AFRICANGLOBE – It’s a White supremacist organisation notorious for racist violence, including the lynchings of Black people.
But the Ku Klux Klan is now looking to diversify and increase its membership to include Jews, Black people, homosexuals and those of Hispanic origin with a re-branding as ‘the new Klan’.
All those wanting to join the extreme right-wing group will still have to wear the white robes, masks and conical hats and take part in rituals, according to founder John Abarr.
The rebranded organisation, called the Rocky Mountain Knights, claims to now stand for ‘a strong America’ rather than irrational hatred.
‘White supremacy is the old Klan. This is the new Klan. The KKK is for a strong America,’ said Mr Abarr.
The move comes after the Klan organiser met with the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People.
He said: ‘I thought it was a really good organisation. I don’t feel we need to be separate.’
But Klan members have said Mr Abarr is trying to make the changes to further his own political career.
Bradley Jenkins, Imperial Wizard of the KKK, said: ‘That man’s going against everything the bylaws of the constitution of the KKK say. He’s trying to hide behind the KKK to further his political career.’
The Klan is classified as a hate group not a terrorist organisation by the Anti-Defamation League and the civil rights law firm Southern Poverty Law Center.
But some Black people have apparently already expressed an interest in joining, after Mr Abarr organised a summit with civil rights groups.
The requirements for joining the new KKK group are to be aged over 18 and live in the Pacific Northwest.
The first Klan was founded in 1865 in Pulaski, Tennessee, by six veterans of the Confederate Army.
Similar groups spread throughout the South as an insurgent movement during the Reconstruction era in the United States.
As a secret terrorist group group, the Klan targeted Black people and their allies and sought to restore White supremacy by threats and violence, including murder, against Black people.
Today the organisation is made up of small, unconnected groups that use the KKK name and have emphasised secrecy and distinctive costumes.
Recent estimates suggest there are between 5,000 and 8,000 members.
By: Jenny Awford
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