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Ku Klux Klan Rebounds With New Focus On Immigration, ADL Reports

New York, NY, February 6, 2007 The Ku Klux Klan, which just a few years ago seemed static or even moribund compared to other white supremacist movements such as neo-Nazis, experienced "a surprising and troubling resurgence" during the past year due to the successful exploitation of hot-button issues including immigration, gay marriage and urban crime, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

The League, which monitors the activities of racist hate groups and reports its findings to law enforcement and policymakers, has documented a noticeable spike in activity by Klan chapters across the country.  The KKK believes that the U.S. is "drowning" in a tide of non-white immigration, controlled and orchestrated by Jews, and is vigorously trying to bring this message to Americans concerned or fearful about immigration.

"If any one single issue or trend can be credited with re-energizing the Klan, it is the debate over immigration in America," said Deborah M. Lauter, ADL Civil Rights Director. "Klan groups have witnessed a surprising and troubling resurgence by exploiting fears of an immigration explosion, and the debate over immigration has, in turn, helped to fuel an increase in Klan activity, with new groups sprouting in parts of the country that have not seen much activity."

The full ADL report includes a slide show of recent Klan meetings and rallies and a state-by-state listing of active Klan chapters, or "Klaverns," across the country.

ADL has identified the following states as being notable for active or growing Klan chapters:

SOUTH: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas

MIDWEST: Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan and Ohio
 
GREAT PLAINS: Iowa and Nebraska

MID-ATLANTIC: Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and West Virginia

The troubling Klan resurgence has manifested itself in a number of ways:

  • Longstanding groups have increased their activity and experienced a rapid expansion in size.
  • New groups have appeared, causing racial tensions in communities previously untroubled by racial issues.  They hold anti-immigration rallies and recruitment drives and distribute racist literature with a new emphasis on the immigration issue, and Hispanics.
  • Klan groups have become more active in parts of the country that had not seen much activity in recent years, including the Great Plains States such as Iowa and Nebraska, and Mid-Atlantic states such as Maryland, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
  • Klan groups increasingly are cooperating with neo-Nazi groups, especially the Minnesota-based National Socialist Movement.
  • The Klan has adopted new publicity tricks, such as sending racist fliers to school teachers during Black History Month, and has embraced the Internet as a means to spread anti-Semitism and racism.  One group, the Empire Knights of the KKK, runs an Internet-based radio station, dubbed "KKK Radio," which broadcasts white power music and racist and anti-Semitic propaganda.

Reinventing the Klan

"Although some Klansmen may still hold cross-burnings dressed in robes and hoods, today's young Klansmen are more likely to look virtually indistinguishable from racist skinheads or neo-Nazis," said Ms. Lauter.  "Today's Klansmen may be as likely to gather at white power music concerts or socialize at so-called 'unity rallies' with other white supremacists, as to participate in ritualistic cross burnings in the rural wilderness."

Since the early 1990s, Klan groups have become increasingly "nazified," with members embracing and immersing themselves in neo-Nazi and racist skinhead subcultures, adopting the music, dress, tattoos and imagery of neo-Nazis, according to ADL.  Another trend has been "the collusion and cross-fertilization" of Klan chapters and other major American racist groups.

In March 2006, for example, about 80 members of the National Socialist Movement and various Klan groups met in Laurens, South Carolina, to discuss ways to increase cooperation.  Groups on hand for the event included the National Socialist Movement, Aryan Nations, the Griffin Knights of the KKK, the Teutonic Knights of the KKK and the Yahweh Knights of the KKK.


The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.



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2007 Anti-Defamation League