A recent article on Facebook revealed an image of present-day Muslim extremist fighters in their black veiled Arab dress, and a picture of Ku Klux Klan members in their conical hats, masks and robes. It posed the question: as no-one believes the Ku Klux Klan is representative of Christians, why do so many folks think the jihadists are representative of Muslims? The juxtaposition of these two pseudo-fascist groups is interesting. While it may convey the message of the danger of linking many with all the crimes of a few, it also raises questions about fundamental differences between the two groups.
There can be no doubt about the spiritual nature of the jihadist movement in Islam. The stated goal is to see the whole world administered as an Islamic state under Sharia Law.
By comparison, the aims and objectives of the Ku Klux Klan seem trivial and parochial. In their three manifestations since the late 1860s, they’ve focussed their anger against black Americans freed from captivity, then from the 1920s against Jews and Catholics and more recently against the Civil Rights Movement. Their scope was American instead of global and their motivation was racist instead of religious. Nobody, not even themselves, ever thought of the KKK as representing the whole of Christianity, or promoting a new world order based on the parables of the New Testament.
While virtually all American Christian denominations have officially denounced the KKK, many radical imams preach support for jihad, and Moslem masses in many Middle Eastern countries fill the streets in celebration of what they see as the victories of al Qaida and ISIS. In summary, while most Christians certainly oppose the KKK, the jihadists enjoy widespread support amongst Moslems.
Although support for jihad has been described as widespread, it is still a minority aspiration and should rightly not be ascribed to all Moslems. To preserve this sense of equilibrium, the comparison of the jihadists with the KKK may be helpful. But out of the USA that the Ku Klux Klan is regarded as a purely American manifestation and ridiculed rather than feared, whereas the jihadist threat spreads serious concern in every land.