Report examines Fla. extremist groups

June 15, 2011 at 12:26 PM

MIAMI, June 15 (UPI) -- While Florida residents are racially, ethnically and religiously diverse, the state is also home to racist extremist groups, a report reveals.

The survey by the Anti-Defamation League said some of the groups, including the Ku Klux Klan, date back to the post-Civil War era. Others, like the white supremacist Aryan Nations prison gang, are more recent.

"In 2011, hate groups and anti-government extremist groups can be found in every section of Florida, from the Panhandle to Key West," the report released Tuesday said. "Some engage in criminal activity, while others are more active in propaganda distribution, spreading hatred and intolerance among Florida's citizens, including its children."

Robert Tanen, the ADL's associate regional director, told the Orlando Sentinel its investigators can track hate groups more freely than police. The ADL was founded in 1913 to be a watchdog against anti-Semitism and other forms of ethnic or religious hatred.

"Part of why we put this out is to call these people out, to expose people," Tanen said.

The 44-page report, in addition to white supremacist groups, gives an overview of Islamic extremist, anti-government and extreme animal rights movements. What they all have in common, the report said, is a willingness to use or at least preach violence.

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