BUHL, Minn. (AP) — Community leaders in Minnesota are denouncing efforts by a North Carolina-based Ku Klux Klan group that has distributed hundreds of recruiting flyers in the northeast part of the state.

The group has posted flyers in the city of Virginia, and the towns of Buhl and Embarrass, the Star Tribune reported . Community leaders say they're working to identify who distributed the flyers. The KKK group is based in Pelham, North Carolina, a community more than 1,200 miles away.

"We don't want this kind of crap in our community," said Virginia Mayor Larry Cuffe Jr. "It's racism, is what it is. It's despicable. It's a cancer that will eat away the very fabric of your community if you allow this to continue."

Cuffe said that while leaders are reluctant to give the group more publicity by addressing the issue, it's not something that can be ignored. Leaders plan to meet with the city's Human Rights Commission in order to create a response, he said.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which monitors hate groups, has seen racist groups increase recruitment efforts nationwide, said spokesman Ryan Lenz. The center hasn't identified any organized Klan groups in Minnesota, he said.

The KKK typically focuses recruitment efforts in areas that are predominantly white, Lenz said. The Minnesota cities are in St. Louis County, whose population is 92 percent white and non-Hispanic.

The flyers in Minnesota come at a time when racial tensions have increased over events including last year's deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the removal of Confederate statues across the U.S.

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Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com