What kind of hate groups exist in MN?

After the high-profile neo-Nazi and white supremacist rioting in Charlottesville over the weekend, the SPLC's hate group tracking map is getting a closer look.

MINNEAPOLIS - It might be hard for some people in Minnesota to believe that groups like the ones that gathered in Charlottesville over the weekend exist in their state, too.

But the Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization that tracks active hate groups across the country, says there are currently 10 of them in Minnesota. 

They include a KKK group, an "anti-Muslim" group, two "black separatist" groups, and a Neo-Nazi group that claimed to KARE 11 to have "a couple of hundred" members in Minnesota, among several other groups.

"When I was in the Obama administration as U.S. Attorney, we saw this building. We saw it developing," said former U.S. Attorney Andrew Luger.

Luger says his office actively worked to combat hate groups as they began to increase in Minnesota and around the country over the last 10 years.

"We have it here. No place is immune. But you can't simply point a finger and say it's in that city, it's in that town," Luger said.

In Fargo, a father this week publicly disavowed his son for traveling to Charlottesville and participating in the White Nationalist rally.

That son is now publicly rationalizing it.

"We feel  this is the beginning of a new civil rights era. And we feel it's going to be a pro-white one," said Pete Tefft.

Tony McAleer is a former hate group member who now speaks out against them. 

"Just because you don't see it doesn't mean it doesn't exist," McAleer said.

McAleer and Luger both believe there is more participation in hate groups today, thanks to the Internet and social media.

"Before, the threshold for participation was quite high. And that kept a lot of people at bay," McAleer said.

Now that the groups don't need to meet in person, they're out there, even if you don't see them.

Over the last 17 years, the average number of active hate groups in Minnesota has been about eight, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.  The number peaked at 12 in 2011 and 2012 when the national numbers were also the highest. The numbers started to climb again nationwide over the last two years.

© 2017 KARE-TV


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