Fewer Northwest Hate Groups Listed

By Tom Bacon

There were fewer active hate groups in Idaho, Oregon and Washington last year than in 2012, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center which tracks such organizations. A couple of major factors in letting the air out of the tires of some of the radical groups - Congress's failure to enact new restrictive gun laws, and inability to agree on immigration reforms.

Mark Potok, the author of the new report on hate groups, said the number of active hate groups in Idaho fell from 17 in 2012 to nine last year. In Washington, the number dropped from 16 to 10. Only in Oregon, with nine hate groups listed by the Poverty Law Center did the number remain the same.

Oddly, two of the hate groups listed in Oregon are black separatist religious groups  - one in Portland and one in Beaverton - called The Israelite Church of God in Jesus Christ. Potok said that "if we seek to expose white hate groups, we cannot be in the business of explaining away the black ones".

The Idaho groups include the Aryan Nations, and in Coeur d' Alene, two holocaust denial groups, one of them called the International Conspiratological Association. Six of the listed hate groups in Washington are neo-Nazi or white nationalist. The new report also lists  Saint Michael's Parish/ Mount Saint Michael in Spokane as anti-Semitic. Potok said that the gun control issue essentially died and went away nationally last year, and took with it some of the momentum of the extreme far-right.

Despite a steady downward trend of active hate groups identified by the SPLC, there are still far more such organizations than in the past.
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