Hate Groups Rise in Ohio Part of National Trend

In its Spring 2017 report, the watchdog group, the Southern Poverty Law Center, cited a rise in the number of hate groups in 2016 in the United States. Ohio ranked eighth in the country, with 35 hate groups scattered around the state.

The SPLC issues an annual report this time each year, enumerating the various hate groups it has identified and providing the watchdog group’s insights into both the groups and various hate crimes, rallies, speeches and more noted in the previous year. Through an interactive map provided by the not-for-profit SPLC, Ohioans and others can track hate activity in the state and around the nation.

In Ohio, the SPLC has identified that the majority of hate groups fall into one of four categories: the Ku Klux Klan, Neo-Nazis, Skinheads and White Nationalists. Each of those four main groups is represented throughout the state of Ohio, while some groups are centered in specific locations, such as The Daily Stormer, a Neo-Nazi group in Worthington and Columbus, Ohio; ACT for America and Sons of Odin, both anti-Muslim groups in Cleveland, Ohio; Act for America also has a Columbus, Ohio location.

Other hate groups that fall outside those four main categories include Pass the Salt Ministries, an anti-LGBT group located in Columbus, Ohio; Faith2Action, another anti-LGBT group located in North Royalton, Ohio; Nation of Islam, a Black Separatist group, and the New Black Panther Party in Dayton, Ohio, among others.

Nationally, the SPLC identified 917 confirmed hate groups in 2016, an increase from 2015 in which 892 such groups were identified. The greatest percentage of groups in that increase were anti-Muslim groups.

The South Poverty Law Center draws its information from websites and publications from the various hate groups, along with using data from law enforcement, citizen reports, news reports and field sources. The SPLC defines a hate group as a group whose beliefs or practices attack or denigrate an entire class of people.

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