Over a Million People Sign Petition Calling For KKK to Be Declared a Terrorist Group

An online petition demanding that the Ku Klux Klan be listed as a terrorist organization has gained more than one million signatures in just four days.

The Change.org petition is demanding that the white supremacist hate group be formally listed as a terrorist organization by the government.

Currently, the KKK are classified as a domestic extremist group as there is no definition for domestic terrorism organizations in the U.S.

"Ever since the inception of the Ku Klux Klan in December 24,1865 they have terrorized American citizens for the color of their skin and opposing views," the petition states. "This group has a long history of murder & intimidation of people based on color and religion.

Newsweek subscription offers >

"Black Americans have suffered the most under this terror group."

The "Change KKK status into Terrorist Organization" campaign is one of a number of similar petitions to have gone viral in recent days on the change.org website.

One petition calling for the KKK to be classed as a terrorist organization has gained 178,000 signatures, with a second receiving more than 100,000 before it was closed. Another petition demanding "Make the KKK illegal" is also approaching one million signatures.

The petitions started to go viral after President Donald Trump said the far-left and anarchist movement antifa will be treated as a terrorist organization. They also gained popularity amid ongoing debates about race relations in the U.S. in the wake of the death of Minneapolis man George Floyd which sparked worldwide protests.

Newsweek subscription offers >

During one such protest in Richmond, Virginia, a man who allegedly drove into a crowd of people who was later found to be a KKK leader.

The State Department says a group must be a foreign organization who engage in terrorist activity that threatens the security of the U.S. or American citizens to be listed as a terrorist organization.

This means that foreign groups such as ISIS and Al-Qaeda are listed as terrorists, but the KKK are not.

The definition also suggests Trump may not be able to class antifa as terrorists, who are also seen as a movement rather than a coordinated organization.

People who express far-right and white supremacist views are protected by the First Amendment. As domestic terrorism is not a federal offense, those accused of acting on behalf of the KKK or other far-right groups while carrying out an attack or other crimes can only face hate crimes charges.

A State Department spokesperson told Newsweek they do not discuss specific designations or internal deliberations when asked about the petitions calling for the KKK to be classed as a terrorist group.

Elsewhere, another petition calling for acts of racism to be treated as terrorism in the wake of Floyd's death has gained more than 200,000 signatures.

The change.org petition is calling for the introduction of "George's Law," which would expand the definition of terrorism to include racially motivated attacks, as well as listing hate groups such as the KKK as terrorist organizations.

"I would love a situation where we have disbanded this group and say that is a part of our history, and frowned upon," activist Michael Anthony, who set up the petition, told Newsweek.

"In Germany you can't be a Nazi anymore, so why can you still be a Klansmen?"

kkk
A member of the Ku Klux Klan salutes during American Nazi Party rally at Valley Forge National Park September 25, 2004 in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. William Thomas Cain/Getty
Over a Million People Sign Petition Calling For KKK to Be Declared a Terrorist Group | U.S.