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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Tuesday, July 17, 2018

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‘Trump’s presidency fueled growth of U.S. hate groups’

Southern Poverty Law Center

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WASHINGTON, U.S. - According to an assessment released by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the number of U.S. hate groups expanded last year under U.S. President Donald Trump.

According to the report, the groups expanded dramatically in size and power and were fueled by his immigration stance and the perception that he sympathized with those espousing white supremacy. 

The Southern Poverty Law Center said in its report that in 2017, there were 954 hate groups in the country, which marked a 4 percent increase over the previous year when the number rose 2.8 percent.

The civil rights watchdog said in its annual census of such groups that since 2014, the number has jumped 20 percent.

Its report noted that among the over 600 white supremacist groups, neo-Nazi organizations rose to 121 from 99. 

Further, it noted that anti-Muslim groups increased for a third year in a row, to 114 from 101 in 2016.

Addressing reporters, Heidi Beirich, director of the SPLC’s Intelligence Project, said that last year brought “a substantial emboldening of the radical right, and that is largely due to the actions of President Trump, who’s tweeted out hate materials and made light of the threats to our society posed by hate groups.”

Founded in 1971, the Southern Poverty Law Center defines hate groups as organizations with beliefs or practices that demonize a class of people.

Some groups have previously criticized the Alabama-based organization’s findings, skeptics have said that it has mislabeled legitimate organizations as “hate groups.”

Last year, Trump came under fire for saying “both sides” were to blame after violence broke out at a white supremacist rally in Virginia in which a counter-protester was killed.

Trump was also criticized globally for a string of anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim comments, including using a vulgar term to describe Haiti and African countries last month.

According to the report released by the non-profit organization, in a backlash to Trump, the number of black nationalist groups such as the Nation of Islam increased by 20 percent last year, to 233. 

The group added that two male supremacy groups were added to its census for the first time.

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