Hate groups are on the rise for the second year in a row

Southern Poverty Law Center image
Southern Poverty Law Center

An annual census of hate groups in the United States conducted by the Southern Poverty Law Center shows an increase since 2015. Anti-Muslim hate groups showed the most growth of all, going from 34 in 2015 to 101 in 2016 according to the SPLC’s Intelligence Report.

This growth is accompanied by a spike of crimes against Muslims including a mosque in Texas that was burned after an executive order suspended travel from seven predominantly Muslim countries. Statistics from the FBI show crimes against Muslims grew 67 percent in 2015; the year Donald Trump launched his presidential campaign.

“2016 was an unprecedented year for hate,” said Mark Potok, senior fellow and editor of the Intelligence Report. “The country saw a resurgence of white nationalism that imperils the racial progress we’ve made, along with the rise of a president whose policies reflect the values of white nationalists. In Steve Bannon, these extremists think they finally have an ally who has the president’s ear.”

Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric, including his campaign promise to keep Muslims from entering the United States, is one of the factors fueling the increases. Within the first 10 days of inauguration, the SPLC documented nearly 900 bias-related incidents, including more than 300 that specifically targeted Muslims. A post-election survey of 10,000 educators showed that 90 percent felt the climate at their schools negatively affected by Trump and his rhetoric and 80 percent said anxiety and fear among students, especially immigrants, had risen.