Just last March Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered a State Police investigation into the distribution of white supremacist fliers in Upstate NY neighborhoods. He had already ordered probes into bomb threats that have been leveled against several Jewish Community Centers across the state this year and also ordered a special State Police task force to investigate vandalism at a Jewish cemetery in Rochester.
A new report from the Southern Poverty Law Center claims the number of hate groups in the U.S. are on the rise, which it blames on terrorist attacks as well as President Trump's rhetoric.
In its annual report on U.S. extremist groups, the Alabama-based nonprofit says the number of hate groups rose from 892 in 2015 to 917 last year, with the number of anti-Muslim groups rising from 34 to 101.
In a conference call with reporters, senior fellow Mark Potok said the increase was due in part to Trump's language about Muslims and his 2015 call for "a complete and total shutdown of Muslims entering the United States."
"Trump’s election has been absolutely electrifying to the radical right," Potok said.
The annual report has faced criticism in the past from some of its targets, who argue that it unfairly lumps them with the likes of the Ku Klux Klan, but the SPLC maintains that it defines hate groups as organizations that attack an entire class of people and that use lies or name-calling.
This year's list includes more than 40 chapters of ACT! for America, a group which has pushed for state laws banning Sharia law. ACT! for America says that it is not anti-Muslim, though the SPLC notes that its founder, Brigitte Gabriel, has questioned whether practicing Muslims can be loyal U.S. citizens.
America's active hate groups are on the rise!
"[ACT! was] claiming 800 chapters [in 2015] and we couldn’t find really any activity in those chapters at all, so it seemed like a bogus claim," Potok told TIME. "The reason they came to life was the Syrian refugee crisis. We spent a lot of time verifying that there were real groups on the ground with real leaders."
The SPLC breaks down entries by local chapters "not [as] an effort on our part to swell the numbers," Potok said, but as "an effort to be serious about education people about where these groups are and how large they are." To qualify as a hate group, organizations must exhibit on-the-ground activity that could include rallying, committing crimes, spreading leaflets, accepting memberships or selling literature, he said.
The report also noted a change in how hate groups are organized. Chapters of the Ku Klux Klan shrunk by 32%, which the SPLC said was in part due to the rise of so-called "alt right" groups which are "a recent rebranding of white supremacy for public relations purposes, albeit one that de-emphasizes Klan robes and Nazi symbols in favor of a more 'intellectual' approach."
Here is the full list of the 917 groups, broken down by chapter (* indicates headquarters; some groups have independent state and local branches), that the SPLC designates as hate groups:
Ku Klux Klan
With its long history of violence, the Klan is the most infamous — and oldest — of American hate groups. When the Klan was formed in 1865, it was a single, unitary organization. Today, there are dozens of competing Klan groups. Although black Americans have typically been the Klan’s primary target, it has also attacked Jews, immigrants, homosexuals, and Catholics.
Christian American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan
Church of the National Knights of the Ku Klux Klan
Horn Lake, MS
Confederate White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan
Saint Martinville, LA
Toms River, NJ
East Coast Knights Of The True Invisible Empire
Georgia Knight Riders of the Ku Klux Klan
Live Oak, FL
Great Lakes Knights of the Ku Klux Klan
International Keystone Knights of the Ku Klux Klan
Knights of the Ku Klux Klan
Knights of the White Disciples
Ku Klos Knights of the Ku Klux Klan
Church Hill, TN*
Hazel Green, AL
Cape Coral, FL
Battle Creek, MI
Chapel Hill, NC
Oil City, PA
Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan
San Francisco, CA
Clay City, IL
Baton Rouge, LA
Hampton Bays, NY
Fort Worth, TX
Militant Knights Ku Klux Klan
Nordic Order Knights of the Ku Klux Klan
Dawson Springs, KY*
North Mississippi White Knights Of The Ku Klux Klan
Old Dominion Knights of the Ku Klux Klan
Old Glory Knights of the Ku Klux Klan
Original Knight Riders Knights of the Ku Klux Klan
Outlaw Knights of the Ku Klux Klan
Pacific Coast Knights of the Ku Klux Klan
Patriotic Brigade Knights of the Ku Klux Klan
Rebel Brigade Knights True Invisible Empire
Southern Ohio Knights of the Ku Klux Klan
Texas Rebel Knights of the Ku Klux Klan
Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan
Park Hills, MO*
United Dixie White Knights Ku Klux Klan
United Klans of America
United Northern and Southern Knights
of the Ku Klux Klan
East Ellijay, GA*
United White Knights
of the Ku Klux Klan
New Boston, TX
White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan of America
These groups share a hatred for Jews and an admiration for Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany. While they also hate other minorities, homosexuals, and even sometimes Christians, they perceive “the Jew” as their cardinal enemy and trace social problems to a Jewish conspiracy that supposedly controls governments, financial institutions, and the media.
America First Committee
American Nazi Party
Aryan Nations (Louisiana)
Aryan Nations Sadistic Souls MC
Wood River, IL*
Aryan Nations Worldwide
Villa Rica, GA
Aryan Renaissance Society
New York, NY
San Antonio, TX
Creativity Movement, The
Daily Stormer, The
Los Angeles, CA
Mountain View, CA
Santa Cruz, CA
Santa Monica, CA
St. Louis, MO
Las Vegas, NV
Wichita Falls, TX
By: Sarah Begley