President Donald Trump is being blamed for a significant increase in the number of anti-Muslim hate groups in the United States.
A major report released this week said the number of anti-Muslim groups around the country grew by almost 300 percent between 2015 and 2016. The study comes from the influential Southern Poverty Law Center, who credited the uptick directly to Trump’s Islamophobic rhetoric throughout the election. ABC News reports:
The [Southern Poverty Law Center] also said that “several new and energetic groups appeared last year that were almost entirely focused on Trump and seemed to live off his candidacy.” … The SPLC report said the Trump presidency has coincided with a spike in anti-Muslim activity.
In the first 10 days after his election, the SPLC said, it documented 867 bias-related incidents, including more than 300 that targeted immigrants or Muslims.
But the overall growth in hate groups was not limited to anti-Muslim organizations. The number of black separatist groups also grew, to 193 last year from 180 in 2015, as did neo-Confederate groups, to 43 from 35, according to the SPLC.
Experts say there are now more than 100 known anti-Muslim hate groups in the United States, compared to just 34 documented in the previous year. The Southern Poverty Law Center tracks hate groups by examining online information, law enforcement reports, and the news media.
Trump’s statements and actions against Muslim Americans have been well-documented over the years. During the campaign, he called for a ban on Muslims entering the United States, and followed up by issuing an executive order to cut off immigrants and refugees from several Muslim-majority countries. The Trump administration has faced harsh criticism and widespread protests for its anti-Muslim agenda.