Tracking hate groups in the Carolinas

Tracking hate groups in the Carolinas

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - As Charlotteans reflect on the tragedy in Charlottesville where race-fueled protests turned deadly, there are indications of problems in the Queen City as well.

In April, a suspect was charged with arson and ethnic intimidation after police say he set an east Charlotte market on fire and left behind an anti-immigrant letter.

In May, someone left homophobic and KKK graffiti on doors in Lincolnton.

In March, a Muslim mother says she was nursing her baby and threatened at gunpoint outside a Charlotte grocery store.

Imam John Ederer, who leads the Muslim Community Center of Charlotte, says what happened in Charlottesville gave a greater stage to what has been boiling beneath the surface for a long time.

"It was just very sickening to see a group of people that large coming from across the country and feeling very emboldened," said Ederer.

He wasn't surprised to learn the number of hate groups is growing nation-wide. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the number is up nearly 10 percent over 10 years.

The Center has documented 31 hate groups in North Carolina and 12 hate groups in South Carolina for 2017. Most of the documented hate groups nation-wide are affiliated with the KKK, Neo-Nazi's, or White Nationalists, according to the Center.

Members of those groups descended on Charlottesville for a "Unite the Right" rally. In response, hundreds of Charlotteans gathered in Marshall Park Sunday night as a show of support as part of a counter-protest.

Imam Ederer attended with a small group from his mosque.

"There's a lot to do to really get to know each other and educate each other and to talk about real priorities," he said.

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