Is the Ku Klux Klan a terrorist organisation? White supremacist hisotory explained as KKK 'leader' attacks Black Lives Matter protesters

Tens of thousands have signed a petition calling for the KKK to be listed as a terrorist organisation
A Klansman raises his left arm during a "white power" chant at a Ku Klux Klan rally in 2000 (Getty Images)A Klansman raises his left arm during a "white power" chant at a Ku Klux Klan rally in 2000 (Getty Images)
A Klansman raises his left arm during a "white power" chant at a Ku Klux Klan rally in 2000 (Getty Images)

A Ku Klux Klan “leader” has been arrested after he drove his car into Black Lives Matter protestors on Sunday in Virginia.

Harry Rodgers, a self-proclaimed leader of the white supremacist group, drove “recklessly” into protestors and now faces assault and battery charges, with a hate crime investigation also underway.

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The incident has sparked calls for the hate group to be designated as a terrorist organisation.

The demands come after President Donald Trump said that he was looking to list Antifa as a terrorist organisation.

Why is the KKK not listed as a terrorist organisation?

Tens of thousands have signed a petition calling on the KKK to be officially labelled as a terrorist organisation.

The petition, which has garnered over 140,000 signatures, states: "Black Americans have suffered the most under this terror group. Terrorism is the use of violence and intimidation in pursuit of political aims."

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“We ask if ISIS or ISIL is labelled a terrorist group for their acts, then surely the KKK fit the clear description of a terrorist."

Currently the KKK is classed as an extremist domestic group.

ISIS, Boko Haram and Al Qaeda are listed as terrorist organisations as they are international groups that threaten the security of the United States.

There are no domestic terrorism laws in the country yet meaning those charged with far-right violence are charged under hate crime laws, allowing them to invoke their first amendment rights.

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US Attorney David Hickton has previously voiced his frustration at the loophole, stating to Time.: "White supremacy is a greater threat than international terrorism right now… I'd have to pursue a white supremacist with hate crimes, unless he interfaced with Al-Qaeda. Does that make any sense?"

Who are the KKK?

The Ku Klux Klan are an American-based white supremacy group who primarily target African Americans.

They are known for their distinct “uniform” – a white gown with a pointed hood – their use of murder and violence and their right-wing politics.

The Klan has existed in three distinct forms since 1865.

The First Klan aimed to overthrow the Republican governments in the South, using brutal violence against African American leaders. This died out in the 1871.

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The Second Klan was formed in 1915, striving to maintain white supremacy. It grew in popularity following the release of the notoriously racist film Birth of a Nation which glorified the original Klan. Again African Americans, as well as Catholics and Jews, were targeted by the hate group. They also introduced cross burnings and mass gatherings as a method of intimidating groups.

The final incarnation of the Klan was formed in 1946, consisting of local groups. They violently the oppose civil rights movement, resorting to murder and violent assault when targeting activists.

Today, membership is believed to range between 3,000 and 6,000.