The Ku Klux Klan (KKK) was founded in 1865. The organization reached almost every southern state five years later. KKK became a vehicle for white southern resistance to the Republican Party’s Reconstruction-era policies that are aimed at establishing both political and economic equality for Black Americans. During this time, KKK members started an underground campaign to intimidate and cause violence directed at white and black Republican leaders.
An online petition was started demanding that the Ku Klux Klan should be listed as a terrorist organization. This petition gained over one million signature in just four days!
This Change.org petition demands that the white supremacist hate group should be formally listed as a terrorist organization. Currently, KKK is classified as a domestic extremist group since there is no specific definition when it comes to domestic terrorist organizations in the United States.
The petition states: “Ever since the inception of the Ku Klux Klan on December 24,1865 they have terrorized American citizens for the color of their skin and opposing views. This group has a long history of murder & intimidation of people based on color and religion. Black Americans have suffered the most under this terror group.”
This “Change KKK status into Terrorist Organization” campaign is just one of the petitions that have also gone viral on the change.org website. There is also a separate petition that calls for the KKK to be classed as a terrorist organization now has reached 178,000 signatures. And there is another petition of the same goal that received more than 100,000 signatures before it was closed. Other than the ones mentioned, there is another petition that is demanding to “Make KKK illegal” that is also nearing a million signatures.
These petitions started to become viral after President Donald Trump said that the far-left and anarchist movement “Antifa,” will be treated as a terrorist organization. This also became popular amid the debates regarding the race relations in the United States after George Floyd’s death that sparked a worldwide protest.
But according to the State Department for this to come to fruition and be listed as a terrorist organization, the group must be a foreign organization that engages in terrorist activities, threaten the security of the country or the American citizens. This definition also explains that President Donald Trump may not be able to classify Anifa as terrorists that are also seen as a movement instead of a coordinated organization. And that is why foreign groups like ISIS and Al-Qaeda are listed as terrorists, but not the KKK.
In addition, people who are expressing far-right and white supremacist views are protected by the First Amendment. Domestic terrorism is not a federal offense. So those who are accused of acting on behalf of the Ku Klux Klan, or other far-right groups during an attack will only face hate crimes charges.
Michael Anthony, one of those who set up a petition at change.org said, “I would love a situation where we have disbanded this group and say that is a part of our history and frowned upon.” He added, “In Germany, you can’t be a Nazi anymore, so why can you still be a Klansmen?”
What about you? Are you in favor of declaring the Ku Klux Klan as a terrorist organization?