North Carolina leads the nation in the number of violent incidents linked to bigotry, according to a report issued Wednesday, triggering criticism that the state is "riddled with hate mongers."

The report by North Carolinians Against Racist and Religious Violence detailed 53 reported incidents for 1988, including five deaths, 11 assaults, four cross burnings, 20 threats, two weapons charges and eight cases of vandalism."For 1988, the number of reported deaths and injuries tied to bigoted violence rose significantly and many of these incidents involved young people," said Rob Sikorski, the group's executive director.