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February 22, 2019

Number of hate groups in U.S. is at four-year high, and 10 are based in Philadelphia

The Southern Poverty Law Center released new data this week in its latest 'Intelligence Report'

Racism Hate Groups
KKK Bridesburg Emily Capra/Provided PHOTO

Ku Klux Klan recruitment flyers were discovered in Bridesburg last year.

The number of hate groups across the United States has been steadily rising over the last four years, including a higher presence of groups operating out of Philadelphia, according to a new report from the Southern Poverty Law Center.

The SPLC "Intelligence Report" says there are 36 hate groups operating in Pennsylvania – among them are chapters of national hate groups, statewide organizations, and groups specifically headquartered in Philadelphia. Of the state's three dozen groups, 10 operate out of Philadelphia, plus one more in Upper Darby, according to the SPLC.

On par with recent years, the SPLC cites increased political polarization, anti-immigrant sentiment, and online propaganda as sources for the growing number of hate groups in the U.S. SPLC defines a hate group as those having "beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics."

The number of groups in Philadelphia is a significant increase compared to the 2018 report, which noted just four active groups.

The groups in last year's report included the racist skinheads Be Active Front USA, which is still active. The three other groups, all black nationalist organizations – the Nation of Islam, the Israelite School of Universal Practical Knowledge and the Israelite Church of God in Jesus Christ – are also all still active, according to SPLC's 2019 report.

The latest report identifies six more Philadelphia-based hate groups:

• East Coast Knights of the True Invisible Empire (Ku Klux Klan)
• Israel United in Christ (black nationalist, with another chapter in Pittsburgh)
• Revolutionary Black Panther Party (black nationalist)
• The Right Stuff
(white nationalist, with another chapter in Pittsburgh)
• The United Nuwaupians Worldwide/All Eyes on Egipt (black nationalist)
• Trumpet in Philly (black nationalist)

Bucks County is home to an 11th regional group, The Shoebat Foundation, an anti-Muslim organization in Newtown.

The surge in Philly-based hate groups is a shift compared to the city's progress between the 2017 and 2018 reports, when the number of Philadelphia hate groups had decreased from seven to four.

SPLC's report includes a full interactive map showing how hate groups are dispersed across the nation. California, Florida, and Texas lead the U.S. with the most hate groups: 83, 75, and 73, respectively. Pennsylvania, with 36 groups, falls at the higher end of the spectrum, comparable to Ohio (36), Tennessee (36), and Virginia (39).

New Jersey has 18 reported hate groups, while Delaware is tied with Rhode Island with only two. Vermont and Wyoming have among the lowest number of hate groups overall, with one each.

In addition to the 10 hate groups specifically operating out of Philadelphia, there are a number of statewide groups also applicable to the Philadelphia region. The statewide groups include:

• American Guard (general hate)
• Asatru Folk Assembly (general hate)
• Blood and Honour Social Club (racist skinhead)
• The Creativity Alliance (neo-Nazi)
• The Daily Stormer (neo-Nazi)
• Identity Evropa (white nationalist)
• Keystone State Skinheads (racist skinhead)
• Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan
• National Socialist Liberation Front (neo-Nazi)
• National Socialist Movement (neo-Nazi)
• Proud Boys (general hate)
• Vanguard America (neo-Nazi)

Throughout the entire U.S., SPLC reports, there were 1,020 hate groups operating in 2018 – a 30 percent increase compared to the number reported in 2014. The report also notes a 30 percent rise in hate crimes reported to the FBI, citing at least 50 killings in 2018.

Look through the full SPLC hate map here.

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