Hate groups love Donald Trump. When a person labels undocumented immigrants as rapists and murderers, supremacist organizations take notice. The anti-immigrant narrative is the core of white nationalism. Twelve days after Trump announced he was running for president, the Daily Stormer, America’s popular neo-Nazi news site, endorsed him. So did David Duke, the former Grand Wizard of the KKK and one-term Republican Louisiana State Representative.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, there are currently 784 known hate groups in the United States, including neo-Nazis, Klansmen, white nationalists, racist skinheads, black separatists, Patriot militias, and border vigilantes. The number of hate groups has increased 30 percent since 2000. What caused the surge? Anger over an ailing economy, an influx of nonwhite immigrants and a diminishing white majority, and the election of the nation’s first African-American President all played a role.
Hate groups, however, aren’t limited to the U.S. The Nazi Party could be called a hate group, as well as the Taliban and ISIS –there is a fine line between hate groups and political terror groups. Patrick Buchanon’s controversial book, Death of the West, argues that European peoples are dying out and mass immigration and multiculturalism is polarizing Western society. Anti-Islamic sentiment is on the rise in Europe, exacerbated by the murder of 12 people at the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, in Paris, and the current migrant crisis –more than half a million people, many of them Syrian war refugees, have crossed the Mediterranean into Europe in 2015. In recent months the media blamed Sweden Democrats for provoking arson attacks on asylum centers, and in Germany, over 18,000 people marched through the streets of Dresden protesting the Islamization of the West. While it used to be considered racist even to debate migration in Europe, racism is commonplace today.
10. Oeuvre Francaise
Despite a widespread government crackdown, far-right extremist groups are prevalent France. The Third Way, the Revolutionary Nationalist, and the Desire to Dream are just a few to have been banned by the French government. Pierre Sidos, a far-right political figure, founded Oeuvre Francaise in 1968. It’s described by Interior Minister Manuel Valls as “an association that propagates a xenophobic and anti-Semitic ideology, and racist and revisionists theories which glorify collaboration with Hitler and the Vichy regime.” Valls claims the organization is structured like a private militia complete with paramilitary training camps. Oeuvre Francaise’s red, white, and blue logo looks like a gun target.
9. Reclaim Australia
Reclaim Australia says it’s not a racist organization and doesn’t target Muslims. “We’re not the racists, we’re patriots. And besides, Islam isn’t a race.” Founded in 2015 by John Oliver, Catherine Brennan, and Wanda Marsh, Reclaim Australia is a loosely structured right-wing movement that holds coordinated street rallies to protest Islam. Speakers at Reclaim Australia’s rallies have included Mike Holt, a former One Nation candidate, and Shermon Burgess, a member of the Australian Defense League who once threatened to bomb mosques and murder Australia’s most senior Sunni Muslim cleric –Burgess also has a band, Eureka Brigade, that’s written songs such as “ADL Killing Machine” and “Sh*t on a Mosque.” Nevertheless, Reclaim Australia states that anyone displaying neo-Nazi or extremist material at its rallies will be asked to leave.
8. Die Freiheit (The Freedom Party)
There are several extremist movements in Germany, from Pro Deutschland and Pax Europe to Alternative for Germany Party. The Freedom Party, however, which was founded in 2012, is the most recognized. It’s led by Michael Sturzenberger, the former spokesman for the Munich office of the Christian Social Union, the Bavarian sister party to Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union.
The Freedom Party compares the Koran to Hitler’s Mein Kamp and opposes building mosques and Islamic centers in German cities and towns. Sturzenberger believes that erecting a mosque in Munich or Hanover has nothing to do with religious freedom or tolerance; a mosque is a “symbol of conquest,” he says, and the equivalent of “Muslims planting their flag and declaring dominance over German infidels.”
7. Aryan Brotherhood
Founded in San Quentin State Prison in the 1960s, the Aryan Brotherhood is a white supremacist group that currently has roughly 10,000 members. Its original purpose was to protect white inmates from being attacked or killed by black and Hispanic inmates, particularly the Black Guerilla Family, a gang comprised of black-only members. AB is believed to be responsible for over 30 percent of murders in the federal prison system. In the ’90s, the group shifted its focus from protection and racial killings and began focusing on the economic activities associated with organized crime –drug trafficking, extortion, gambling, and murder-for-hire. Aryan Brotherhood symbols include swastikas, the initials AB, HH (Heil Hitler), and the shamrock
6. Army of God
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, there are 21 Christian hate groups in the U.S. The Army of God is a Christian anti-abortion hate group that uses force to combat abortion in the United States. The group has been linked to a number of abortion clinic bombings and arsons. In 1982, three men associated with Army of God held an abortion doctor and his wife hostage. In 1986, the East Coast division of the group claimed responsibility for planting bombs at seven abortion clinics. And in 2001, Clayton Waagner, acting on behalf of the Virginia Dare chapter of AoG, mailed over 500 letters containing white powder to abortion clinics. He claimed the white powder was anthrax.
5. National Socialist Movement
The National Socialist movement is the largest neo-Nazi organization in the United States, with 61 chapters in 35 states. It was formed in 1974 by former members of the American Nazi Party and is currently run by Jeff Schoep, a charismatic speaker and mobilizer who revamped the group in 1994. The NSM’s core beliefs include “defending the right of white people everywhere, preservation of our European culture and heritage, strengthening family values, and economic self-sufficiency,” among other things. It also proclaims “Adolf Hitler the beloved Holy Father of our Age.”
4. Westboro Baptist Church
“Since 1955, WBC has taken forth the precious from the vile, and so is as the mouth of God (Jer. 15:19).”
The WBC believes the homosexual movement poses a danger to the survival of America, and it views its battle against gay rights as a second civil war. While the WBC has been around since 1955, it gained national attention as a hate group in the ‘90s, when members traveled to Wyoming to protest at Matthew Shepard’s funeral, holding signs that said “God Hates Fa**” and “Matthew Shepard Burns in Hell.” The organization also claims that the death of American soldiers is payback for supporting homosexuality, and that 9/11 was a punishment from God.
3. As-Sabiqun (The Vanguard)
Founded in the 1990s by Imam Abdul Alim Musa, the Anti-Defamation League describes As- Sabiqun “as an anti-Semitic Muslim group that advocates for the creation of a global Islamic state.” The organization is led by speaker and activist Amir Abdul Malik Ali. Al-Sabiqun encourages a moral and spiritual “do for self” methodology similar to the Nation of Islam. Its leaders often speak at Muslim Student Unions on colleges and universities, using the platform to promote hostility towards Jews. In 2010, Malik Ali, a guest at the Muslim Student Union at UC Irvine, expressed his support for Hamas and claimed that Jews were involved in the 9/11 attacks.
2. Jewish Defense League
In 1994, Dr. Baruch Goldstein, a member of the Jewish Defense League, killed 29 Muslims and injured 150 as they prayed at the Ibrahim Mosque in Hebron. The JDL defended Goldstein’s action as a “preventive measure,” and the FBI quickly named the League a right-wing terrorists group. While the JDL claims its goal is to “protect Jews from anti-Semitism” and that it has a “strict no tolerance policy for terrorism,” the group has been involved in plotting and executing terrorist acts in the United States and abroad. In October 2015, over 100 protestors attacked the Agence France Presse building in Paris. Twelve JDL members armed with batons assaulted David Perrotin, a leading French journalist.
1. Ku Klux Klan
The Ku Klux Klan originated in the Southern United Sates in the post-Civil War years as a protest to the Civil Rights Movement. With several chapters in the South, the Klan flourished in the Reconstruction Era and sought to overthrow Republican state governments by using violence against African American activists and leaders. The second manifestation of the KKK occurred in the 1920s, and its ideology expanded to oppose Jews, Catholics, homosexuals, and immigrants; this is the Klan era that saw the introduction of hooded robes and mass parades.
Today, several white supremacist and right wing extremist organizations use the KKK name. Most of these groups call for the purification of America and a return to 19th century nativism. It’s estimated that there are between 5,000 and 8,000 Klan members in the United States. A hacking collective known as “Anonymous” recently leaked the identities of more than 350 Klan members.
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