A Montana member of the Ku Klux Klan announced this week that he is recruiting members for a new, more inclusive chapter of the notorious group.
According to Great Falls Tribune, John Abarr of Great Falls claims that he and the Klan have renounced their white supremacist ways.
“The KKK is for a strong America,” Abarr told the Tribune. “White supremacy is the old Klan. This is the new Klan.”
Abarr — who last year held a summit in Casper, Wyoming that was attended by a delegation from the NAACP — says that his views on race have been evolving, and that he is prepared to walk away from his decades of work with white supremacist organizations in Montana and Wyoming.
This new Klan, Abarr said, will dedicate itself to fighting the federal government and its attempts to establish a “new world order” under a single, worldwide government.
Rights organizations who are familiar with Abarr, however, are skeptical.
“If John Abarr was actually reformed, he could drop the label of the KKK,” said Rachel Carroll-Rivas of the Montana Human Rights Network.
Downplaying their racist history and intent, she said, is Abarr and the Klan’s attempt to remain viable in a changing world. She characterized the stated inclusiveness policy is window dressing for an organization that remains racist at its core.
“They know that their beliefs aren’t popular, so they try to appear moderate. I think it’s just a farce,” she said. “Our mission for the last 24 years has been to shine a light on hatred.”
Even other Klansmen are dubious.
“That man’s going against everything the bylaws of the constitution of the KKK say,” said Bradley Jenkins, imperial wizard of the United Klans of America to the Tribune‘s Kristen Cates. “He’s trying to hide behind the KKK to further his political career.”