has a group of Ku Klux Klan members.

Nationally, it was the militia groups that saw the biggest increase. There was a 61% growth in 2010 with 312 new groups popping up in the U.S.

Why the increase? SPLC officials say the primary cause is changing racial demographics. Caucasians are expected to become the minority by 2050. Second, the economy has people angry and upset at the government. The results, say SPCL officials, are heightened political vitriol and a rise in the threat of domestic terrorism.

Mark Potok is the Director of the Intelligence Report out of the SPLC. "What I would say overall is that certainly most members of these groups, even the really hard Klan groups and Neo Nazi groups, are not going to engage in criminal violence as a general matter. But the fact is there's a certainly percentage of people out there who are set off by the kind of propaganda they hear and their own take on what's going on out there."

These are all groups from the hard-right, but what about from the left? Potok says there certainly are some environmental and animal rights extremist groups, but he says they don't track the exact numbers because they aren't as large or and their actions are not typically motivated by hate.

Potok adds that people are entitled to whatever personal beliefs they would like (liberal or conservative), but says it crosses the line when that includes harassment or spreading false propaganda.


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