We have been hearing a lot about ‘hate groups’ this week and wondered how Ohio stacked up nationwide.
According to one source, the Southern Poverty Law Center, it made the ‘top ten.’
But one group is not exactly like the other. The KKK and Neo-Nazis are on the list with those who may not necessarily be prone to violence.
And there can be consequences to making the list.
This week marks the 5-year ‘anniversary’ of a shooting at the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C.
The shooter targeted the conservative group after reportedly seeing the council listed on the poverty center’s “hate map” and disagreeing with its position on gay marriage.
The center lists 917 “hate groups” which include 35 in Ohio.
They include so-called black separatists with 7 locations, followed by the KKK (6), Anti-Muslim groups (5), Neo-Nazis (4), racist skinheads (3), white nationalists (3), Anti-LGBT groups (4), “Extreme Christianity” (2) and “Radical Catholicism” (1).
WKYC Channel 3 News reached out to many of the groups to see what they thought of the list.
None would go on camera, though one called it an act of hate itself to be put there.
We also checked with the FBI, which investigates hate groups, to see what investigators thought. Opting out of an on-camera interview, they released the following statement:
"The FBI investigates activity which may constitute a federal crime or pose a threat to national security. Our focus is not on membership in particular groups but on criminal activity. The FBI cannot initiate an investigation based solely on an individual's race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, or the exercise of First Amendment rights, and we remain committed to protecting those rights for all Americans."
In other words, it is not what you believe, but how you act, that can get you in trouble.