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Annual report cites rise in hate groups, but some ask: What is hate?

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Potok notes that the slowdown in the increase of the number of so-called "nativist" anti-immigration groups is probably related to the enactment of tough new measures against illegal immigrants, such as in Arizona. But while legislators in states such as Virginia and Montana have proffered a slew of antifederal legislation this year, the mainstreaming of hard-right issues hasn't dramatically “taken the wind out of the sails” of Patriot groups, he says.

“[Despite] historic Republican gains, the early signs suggest that even as the more mainstream political right strengthens, the radical right has remained highly energized,” the report states.

As evidence, the report points to an 11-day period in January when “a neo-Nazi was arrested headed for the Arizona border with a dozen homemade grenades; a terrorist bomb attack on a Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade in Spokane, Wash., was averted after police dismantled a sophisticated anti-personnel weapon; and a man who officials said had a long history of antigovernment activities was arrested outside a packed mosque in Dearborn, Mich., and charged with possessing explosives with unlawful intent. That’s in addition, the same month, to the shooting of US Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona, an attack that left six dead and may have had a political dimension.”

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