published Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

AL-based group finds decline in extremist groups

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — An Alabama group that monitors radical organizations says right-wing extremism is on the decline in the United States.

The liberal Southern Poverty Law Center says the number of hate groups dropped for the second year in a row in 2013, falling 7 percent to 939 last year.

The Montgomery-based legal agency says anti-government "Patriot" groups declined even more. It identifies 1,096 such organizations in the United States, down 19 percent from a year earlier.

A law center report released Tuesday says the trend is different than after the election of President Barack Obama in 2008.

While such organizations were on the rise, the report says several factors now are leading to a decline. Those include the improving economy, law enforcement and mainstream politicians adopting some issues of fringe groups.

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