(KMSP) - In Minnesota, 10 different organizations considered current hate groups are in operation, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization that monitors online activities, rallies and tracks hate crime reports from police.
Compared to the southeastern portion of the country, Minnesota has very few hate groups, but those that exist are actively recruiting.
"You can learn about hate groups with a couple of clicks, and you can become part of the dialogue with a couple of clicks, so it certainly exists here. The FBI and local law enforcement are quite aware of what's happening in Minnesota and are on top of it," said Andrew Luger, the former U.S. Attorney of Minnesota.
Luger has a background in counter-terrorism and prosecuting hate crimes. He says the rise of extremist groups in this country is concerning and what happened in Virginia could have easily happened in Minnesota.
"We certainly have recruiting into violent extremist groups that happen here and it's not just ISIS recruiting," said Luger.
Fox 9 tried reaching out to the groups based in Minnesota, including the National Socialist Movement of Minnesota.
"Currently, with so-called political correctness, white Americans no longer have any mainstream champions in Washington D.C.,” said the group’s voicemail recording. “That all changes today.”
National Socialist Movement of Minnesota eventually responded back to Fox 9 by email. A group leader claims there are a couple hundred active members in Minnesota, but they have more support online.
In an emailed statement the group says in part, "We support the rights for whites to stick together for a greater cause, namely, saving this nation. It may be a slow process, but it is working." The group condemns the deadly violence in Charlottesville.
SPLC has been monitoring hate groups since 1996. Organization officials say the number of groups has doubled since 2000 and after a decline five years ago they have exploded again since the 2016 presidential election.