Racism - Understanding and deconstructing it through a narrative and post-structuralist approach

Case stories:

Deconstructing my own early racism
2 -  Gangster Alphonso Makell - helping to create a positive narrative
3 - KKK Grand Dragon Robert Moore - love disguised as hate

4 - Bringing Klan leaders and others into new situations and narratives
5 - KKK Grand Imperial Wizard Jeff Berry - love disguised as hate
6 - KKK speech writer Raine Carraway - love disguised as hate

- Mass murderers - killing niggers, but loving blacks


1 - Deconstructing my own early racism

(illustrated in presentation with hundreds of my crime photos)

Now I will present a few case stories. The first one is about me. Just as I today give my students a helping hand to deconstruct a negative racist discourse which is paralyzing their lives, I myself once received a helping hand. As a young Dane in the 70’es I did not consider myself a racist. It was before Denmark became as racist as today. But when you come – young and naïve – to America you quickly adapt the prevailing narrative. Typically we whites first end up staying with white Americans with all their constant warnings, “Don’t go two blocks this way or four blocks that way!” They rarely mention the word “blacks”, but you quickly understand that they are the ones they are warning you against. So they planted fear in me of blacks and fear is racism when you end up avoiding everyone in a group without giving them a chance. The result was that I constantly sent out signals of fear through in my fearful eyes and aversive behavior. Thus I was basically telling the children of pain that “you are a bad guy, I have reason to fear you.” But this was the same message they had always received from other whites. Through our ghettoization of them, street criminals already feel “bad” about themselves, so inevitably my racist body language restimulated their bad feelings about themselves which made them explode in anger and attack me. From 1970-72 I was mugged 4 times by gun yielding gangs and countless times by knifemen not to speak of hostile, verbal abuse like “Get the hell out of here, white motherfucker”. This is a language we have already created in some of our 2nd generation immigrants in Denmark – exactly the same way. And this was before I even dared to enter the ghettos. So this of course all made me think even MORE racist towards blacks and naturally I wouldn’t have made America Pictures if I had continued believing in such a negative discourse about blacks. I had to get a helping hand. This happened in the following way. In my fear of blacks the first years I mainly hitchhiked around to all the big student towns – or rather youth ghettos – they have around universities in America. They are fairly safe – although not always for women. Often I here got to stay with some black students. Needless to say they were of the better-behaving and more educated type. By living with them I gradually learned to see blacks not any longer as dangerous monsters I should fear, but as loving human beings I could trust. Often they had their brothers visiting from their home ghettoes and that way I also unlearned my racism to them and to trust them. As I thus freed myself of the white racist fear, without myself knowing it at the time, my body language apparently changed so that I started sending opposite signals out to the children of pain such as “You are good, I have reason to trust you.” All people are starving for positive encouragement, but nobody as much as those who have suffered rejection from our aversive behavior since childhood. “You are ok, you are all right!” I now signaled to them in my body language. For them this was a message of love and everybody in the world is starving for love. So from the moment I learned such non-violent communication even the worst ghetto criminals - and later as we shall see even mass murderers and KKK-people – melted at my feet and took me by the hand to show me around in their world of pain. From now on I started feeling safe everywhere. America opened up for me and I could now – unlike Americans themselves - travel as a free human being. For the racists are not a free person when they constantly have to look over the shoulders fearing those they have marginalized, the disease blacks called American neck disease. From 1972 until today I have not been attacked or robbed a single time even though the crime and murder rate exploded in the intervening 38 years and is now ten times as high. Since then I have seen and photographed my friends often commit the most brutal crimes, but I never feel fear. This clearly shows that it is in our deep self-interest to unlearn our racism, for we have a duty to ourselves and our loved ones to stay alive in a more and more violent world. And that you can only do by having complete faith in the inner goodness in people and thereby helping it to thrive and blossom. If you construct a negative discourse about them and build your relation to their evil sides, you will soon self-destruct by seeing them attack you.
But once you have learned such non-violent communication or positive thinking the world opens up for you. I constantly experiment with myself to see if it works everywhere. When I come those countries suffering from the most violent and negative discourses – such as South Africa and Haiti – I usually call up the police and ask “Where is the highest murder rate?” And then I move into that neighborhood, for what is prejudice if not to be challenged and deconstructed and what is the world if not to have fun it?

By telling you how I deconstructed my early racism I was myself committing a crime – or experimenting with you. For here I told two opposite narratives at the same time. One giving you hope and the other with all these pictures of black gangsters one giving you fear of blacks and reinforcing the negative narrative. I wonder if this is not the same dilemma you as narrative therapists find yourself in. That it is difficult externalizing the problem without showing it and thus reinforcing it.  In any case this is the reason that blacks find very little hope in my show American Pictures, but usually tell me my workshop next day is the first time ever they have seen a glimmer of hope.

2 -  Gangster Alphonso Makell

- helping to create a possitive narrative



Alphonso with his son Nathaniel, 1971.

Daughters Alfrida and Joann are very sad when they tell me Alphonso has just gone to prison.

Alphonso and his gang tried to attack and rob me just at the time when I had learned non-violent communication so we ended up as life long friends instead and followed him around when he robbed others. As a gangster and heroin addict he had been locked up in a very negative narrative about himself although he had was been an idealistic Black Panther.


Alphonso's wife Claudine visiting him in prison. Since their marriage fell apart.

Alphonso with his son in prison

Here he is with his wife and the first time I saw him in prison. When the family now missed his income as a gangster, his son tried a bank robbery and is here locked up with him. The family fell apart, but somehow Joann and Alfrida made it.



I am delivering books to Alphonso on Broadway in Baltimore

Alphonso on Danish TV.

Here he is in the 80’es when I tried to create an alternative narrative for my gangster friends. My book had become a bestseller in Europe and several American publishers competed to publish it. But when I had meetings with I found out that none of them had a single black employee – except perhaps the elevator man – and there was no way I wanted to support such institutionalized racism. So I decided to print it myself in Denmark and had shipload after shipload of books sent over in order to let the people photographed in my book as well as gangsters and homeless people sell it on the street.


Alphonso selling books to locals in the ghetto

Alphonso with books

In Baltimore Alphonso was my distributor and what very much motivated the gangsters was the new alternative narrative I constructed for them. “Don’t go around knocking the white man down with your guns. Beat him his head with my book to make some money. That way you can get money for your dope without going to jail.” They loved the idea since my book expressed all the anger and pain they could now externalize out on racism while in the process get into a dialogue with whites. But it was not the best way for myself to make money.


With Nathaniel as a child

Distributing books to Nathaniel just a month before he was murdered

Alphonso’s son Nathaniel here was murdered before he had a chance to pay me off, the same happened for one of my booksellers in Washington and one in Philadelphia. But bookselling should first of all be fun and help create some social change. And rarely have I had so much fun.


Alphonso with his gang who had originally tried to rob me. Now they all were selling books.

Alphonso in his slum dwelling 2005

Here we got Alphonso’s entire gang, who once tried knock me down as a white man, to “beat the system” in a more constructive way. Except for Alphonso they are all dead today from murder and aids.


Alphonso with my wife 2005

Alphonso and I 2003

Here he is telling my wife about the time in 1972 when his gang saw me and decided to attack that “white boy, but then your husband did something so that we ended up as friends for life. Since then I have been more than 40 times in prison and killed two people. So why your husband escaped I still can’t understand.” Well, that is the power of non-violent communication.


Joann today as a minister of the church

Joann in 1972

Alphonso’s saving angles were his daughters Alfrida and Joann who are both ministers today. They literally saved him in church, where so many of my other gangster friends also ended up, all singing the same deadbeat melody “I was a sinner, but I found God.”
Well, nothing is as boring as an old gangster who has found that new narrative. They were a whole lot more fun to hang out with in their angry youth :-)



3 - KKK Grand Dragon Robert Moore

- love disguised as hate



Robert Moore in Klan headquarters

Robert Moore during his recovery in the headquarters. Pay attention to Klan symbols behind which they have given me quite a few of in recognition of our friendship.

The Ku Klux Klan is interesting because they deliberately choose an old negative narrative in order to get some attention and we in the rest of the world end up believing it. Thereby we are actually betraying them by not helping them out of the negative stigma they very early adopted of themselves – usually as a result of growing up trash poor across the tracks combined with incest or violent abuse by a drunken stepfather. Probably nobody better lives up to the narrative perspective of how people create their lives and identities by the stories they are telling. But should we believe their stories or help deconstruct them? I joined them to see if I could use the principles from my workshops on them and found that they are far, far easier racists to work with than university students. And far, far less dangerous racists.


Robert Moore is portrayed in all books about the KKK as one of the most hateful, threatening to massacre counter demonstrators and burn their houses down

Robert Moore filled with hateful tattoos, but is there any hate in him?

Robert Moore is in all books about the KKK called one of the most dangerous and hateful; threatening in his speeches to go to his counter-demonstrators homes and massacre their children. But should we believe this narrative he and we spin together? Well, he certainly looks “bad” on the surface with all his hateful tattoos, but we should always look at what people contain on the inside in their hearts. I met him during some wild parties the Klan headquarters in Indiana where he was recuperating and he kept asking me if he couldn’t drive with me down to Mississippi since I was going to New Orleans afterwards. “What are you going to do there? You live a thousand miles the other way in North Carolina,” I said. Well he said he had forgotten something in Mississippi, but obviously wouldn’t tell me more in front of the other Klan members. But one advantage with the Klan is that they drink gallons of beer, so after a couple of days he loosened up and told me a surprising story.



We are celebrating that the two members on the right have just been released from 5 years in prison for selling drugs.

The Klan drinks gallons of beer

He had been a truck driver all his life, but after a big nearly fatal heart operation his doctors had told him that if he ever worked or did physical work again it would cost him his life. So they had now put him on disability – sygedagpenge – which is nothing in America. So now he was so poor that he did not have his own house, but stayed on the couch with the first of four wives. Then when the hurricane Katrina struck he got so moved seeing all these blacks die and drown, that he made a collection among his Klan friends to get money for a Greyhound bus ticket to Mississippi. Well, it doesn’t cost a hell of lot to go on these ghetto-busses – as we call them since whites fly and blacks take the bus in America. And then when he had enough money he went down to Mississippi where he worked for two months helping the blacks to rebuild their houses and cut down threes fallen on the houses. It was hard physical work so he really put his life at risk in spite of his doctor’s warnings.




Racism scholar Melanie Schikore had a lot of prejudice against the Klan before I brought her, but fell totally in love with them.

Always remember to give your local Klansman a hug

....if you can reach around.

This was a case of love disguised as hate – a totally different narrative about the Klan which he felt guilty about talking about among other Klan members and doesn’t like me telling on my web pages for the whole world. My whole life is driven by such stories about the goodness I can always find in people. I have never met bad people, only deeply hurt people. And hurt people you help just like a doctor, a narrative therapist or a caring neighbor would do it. So the next time we meet our local Klan man, Nazi, Hizb-ut-Tahrir, mass murderer or whatever bad narrative we have strangled them in, remember to have some fun with them and give them a big hug ….if we can reach around them :-)


Robert's first of four ex-wives, Nancy

They live with just a space heater in their shack in NC

Let me just tell his story which is very typical for the Klan. I ended up driving him home to North Carolina, where his ex-wife confirmed everything. All his childhood he was beaten viciously by his step-father; so badly that when he was 14 he took a razorblade and cut up the stomach of his stepfather in order to kill him. He survived, but Robert himself got five years in prison from he was 14 to 19. His sister was just as badly beaten and one day took a kitchen knife and slashed the throat of the stepfather. Again he survived while she was then sent into family custody. His older brother whom I met, but who wouldn’t let me photograph him, reacted in a different way. He has all his adult life been in and out of prison for burning people’s houses down. He became a pyromaniac. That was his way of burning his crosses from childhood.


Robert at the red coach which his ex-wife was once too fat to sit in

Robert Moore.

After prison Robert met and married Nancy seen here. In those days they had only black friends since they were drug addicts and in that criminal underworld blacks and whites have no problems hooking up with each other very much as we now start seeing it among hells angels and immigrant gangs in Denmark. But one day Robert got help from the KKK to get out of his drug problem – “they made a man out me” – a story I have often heard Klan members tell. Nancy would have nothing to do with the KKK, so they split.


Robert in the coach he sleeps in while Nancy sleeps in the bedroom behind with a Mexican boyfriend

The family reunited after many years....well, the other son is in prison

Since then she has only had black or Mexican boyfriends. Robert, who can usually only utter a few coherent sentences, is the only one I know in the Klan who says “niggers” about blacks. When he says clichés like “I stand up for my race” I always tease him and say “So if you stand up for your race, why then do you lie down on the couch there while your ex-wife fucks a Mexican behind the wall there?” Well, he says, “that wetbag was a good father for my son during all those years I was gone and failed him!”
Here I should point out that the Klan today are more against illegal Mexican immigrants taking their jobs than against blacks.


Love disguised as hate

The happy family

His son here is 18 now and just out after one year in prison. He is now running around in his school boasting about how he wants to be a big Klan leader like his father. Well, he is not too bright and that has not made him very popular in school in which he is the only white kid.


Robert with the son Justin, who has just been released from one year in prison

Robert is one of the few Klansmen I know who call blacks for "niggers", but he loves Tv-soaps with blacks and risked his life to save blacks.

And here I just revealed another stigmatizing narrative about the Klan which they do not like me to tell the world. Namely that the reason they have far more black friends than most whites in America and far more than most Danes have Muslim immigrant friends is that they for the most part as poor whites grew up on the wrong side of the tracks and went to schools often 95% black. They were too poor to take their kids out of school and put them in private schools like the better-off whites on the other side of the tracks. Funny, those whites over there therefore end up having no black friends. Yet they create a narrative around themselves that they are not racist and that it is the KKK which is racist.


4. Bringing Klan leaders and others into

new situations and narratives


I am not a therapist, but have always believed that one way of changing people’s negative narratives such as racism is bringing them together. For years I have brought Danes and white Americans with me on my ghetto tours. Such meetings often create a catharsis on both sides. My favourite game today is to bring some Danish People’s Party members or other racist Danes with me to Muslim parties and weddings. When the dances and the music start I always stand ready with my camera to shoot the tears of racism, as I call them and as you see here. For when we in Denmark in our daily lives go around constructing negative narratives around Muslims and subconsciously therefore go around demonizing them something happens when we are suddenly brought together with them in a joyful situation where we suddenly see them as human beings. The fact that we then cry reveals our deeper racism in the same way I for years have seen it in America when I brought with me to black parties.
One reason I worked actively on getting two Muslim women elected to Danish parliament was that my friend Søren Espersen and DF had made a very hateful campaign against Asmaa Abdol-Hamid when she tried to get elected. If they had on a daily basis to see two Muslim women in the eyes I knew it would be harder for them to demonize them. Here I am working with Özlem Cekic and here Yildiz Akdogan. Yildiz wouldn’t have made it without my help. And look what happened. Here I got Pia Kjærsgård integrated with her and shortly after she told me that they together had taken a friend trip to South Africa, where Pia said: “Yildiz, it is somebody like you I have always dreamt of as a wife for my son.” “But Pia,” Yildiz said, “do you completely forget that I am a Muslim?”
”Well, that absolutely doesn’t matter in your case,” Pia answered. That certainly gives us some hope for the future of integration in Denmark! Even my friend Søren loves Muslim women, which made him laugh when I said it in a headline in Politiken.
In the same way I bring blacks like Rikke Marrot with me to the Klan in America and even to meet my friends in a family of mass murderers where they have killed a lot of blacks. Why not just for the therapeutic value of it?

5 - KKK Grand Imperial Wizard Jeff Berry

- love disguised as hate



Sunday dinner with Illinois’ grand dragon in the Klan headquarters in Indiana

Traditional American prayer although the Klan are not the most devoted Christians :-)

Many Danes saw the movie on TV about how I brought the biggest Klan leader in America around to my black friends, but little about the therapeutic value it had for him in terms of helping him out of a discourse which is generally seen as negative. Let me tell the background story. Two young Danish film makers in 2001 got the idea to make a movie about my life in America, but had no idea how to make it and then decided to film me in a meeting with the Klan leader Jeff Berry. But a school in Maine moved my show because of a snow storm so I couldn’t fly with them to Indiana. Instead they put up a camera in my apartment in NYC and said: “Say something to the Klan leader.” I had no idea what to say since I had never met a Klan leader before and was racking my brain.


Where it all starts

Poor white with mistreated son in Alabama

What I ended up saying was something like this which can be seen on their movie on my website: “I can only feel deep compassion for the Klan. For in all the years as a lecturer in American universities I have picked up so many poor hitchhiking Klan members who – during the long hours of driving on American highways – would usually tell me about either incest or severe mistreatment in childhood often committed by an alcoholic stepfather. Often they said I was the first one they had ever talked to about it since they as a result of their pain had developed various forms of behavior which made people avoid them, so they would usually be extremely grateful to me helping them to process their pain. In turn I ended up liking them and since this is so similar to a lot of the pain I work with in black ghettos, I actually developed a secret fondness for the Klan,” I said. After which I made a lot of parallels between the KKK and blacks.


Jeff loves his dog which can howl like a Klansman

Jeff just before our trip around America. "Should I or should I not bring my official dress when I see your friends, Jacob?"

Now, based on the prevailing narrative about the Klan many of you would probably think that this would make a proud Klan leader furious at me. But look on the video how he reacts. The two TV-people flew out and played the tape for him while filming his reactions. He was deeply moved to the point of tears and afterwards stands up saying: “How can I meet this man? You must promise me I meet Jacob Holdt.” I had obviously hit the nail of his own pain and before I had met him was already helping him to create a new narrative about his life – especially by treating him with compassion rather than what he was used to, hostility.


Pamela with Jeff's grand daughter

Pamela writing endless letters to Jeff in prison

Well, I myself didn’t give it much thought – was busy with my own life as a lecturer – but a year later I had a workshop in Ohio Wesleyan University. As usual I say to the privileged students that their racism is far more dangerous than the Klan’s and as usual these liberal students fight me back while I attempt also for them to create a new narrative about the Klan. Then suddenly I got a bright idea: “By the way, we are only 5 hours away from the headquarters of America’s biggest Klan group and the leader last year invited me to see him. Do any of you want to come with me? Then you can examine for yourselves if the Klan really is so bad as you postulate.”  There were maybe 50 hands up, but I could only have two in my car, so I chose two of those who had fought me most passionately. They should report their conclusions afterwards to the others. We drove off and were welcomed by the Klan. When after a day and a half we drove back both otherwise very talkative students were sitting totally quiet in the darkness of the car for hours until abruptly Melanie said: “Thank you for having changed my life. I realize now that it was me who was full of hate, not them.”


It was love at first sight.

So why not propose to the functioning Klan leader while he himself is locked safely up for 130 years?

And this is the truth I have found about the Klan. It is us who hate them as believers of the worldwide negative narrative about them. Not themselves who are full of hate. (Their self-hate is a different matter). I myself now had some time off and decided to move in with the Klan. In the meantime the Klan leader had gone to prison – at first sentenced to 130 years. Therefore I moved in with his wife, Pamela, who was now the functioning Klan leader. As you can see it was love at first sight. So I decided to propose to her. I had so many funny girlfriends in my life, but never a Klan leader. Well, what I want to say with this picture is that such people should be approached with humour. They love it because humour is a form of love, which they are starving for. Most people believe their negative discourse and confront them with hostility and anger and thereby trap the Klan in a negative narrative which gives them a feeling of temporary power, but which I soon found out they don’t really themselves believe in.


Pam in her bedroom

After 9/11 they changed the sign from "White Pride" to "American Pride"

So here is how I became a member. Pamela had no extra beds, but I am used to share beds and therefore helped clean up the mess in her bed so typical for poor whites. When I saw that the Klan’s membership cards lay spread all over the place, I said again with silly humour: “If I now write my name on one of these cards, will I then become a member of the Klan?” And what did she answer: “Yeah, won’t you please; we have never had an anti-racist as a member. It would mean so much for us!” And the next day she called up her husband in prison and triumphantly shouted: “We got an anti-racist as a member. Now it is going forward for us.”
And so, this was my successful entry into America’s biggest Klan group. All you have to do to become a member is to wait until the Klan leader is safely away in prison and then move in with his wife and help clean up after him :-)  


Wrapping up Kathrina in the symbol of hate all over the world does not make her hateful since she is wrapped with love.

The two parrots kept me awake all night with the "white power" they had learned from the answering machine. I learned quickly to hear it as "Poor white trash power" - a cry for help from a group who has never had a share of power in American society

I hope my humour helps deconstruct your negative Klan story just as well as it worked over the years to deconstruct the Klan’s own. Just think of the fact that they soon made me their official webmaster. As I say to my black and Jewish friends, “Now you have me – an antiracist – as a guarantee that there will never be anything racist or anti-Semitic on the Klan’s website. That power over their lives you don’t get by standing on street corners and yelling hostilities after them. As I always said before; you fight racism with love, not hate!” Oh, they never looked at it that way before.


Black model, Rikke Marrot had in her childhood worn a T-shirt saying "Bomb the Klan". So I invited her to come with me "then you can bomb the Klan, I love taking such pictures." I knew they would love each other right away.

Today Rikke is writing newspaper articles defending the Klan. She helped me with the legal work to get the Klan leader out of prison.

And as I have always said: “If you have prejudice against somebody, just move in with them.” Certainly I would not have found out that Jeff, the Klan leader, was not in prison because of his hate, but because of his love if I had not one day accidentally overheard a conversation between Pamela and her neighbour. He had volunteered to go to prison for life for something his violent son had done, because he couldn’t bear to see his son go to prison. He had never committed any violent offences, but since he was a Klan leader the judge used some petty thefts from his youth to put him away from life. He kept the truth secret to protect his son, but when I found out I started with Rikke Marrot, the black woman I had with me from Denmark, and Jeff’s own black lawyer, to work on his early release by writing a long defence story about his life.


"Jacob, can't I sell your book like your black friend? I don't have a job now after prison."
Yes, why not let a Klan leader sell my antiracist book. I believe in affirmative action!

Our first meal together after Jeff got out of prison - a happy man.

After 3 years he was released and now a happy man. Here I go around visiting his friends. When he heard that I let the blacks in the ghettos sell my book, he said: “Jacob, I have no work now after prison. Can’t I sell your book?” And that is how I got the biggest Klan leader in America to sell my antiracist book! Life is just a joke and we only have that much fun out of it which we can get from playing with all the wonderful people God has sent us!


Jeff visiting my friends Virginia whom I first stayed with in 1972 and her husband Honore. He was a prison guard in the Angola prison and used to white hate groups, but died shortly after.

Jeff and Honore really got along. They had the same with on a lot of things such as mixed marriages, homosexuality and capital punishment. They were against it all.

It also started as a joke the idea to take Jeff with me around America to meet all my black friends. The story is too long to tell here, but let me just say something of possible interest for you in DISPUK. If you didn’t see the movie which was broadcast 4 times on Danish TV you can go up in your rooms and see it from my website to night. In the movie you will see him fighting against me all the time – partly because of the presence of significant others in the form of TV which made him act up like the great Klan leader and me as the great antiracist although from our long friendship we are very similar – no more hate or love in one than the other.


Jeff Berry with my partner Tony Harris, whom I for years have made antiracism workshops with and had offered to make one for Jeff in exchange for getting him out of prison.

The Klan leader with a local sweetheart.

And partly he is fighting me, I believe, in the same way I see it in my workshops from those who are just about to enter into a new narrative or understanding of their lives. They will be fighting us during the whole process. We call them the militants and love them because afterwards we see great personal changes in them and they usually become our allies in the struggle against racism.  


We found out we were very similar

With Jeff in 2007 - now blind and crippled after the murder attempt because he dissolved the Klan.

Certainly the trip with Jeff helped him create a whole new narrative about his life, for a month later he dissolved the whole Klan which he had been a member of all his life. It was his entire identity and pride. He knew very well that without the Klan he was nothing but poor white trash – totally forgotten by the world. It came to cost him even more, for afterwards the other Klan members attacked him and tried to kill him. For two months he was in coma and the doctors gave him only a 50% chance of surviving. When he woke up he had become crippled and blind for life as you see here on my last visit. But now he has found peace and happiness from preaching light and love in his local church instead of hate in the dark woods. There was never any more neither hate nor love in him than in me, we always found in our friendship. We had just both found a powerful narrative about ourselves to give us some undeserved attention. Another time I would like to show you how my racism is actually far more dangerous for blacks than his.

6 - KKK speech writer Raine Carraway
- love disguised as hate


In bed with the Klan? Yes, but rarely have I experienced more hospitable people who loves to serve their antiracist guests breakfast in bed. Here Raine told me she was a double murderer .

Raine and Billy dress up in their Klan ropes in the double trailer they live in

I would like to tell you one more story of a Klan member who like Robert risked her life to save blacks. She is from another group in North Carolina and invited me because she had seen all my writings on the KKK on my web pages and had as a social worker studied the members in her group and found that my story about early violent abuse as children completely hit the nail. So remember, narrative therapists, if you want to know the truth about other people, just move in with them. Or as here, go to bed with the Klan. For here on the bedside when Raine served me breakfast in bed – how often do you do that for your clients? That is what the Klan do for their enemies, antiracists like me – here she was suddenly telling me that she – a 20 year old woman – had already been in prison twice.


Raine with her great book collection, especially dominated by feminist literature. Out of all the Klan her home is the only one where I have found other books than the Bible.

Raine in her study. She is a well known writer on the Internet in defence of the KKK, women's and homosexual rights.

She was a double murderer. 14 years old she had run away from her abusive, racist father in Eastern North Carolina – the age I most often hear Klan people tell me they escape their abusers. She fled out to Los Angeles where she became an antiracist skinhead and lived as homeless with some Mexican girls in an empty warehouse. One day a Mexican drug gang attacked them and Raine shot and killed one of them in self defense. She served two years in prison and it says something about the lack of love she had in childhood that her parents never came out to see the 14 year old daughter in prison. Living on the wrong side of the tracks they were also too poor to afford the travel. When she was 17 Raine again shot and killed a man for some murky reason, when I heard it was an antiracist I nearly choked the coffee. But then, as she said, she was approached by “good Christian Klan people” who told her that what mattered in life was not going around hurting and killing people, but helping them. They then sent her on Christian missionary work in Africa where she worked for half a year, the happiest in her life. That was a revelation for her, for when she saw how different African blacks were from those she grew up with, saw their discipline and eagerness to learn in school etc., she struggled with the idea how she could help the blacks back in America. So at home she joined the organization which had helped make sense of her life, the Ku Klux Klan, and took a two year college degree as a social worker. Thus she is the absolutely only person I have met in the Klan who has books in her home. Look how proud her boyfriend is! She is an eager feminist and even pro-homosexual spokesman, the only one I know in the Klan.
She was now the official speech writer for their leader, Virgil Griffin, one of the most vicious Klan leaders who had once killed my partner, Tony Harris’ former girlfriend, Sandy Smith, and wounded one of my own black friends, Willina Cannon, in the Greensboro massacre, where this group killed 5 counter-demonstrators.


The Klan always have fun dressing up their "antiracist opponents" in their own symbols. Frequently they have - like Raine - in their previous lives belonged to antiracist groups - or do it shortly after they leave the Klan.

Billy, who grew up with a poor almost illiterate mother, is proud to have a wife who can read. Even one with a two-year degree from a hillbilly university.

The next part of the story I found out when I had been with Raine to one of their Klan meetings and met the leader. I asked: “Can I now put up all the pictures I took on my homepage?” Normally the Klan loves all the negative attention they can get, but Raine stopped me, “No, please wait, I am right now applying for the dream job of my life. I want to be a social worker in the local state prison, but you can’t work for the state here in North Carolina if you are a member of the Klan.” Well, a few months later she called me up in Denmark and said: “I got the job, so now you can post the pictures on the web page.” Later that year I wondered why she had not sent me an invitation to her wedding as she had promised. So I googled her since she is a very active writer on the internet. To my chock I then saw everywhere stories about “the brutal rape and murder of Raine Carraway” and was totally depressed for a whole day until I called her husband to find out what had happened. Then it was herself who took the phone and now told what had happened and the deeper reasons.

Here is a summary: Growing up on the wrong side of the tracks she had as a poor white only had black school mates, but because of her father’s racism she could never bring them home. “I don’t want such criminals and junkies in my house!” he would yell. With a certain truth to it since the children we have marginalized in ghettos usually do not end up as God’s best behaving kids. But this was very hurtful for her as a little white girl not to be allowed to take your school mates home. So when in Africa she had learned a different narrative about blacks which was denied her in America, she had decided to devote her life to helping all the blacks ending up in prison to become “better people” or at least just as well behaving as she had seen them in Africa.


Scott Belk, who instigated the rape and murder attempt on  Raine, which almost cost her her life. Here Raine in better times put him on the speaking list at a rally.

Raine in her dress for prison,. where the black inmates love her and didn't want her fired although they knew she was a Klan member.

When some of the other Klan members found out she was working with black inmates, David Lancester and Scott Belk whom I photographed here to one of the rallies, they broke into Raine’s house, raped her and shot her all over with a submachine gun. Probably not because they were Klan members, but because they themselves had been in prison and been beaten up by the black gangs there. Only through blood transfusions managed the hospital after a long time to save Raine’s life – the reason the false rumor got out on the internet that she had been murdered. When the prison now found out that she was a Klan member, they fired her. But what happened then? Well, all the black inmates now rioted in protest, for Raine was their most popular social worker. But didn’t they know that she was a Klan member, the prison asked? Yes, of course they did.  


Raine shows her enormous gun collection. She doesn't think it was an accident she became a double murderer at 17.

After the murder attempt on her Raine has gathered even more weapons. When I arrive late at night I wisely sleep in my car in order not to be mistaken for a burglar.

For in the prisons they have a program called gang awareness training helping especially black inmates to stay out of gangs when they are released. This is very difficult with all the peer pressure on them as we also know it from Denmark now. But in prison context the Klan is just considered a poor white gang which is of course completely what it is parallel to the Hells Angels in Denmark. So one day they had a slideshow about the local Klan group and discovered Raine – fairly big as she is – in the midst of the pictures. And that just made her even more popular among the inmates, that “She is a gang member just like us!” So they now forced the prison to rehire Raine.


The loving couple just before their wedding in 2003 which I didn't get to because of the murder attempt on Raine.

With one of their Klan magazines.

I hope DISPUK members will love this story, for as I see it this is about a woman who – deeply pained from the problem of lack of love in her childhood and the loss of both her school friends and her father to racism – is brought into a new narrative perspective which empowers her to externalize the problem and commit her life to help others. In this violent world she knew it could cost her the life. This is again that kind of story about love disguised as hate, which makes my day.  
Now Raine is happy to take up her work among the black prisoners, but she is taking no chances any more and has as you see armed herself to death. The Klan which helped create her new narrative she has now quit in order to engage herself in the local church while her husband is taking a seminary education to become a priest.


Klan leader Virgil Griffin speaking to members in the forest of North Carolina.

The infamous Klan leader, Virgil Griffin, who ordered the massacre on some of my black friends in Greensboro, where he killed my friend Tony's former girlfriend. He had some of his gas stations confiscated accused of burning down black churches.

Before I finish with the Klan here I would to relate another example from Raine’s group which shows to what degree the Klan both are victims of our worldwide negative narrative about them while they don’t themselves believe in it. On one of my trip to Raine’s group I had taken a 17 year old Danish girl, Bethina, from Rysensteen High school since she had just been kicked out in her second year because of absence after loosing both her parents. Before the trip Bethina had deep prejudice against the Klan, but after a few days in Raine’s group she kept talking about how there was less racism there than in Rysensteen where her school mates constantly talking about Muslims and “perkere” in a derogatory way.


Virgil Griffin speaking.

Typical Klan members from the poorest segments of society.

Such language she never heard in the Klan which can be explained the absence of hateful talk among American politicians and media. 60 years ago American politicians talked very much like the Danes today trash Muslims. To get elected in those days they would the game was to trash the blacks – or niggers as there were called, it was called “to out-nigger each other” – but that they have long since learned only created pain in blacks resulting in low self esteem, ghettos, violence and prisons and such things which cost white tax payers too much. So today the tone is politically correct and when the people in power now sets a more inclusive narrative, this filters down to even the lowest, most powerless people in society such as the poor whites in the Klan. In that sense the Klan is politically correct today …..just as it was in the days of Mississippi Burning when all the whites in the south encouraged the resistance against forced integration and acquitted them in all white juries when they went a step too far.


A very introvert guy with huge contact problems. But he lightened up when I spoke to him.

Klan woman with child.

So when the Klan asked us to come to one of their yearly gatherings I wondered how Bethina would react to that. She felt they were all so nice so she looked forward to that pick nick far out in the woods with about 50 members. But the speeches started. I knew what they would sound like, but wanted to see Bethina’s reaction. When she suddenly heard all that hateful talk, she became terrified and started crying. For a while I was laughing on the inside how she could have been so naïve about the Klan to the point of romanticizing them, but after a while felt pity for her and said: “Why are you crying, Bethina?”
She said, “But I didn’t know there was so much hate in those people. It is scary!” 
”But you just concluded again and again last week that they were not nearly as hateful as your friends at home in Rysensteen. You must learn to listen to pain. And this is how pain sounds like. Don’t reject people in pain!”


Klan members prayer, which seemed more like a formality, since none of them seem religious. Nevertheless I usually see them join churches when they quit the Klan usually within 1-2 years.

Klan members during prayer.

And that she saw the proof of already next day when she experienced the same Klan people go hunting with their black friends in the same woods in which they had just been standing crying and yelling about them. As usual some blacks were standing in the distance laughing at them during their speeches. When I ask the blacks why they go hunting with the Klan, they usually laugh and say: “What’s the difference between them and all the other white folks around here?”


Raine Carraway, the Klan leader's faithful speaker, held a inflammatory speech. But only two years after she was out of the Klan.

After my confidential walk in the woods  Virgil Griffin during which he invited to his 70 year birthday. Later I found out none of the other members were invited.

And that is exactly my point, for here Bethina also herself ended up deconstructing the whole narrative about the Klan. I had been filming the whole thing on my little amateur video pocket camera which cannot be used for anything professional. After an hour my tape ran out and I walked up to the car parked far away. I had heard enough of these speeches and took me a little nap in the car, so perhaps 40 minutes went by before I returned to Bethina and the Klan. Now she breathed again and told me smiling about her discovery: “Are you aware that the same moment you left and stopped filming, the Klan leader and all the grand dragons stopped making those speeches. Now they are just standing around drinking beer.” In other words, when the world media – and that was me that day with my clumsy little video – when we are not present, the Klan has no interest in standing around clowning like fools and howling like pigs. They don’t themselves believe that worldwide narrative we have made of them and just try to satisfy our deep need to see a monster in others – to hate others in order to perhaps feel a little better ourselves. It took Bethina and earlier black Rikke from Denmark one trip to the Klan deconstruct their negative discourse. I wonder why our media has never shown any interest in doing the same.



7 - Mass murderers

- killing niggers, but loving blacks

Before I talk about this traumatized family, here are first the words of Woody from the recording I made the night I picked him up after my lecture in University of Houston in 1992. The recording is presented in my show can be heard here. This was the start of a long friendship with this family.



- I don't know if he killed the first two I got blood on me from, I know he busted his head open real bad.
- Hmm
- Sammy busted open his head real, real bad... Took a big whole piece out of his head - and blood got on me then. That's cause I was holding the dude. Every time his heart would beat, blood would squirt out about 5-6 feet, man. The guy ran about ten steps, then just fell - face first. I'll even take you by the old post office tonight and show you it to you, right where it happened. Then they got a big sign says 'No Niggers Allowed' when you go in there on the highway.
- Still? What year is this?
- This is 95 now, fixing to be 96 and they got a sign saying 'No Niggers Allowed'.
- When you went out to kill them, would he talk about it all day before or did you just happen to...?
- No, it just happened. It just was one of those things. He was going down the street and he just felt like doing it. He'd seen them, so he did it....
- Right here is where this guy fell after my brother stabbed him. That may be the cops. Right here is where he fell. I'll show you where he got stabbed at. He got stabbed right on the other side of this telephone pole, right here. And then he ran ten feet and fell. Let's go before the cops are coming 'cause they are bad here at night time.



- What did he actually say?
- He actually said 'I'm gonna kill me a nigger tonight'. He said it all day long and when we'd come back from over the tracks John told him, 'I bet you wont kill that one right there.' And this was a big nigger, you know. And Sammy says 'Bet me!'. And John says, 'I'll bet you.' And he goes, 'Never mind about the betting.' He walked over there and he says, 'Hey, did you meet your maker?' and he stabbed him. The guy's eyes rolled to the back of his head and Sammy twisted the knife and then he pulled it out. The blood, when it came out, it hit me and John.



- How did it happen when....?
- He goes out and he kills niggers for fun. He tells me he likes to see the fear in their face when they die. It was like when we was riding down Engine Road I was telling you about how John called one over to the car and Sammy jumped out and shot him. Well, two of them split, and one of them stayed there, you know, he was freaking out. I guess he was young or something, you know. John started beating him in the head with some bottle that he had. And then Sammy started kicking him and stuff - and when they had him on the ground bleeding and where he couldn't move, Sammy just stomped him until he died.



The only thing I've never seen Sammy do, was go out and run over the niggers that he used to go out and run over. But I've seen blood on the car and....like I said, I took T shirts and shirts and stuff like that out from under the car after he ran them over. I've seen him beat up many, many niggers many times and leave them for dead.
- How many would you say?
- How many? More than I can count on my fingers and toes.

As always with violent people, I asked about his childhood. His eyes filled with tears when he told me how the three brothers had constantly been beaten and abused by their deeply alcoholic parents. (His father, who also had killed blacks, had once ripped out the womb of Woody's mother, I found out five years later.)

- From as early as I remember I've got whippings from my mom. She used to come in drunk.... She would hit you anywhere she could hit you. When she whips you with a board, if you move and it hits you somewhere else, you shouldn't have moved.......



Woody on that night I picked him up.

I have worked with this family of mass murderers for 20 years. The story about was told in my exhibition in Louisiana and AROS and can be seen live on my website since it is too long to tell in detail here. I would here like instead to you as therapists to point out some of the problems it presented. I am today wondering how I got Woody in the course of just one night to open up to me with his story about all the blacks he and his two brothers had murdered in serial killings – not mass murders of course. But the word “mass murderer” is just like the word “Ku Klux Klan” much better at getting your attention, right?
One thing I can always feel, when I pick such violent hitchhikers up, is how the way I move them depends very much on my inner thinking at the moment. When my last college audience has treated me good I feel good and somehow carry their love inside me so I can give it on to people in pain such as Woody. Then he feels better and don’t continue his killings for a while. That love we get from others and carry within us to give to others is the fuel which enables the whole humanity to be on fire, which really makes it worth living. But on days when my audience has severely criticized me, police have given me speeding tickets or I have rolled over in my car in snowstorms, well, then I naturally have a short temper. 



So when I pick up people like Woody, I sit in my driver’s seat locked up in my pain and he sits in the other seat locked up in his pain. And two people in pain cannot easily reach out and move each other. That is exactly what I see in the Klan where most members leave in less than two years because they can’t really help each other among equals. Afterwards I always see them in church groups, narcotics or alcohol abuse self-help groups where they are better able to find a little love. If I sit locked up in my own pain I may also start thinking negatively of such a violent guy like Woody: “He is probably dangerous.” And if I start betraying my usual nonviolent communication – as I said earlier – then he really might attack and rob me there in the car with all my money and valuables.
That poses my question to you as therapist; to what degree do you feel that your inner thinking about a client influences your ability to help that client? Can you really reach out compassionately if you the same morning have just been beaten up by your spouse at home?

So obviously I must have been in a good mood that day I picked Woody up since I got him to open up. For five years later I came knocking on his stepmother’s house and she came out saying: “I know who you are, for Woody came home 5 years ago and told me he had just met a strange man on the highway who had gotten him to tell everything about himself. And Woody is the most closed person I know.”  
I don’t know anything about psychology, but I am often told that it is important to close people again once you have opened them up. I definitely felt I was not finished with Woody when after a long night I let him off. To protect himself that was in a place far from his home. But perhaps I forgot to close him – whatever that means – for two nights after he broke in with a family and stabbed them all in their sleep. I found his victims who had survived and later tried to effect a reconciliation between the two parties for their own mental good or rather because they were now both my friends. But that soon posed some dangerous problems.



April, the 16 year old girl who could not now have babies after Woody cut open her stomach, was terrified that he would one day come out of prison. I wanted her to not see Woody as such a monster which could control her life, so I think you would say I externalized the problem. Partly when I found out that April’s own brother was in prison also for some violent attack. April loved her own brother and through making a lot of comparisons between them I managed to humanize Woody in her eyes – especially when I brought an “I am sorry”-letter with me one time from Woody. Dealing as a messenger between them with Woody in prison turned out to be an even bigger problem. He was in a maximum-maximum security prison and even though I went through many layers of barbed wire to get in, nevertheless he was led in to see me totally wrapped up in think iron chain. To hug a person in such iron was a chocking experience. He now looked totally different from the beautiful young man I had once picked up, more like Sean Penn in Dead man Walking, brutalized from 12 fights on life or death in prison. He honestly felt deep remorse for the family whose life he had destroyed, but said he didn’t know anything about that night when he had been totally strong out on booze and dope. I actually knew the details better than Woody. But then I did a terrible mistake when I mentioned to him that April’s brother was in the same prison. From then on he could only say one thing: “I am not even talking to you any more if you don’t tell me his name.” He knew that if April’s brother found out Woody was in the same prison, he would be killed. It was either him or Woody first. From then on I had to give up my reconciliation counseling – which was very convenient since I had driven for three days to see Woody in prison – being the only one who in all the years came to visit him. Not even his brother and stepmother could afford to drive that far or didn’t care.



John showing one of his weapons
With John's gun collection

Another problem I had in this family I will present here. I understand from narrative counseling that it is often taking both therapist and client on an unknown journey where you start shaping each other’s lives. This was very much the case when in 1996 I the second time returned to see Woody’s brother, John and family. This time I had a TV-journalist with me and we had agreed that she should just let the video run all the time. For I had noticed in the spring that all their unbelievable stories about all the blacks they had killed and often thrown in the swamps always came helter-skelter when they were drunk, usually late in the night. It was not something they could talk coherently about in an interview which gave them the feeling it could be used against them later.



John and Tina in a moment when they only drink coffee

With the racoon

But John had over the summer caught a raccoon and Helle Vibeke, my partner, who was usually making children’s TV, found it so sweet when the raccoon played with the two mistreated children. So after a couple of days she asked me if she couldn’t make a movie about that. Only problem was that now she had no tapes left, so we just agreed to use those tapes with endless recordings we had already made thereby erasing their content. The thing was that we at that point simply were bored listening to all those stories about the blacks they had killed – often with incredible details about later catching their decomposed bodies in their crawfish nets. Later out on the highways again away from this oppressive, violent environment we realized our mistake; that we had erased all this incredible evidence. That was a learning lesson for us about how quickly even resourceful people like us can sink down into or – as I call it – let ourselves become brainwashed into violence in a way that we don’t even question it any longer – just like soldiers. Imagine then growing up as a child in such violence and in addition being beaten from childhood!  


Tina beating Gene late at night              

Tina beating Gene late at night              

For that was the other problem outsiders often criticize me for; how could I take pictures of the children while they were being mistreated by their drunken mother, Tina?  It is probably no excuse that I was conditioned to such violence from seeing it most of my life – not least in dysfunctional black homes. The problem was that I very quickly myself felt violent tendencies towards those girls while intellectually feeling compassion for them. I have often lectured about how the mistreated child already as a child is discriminated by us adult with reserves of energy. Somehow we don’t like that child which closes into itself and sends out negative signals of mistrust and hostility as much as those children who were brought up with plenty of love and therefore themselves radiate love and good feelings. It is Matthew once again, “to those who were given shall more be given, from those who received nothing shall also that be taken”; oppression’s vicious cycle all over the world.


Gene, with my photo of her uncle Woody, who is now in prison. 11 years later Woody was released on trial, moved in with John and raped Gene. Now he is back in prison for life.  

Tina beating the kids


For Samantha and 2 year old Gee were up all night while we were drinking and absolutely misbehaving in a way only deeply damaged children can act out. Gee was constantly destroying all my camera equipment, literally tearing it apart. So I have to confess that I myself felt the inclination sometimes to lash out after her – something I probably in spite of being drunk didn’t do because I saw myself in a difference narrative. But it is good when you might have too high thoughts of yourself once in a while to recognize the monster in yourself and say in your quiet thinking like so many others in world history, “That child deserves a good beating!”


Tina and Gene at 3 am

Three generations together. Gene with her drunk grandfather

Another reason I didn’t directly interfere when Tina was beating the children was that I have never liked to discipline people in pain. That just again all too easily sends them society’s message, that “they are bad” which makes them feel even worse. Also it is not necessary to tell them that it is wrong to kill and beat. They already know that, but can’t always live up to it while intoxicated. No, what matters is to tell them that they are God’s own children, to encourage and praise them and help them find positive things about their lives. Other narratives, as you would say. In general I feel that the best thing we more privileged people can do for such a dysfunctional family, whom both whites and blacks feared and shunned, is just being with them, moving in with them, letting know that we care for them - not in empty words, but in action.


John with Gene in 1996

Gene at right in a foster home in 2003

And this I saw evidence of 5 years later when I now returned with a black woman to that family which claimed to have killed so many blacks. Tina had in the meantime been killed and the two children placed in custody with a loving Christian family. I came unannounced, but when Gene, who was now 7, saw me in the driveway, she came running out and leaped up in my arms. Everybody says that children can’t remember anything from they are 2 years old, but since I was apparently the only stranger who – at first chased away by her gun toting father – had ever been in that house of pain stuck in the swamps, it must somehow have made an impression on that little neglected girl. That I had felt violent in my deeper thinking towards that misbehaving girl then was apparently not as important as the fact that it was the first and only time she had experienced what – after all – in her eyes was a loving stranger. In that sense I had fulfilled my role as a “saving angle” for her even though I had felt more like a “punitive devil” in my inside.


Rikke with Rita, whose son on the picture is in prison for life for hate killings of blacks
Samantha, who had busted open the head of a black boy when she was 7, loved Rikke.

This importance of the loving outsider – or significant other as I believe you call it in narrative therapy – I especially saw in their meeting with the black woman Rikke I had brought with me. Remember that these two children had in their young years been totally confused when I used the word black since I can’t myself to say nigger. Often they would say: “What does he mean, mom? Is it niggers? We kill niggers, don’t we, mom?” But Rikke was not a “nigger”, but a black brought up with love and security in a welfare state. So they absolutely loved her for all the surplus energy she had for them. That distinction I have often heard in such oppressed people. When I asked their uncle Woody, who claimed to have killed so many niggers (no doubt more than the hate murder he participated in with his older brother, who is serving a life sentence for it), if he didn’t have any black heroes, he immediately said Eddie Murphy. He absolutely loved him. “If all niggers were like Eddie Murphy we wouldn’t have a nigger problem in America.”  So you kill niggers while you can love blacks.
But Samantha, who was now 14, was hugging Rikke all the time.


Samantha at 7.
With Samantha at 14, when she had already served a 2 year prison sentence.

Samantha was the one who on my first visit had just been kicked out of school. It annoyed the mother a bit, but she didn’t ask any questions about why. I got a clue and pulled Samantha aside. Then she told me that she and two other white girls in her class had one day lured a black boy in school out in the woods and their they had burst open his head with a brick. Not to kill him, only to see if he was bleeding red.
Believe it or not, but that story made me again see the deeper goodness in all people and reaffirm my hope for humanity. For as I now tried to untangle Samantha’s motive, I realized that the deeper cause was that Tina always had tried to bring up her children like all other American parents to believe in the higher American creeds and ideals that all people are equal, as I mentioned earlier under my workshop. Also the KKK I find bring up their children like that. She would just use different words to phrase the concept of equality, "Niggers bleed red just like us." Naturally Samantha had not been able to process this information, for at night, during their eternal drinking, she constantly heard her parents talk about killing niggers. She could – like most American children – not reconcile these two opposing narratives, that blacks are equal while seeing in her parent’s praxis that they were not equal. Again the American Dilemma, Gunnar Myrdal had described. So while Samantha’s thinking machinery had shut down from this hurtful information this abused child wanted to find out for her self if it was really true that blacks bleed red.
I have no time here to reveal what later happened in her and Gee’s violent lives.


8 - Hizb-ut-Tahrir

- using Sufism as a narrative to change Islamists



Counter demonstrators at a Hizb-ut-Tahrir meeting in Copenhagen

Hizb-ut-Tahrir meeting in Copenhagen

That the problem is the problem Hizb-ut-Tahrir is a good example of. They mainly exist because of a larger social disease, namely the marginalization of Muslim minorities in Western society. Although they like the Klan hardly exist – numbering only a couple of hundred in Denmark – they are constantly used even by leftist politicians to signal anti-Muslim sentiments to a confused population for whom their makes them think of Hizbollah or similar violent groups.
But unlike the criminal anger ghettoization usually produces in minorities, Hizb-ut-Tahrir is totally harmless for the outside world. President Clinton conducted a survey finding them totally non-violent in all countries they operate in.

They make me a bit sentimental as they remind me of a mixture of the fundamentalism of Jehovah’s Witnesses or the “Indre Mission” I grew up with in my childhood combined with the university Marxism dominating Europe in my youth – both with escapist utopian visions. Their rhetoric is a cocktail of broken phrases from the Koran and the anti-capitalist and anti-democratic language so many of our rightwing members of parliament spoke in their anti-democratic youth. Like those politicians I see Hizb-ut-Tahrir’s young members just going through a similar angry period. 


Women are segregated just like in the synagoge

Muslims praying in my living room

When I pray with them in my living room (the place where all integration starts and ends!) they already feel a sense of inclusion. I don’t tell them that it is wrong to be against democracy for like my Jehova’s Witness neighbor I see them already participating in that democracy as actively as anybody on a grassroots level. What I do is to encourage them: “You are so eloquent I can hear that you will probably be in parliament in 10-15 years.” Then I see them usually smile proudly and say: “You really think so?”  After which I already know that they are on their way.

So why even try to change them?  It is certainly not the most urgent anti-radicalization work I can think of. But they can – like Jehova’s Witnesses - be a bit harmful for their own families with their rigid discrimination of women and homosexuals. Like the old Marxists they can be rather cold ideologues. They don’t usually appear to have their hearts with them in their visions, but are so stuck in their Islamic ideology that to affect any emotional change in them it is important to replace it with similar, but warmer philosophy radiating from the heart, if I may say.



FOur strong women panel in Critical Muslims are good at debating with Hizb-ut-Tahrir

The meeting in my house in which a member of Hizb-ut-Tahrir decided to defect. Maajid Nawaz was called from England to conduct this meeting.

In Critical Muslims, on which I am on the board, we have long with some success worked with Sufism as an alternative narrative for them. We work closely with the http://www.quilliamfoundation.org  based by Maajid Nawaz. He was the one who originally organized Hizb-ut-Tahrir in Denmark, but has since defected. Here he is seen at a meeting in my living room during which one well known HT decided to defect. On a personal level it was a personal victory for me to get one of my HT friends to come to my 60 year birthday although the party was soaked in alcohol (otherwise I couldn’t get my Danish People’s Party friends to come :-) I had previously seen him boycott weddings in his own family because they served alcohol.  He too is now out of the HT with the help of a Sufist narrative.  


Maajid Nawaz with Clement Kjærsgaard as moderator during Critical Muslim's anti-radicalization meeting in Varov. See it on video in English here.

Fadi Abdullatif who received a sentence for his anti-Semitic battle cry. But why didn't the media ask him about the deeper context.

Hizb-ut-Tahrir is often accused of being anti-Semitic. As is the case with most Muslims I find it more anti-Israeli. When we in Critical Muslims hear anti-Semitic sentiments mostly among more ignorant Muslims we always confront them. When the leader of HT, Fadi Abdullatif (seen above) justifiably was sentenced for his outrageous “Kill all the Jews” (based on that sentence in the Koran from the battle where local Jewish merchants had allied themselves with the enemy in Mecca) I curiously questioned him up since I did not feel it sounded like the usual leftist battle cry “Death to …..” I have learned always to listen to the pain behind racist sentences. I asked him where he was from and then heard the long sad story nobody in the press had bothered to ask him about. His family on both his mother’s and father’s side had lost both their land and farms near the northern Israeli town Akko and many of them were massacred by the Israeli army when it expulsed the Palestinians in 1948. The remnants of his family has lived in refugee camps on the West Bank ever since and can’t return even though they still have title deeds to their land.

You may say in this case that Fadi’s real mentor in this painful story was not so much the Koran as the Israeli Army manual which in those years included this sentence: “Do not trust the non-Jews. Kill even the best of the non-Jews.” It can just surprise a bit that “the barbarity behind the words did not cause any alarm, a refutation in principle in Israel or even a notice in Jewish publications here in the USA,” writes Steven Schwarzschild, professor in Jewish studies, whom I am borrowing the quote from.
It does not excuse
Fadi Abdullatif’s crime, but it does give both him and Hizb-ut-Tahrir a slightly more human narrative.

9 - the Nazis

- changing them the wrong way

Young Nazis in Roskilde.
Nazis marching in Roskilde.

This section is still in the works



Nazist heiler til Hitler og Hess i Baltimore.



Unge nazister forsvarer sig mod flaskekastende gymnasieelever og autonome fra København. Fyren til højre havde set mit lysbilledshow i folkeskolen…..men fået det lidt galt i halsen.
Nazisterne bliver angrebet af lige så hadefulde autonome.




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