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According to an annual survey released Wednesday by the Southern Poverty Law Center, the number of hate groups operating in the United States reached its highest level in two decades last year.

Driven by a surge in extremism, the number of active groups termed hate by the civil rights organization rose to 1,020, up from 784 just four years ago. From 2017 to 2018, it was up 7%.

The groups range from white supremacists to black nationalists, from neo-Nazis to neo-confederates.

The annual count, however, is controversial. This gives the same hate label to some conservative churches or political groups such as Catholic Family Ministries (considered a "general hate group") or conservative Texas Republicans (anti-gay brand) to groups like Ku Klux Klan or the Americans. Nazi party.

Heidi Beirich, director of the SPLC Intelligence Project, told USA TODAY that groups deemed sufficiently heinous by SPLC to conduct the investigation were carefully examined before being added and that "we are trying to be cautious . "

The most significant growth of the past two years has been in White Nationalist organizations, which have grown from 193 to 264, said Beirich, the author of the report. It marks a resurgence after the massive rally of 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia, which has drawn attention to the movement.

"Much of the energy of the radical right this year was concentrated in the middle of white supremacy," the report says. "After a lull that followed the violence in Charlottesville, which resulted in criminal prosecutions and civil suits that temporarily held back the activism and organization of the radical right, new groups took of magnitude ".

Flowers surround a photo of 32-year-old Heather Heyer, who was killed when a car shot down on a crowd protesting against the Unite the Right white supremacist rally on August 13, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia . (Photo11: Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images)

All are concerned about declining white food, as Census Bureau forecasts show that Caucasians will lose their majority by 2044, according to the report. After a sharp drop in the first half of the decade – Beirich said that these groups had been driven underground – they resumed life in the run-up to the 2016 election.

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Although the United States no longer has an African-American president, hate groups were motivated by what they saw as too slow progress in achieving their goals, as President Donald Trump is prevented from building a wall along the Mexican border, she said. . Last week, Trump declared a national emergency to try to build the wall without congressional approval.

Interestingly, the report indicates that the Ku Klux Klan appears to be in decline. The group, despite a history that goes back more than a century, was marked by internal quarrels and difficulties in connecting to a younger generation.

"The KKK has not been able to seduce racist youth, with its old-fashioned traditions, strange clothes and lack of digital technology.Young extremists prefer … polos and khakis to Klan dresses" , did he declare.

But the report also points out that there is no shortage of hateful alternatives, whether it's neo-Nazi, racist skinheads or other people who direct their anger against immigrants. ; lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT); Muslims or others.

Black nationalist groups, often described as anti-Semitic, anti-lesbian, gay, transgender and anti-white, have grown in scale. They were motivated by events such as the outcry over NFL players who knelt in the national anthem game and the rhetoric of controversial figures such as the leader of the Nation of Islam. Louis Farrakhan. But these groups can be "very, very marginal and they do not produce the violence that white supremacy does," said Beirich.

At least one of the outfits added to the SPLC list did not seem to worry about it.

A leader of the American Freedom Party, a group based in New York, said on his website that the "core of European population" was overwhelmed by "tens of millions of legal and illegal immigrants", s & # Is said to be delighted.

"I'm flattered," said President William Johnson in the United States TODAY'S HUI. "It really helps to improve our reputation" when the party is grouped with groups close to the mainstream supporting Trump and those related to Catholicism. He said the list is so long that it loses all meaning.

"I do not know of any organization that says I'm a hate group, I'm a group of love," said Johnson. He said that the American Freedom Party has "nationalists of all nationalities and races" among its members and that "whites are more and more comfortable to be proud of their heritage" .

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