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A look at Wisconsin's 'hate' groups

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks "hate" groups nationwide, has identified nine groups operating in Wisconsin. It defines these groups as having "beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics." SPLC says it makes the designation based on the groups' publications and websites, news reports and information from police and others. Membership levels and activities of these groups can be hard to track because some of them operate without centralized leadership, fall apart quickly and may function entirely online.

Here is the 2017 list:

* Aryan Nations Sadistic Souls MC is a motorcycle club is part of the Aryan Nations, an anti-Semitic white supremacist group founded in the 1970s by Richard Butler, whom the SPLC called "the eye of the white supremacist storm." In 2000, the group started to crumble after it was bankrupted by a civil lawsuit brought by the SPLC. The death of Butler, in 2004, further weakened the Aryan Nations.

* Traditionalist Youth Network is an anti-Semitic group. Founded in 2013, the group advocates for racial purity and blames Jews for the world's problems, according to the SPLC. However, one of the founders, Matt Parrott, said it is not a hate group. "We're a nonviolent, non-supremacist, non-hateful identitarian nationalist project," he said

* White Boy Society is a "biker brotherhood" that aims to protect the heritage of white people. According to its website, which has not been updated since 2009, the White Boy Society claims it is "not a hate group or a supremacy group. We do not want nor intend to rule supreme over any other race or culture. We know that if the white race is to survive we must separate and rule over our own destiny."

* White Devil Social Club is a neo-Nazi group, which the SPLC says "perceive(s) 'the Jew' as their cardinal enemy."

* Samanta Roy Institute of Science and Technology is based in Shawano and was founded by Rama Chandra Behera; it is a reclusive religious organization. According to a 2011 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel profile, Behera converted from Hinduism to Christianity and then an "idiosyncratic version of Judaism" and now goes by the name Avraham Cohen. The SPLC categorizes the anti-Catholic group as a "general hate" organization.

* Pilgrims Covenant Church in Monroe is a religious organization that "demonizes LGBT people as threats to children, society and often public health," according to the SPLC. Its website also warns against Catholic teachings. But the organization, led by pastor Ralph Ovadal, says its main goal is to preach the "word of God" and, "Our convictions and beliefs are consistent with historic, evangelical Protestantism."

* Nation of Islam is listed because of "its theology of innate black superiority over whites and the deeply racist, anti-Semitic and anti-gay rhetoric of its leaders," the SPLC said. In Wisconsin, it is based in Milwaukee. In a statement, the Nation of Islam pointed to a column that stated the "hate" designation "is the habitual misnomer used to discredit, and isolate a religious group with an impeccable track record of good works and service, particularly to the black community and other oppressed and marginalized communities throughout the country."

* New Order is a neo-Nazi group based in Milwaukee that calls members "heirs" of Adolf Hitler who support an all-white society. Martin Kerr, New Order's chief of staff, claimed it is not a hate group. "We advocate in favor of our own people, not against other races or ethnicities," Kerr said in an email. "We consider the White people of the world to be a gigantic family of racial brothers and sisters, united by ties of common ancestry and common heritage."

* Stahlhelm Records of Milwaukee claims to be "Wisconsin's only dangerous underground" music distributor that is "arming the elite of the elite with sounds of the eventual revolution." According to the SPLC, such music distributors traffic in "white power" music often used to recruit young people to the "radical right."

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