Aryan Nations Members Meet for 25th Congress

John Howard, owner of the Redneck Shoppe and a Klan member for more than 40 years, reacted typically when he saw a black child on a bike last September. 'There's a nigger I'd like to hang,' he said. (John F. Sugg)

Preparing for War
The true believers in an all-white America arrived Saturday morning. They came from Florida, Washington, Wisconsin, Idaho, Arkansas and most of the states in the Deep South. At least two crossed the Atlantic to attend.

The leadoff speaker was the hulking "Pastor" Paul Brimie, the head of Aryan Nations' prison outreach program. The towering giant, described adoringly by colleagues as a "pit bull of Yahweh," had swapped his muscle- and tattoo-displaying tank top for clerical garb. "Everyone here knows who we hate, who we're against and who is against us," he proclaimed. "We must PREPARE FOR WAR!"

Run out of Idaho after losing $6.3 million in a lawsuit in 2000, Aryan Nations fractured, moved and has been attempting to reassemble itself. Currently, there are two major factions, one based in South Carolina, the other in Alabama.

The smaller remnant, run by the thickly bearded August Kreis III, is based in Lexington, S.C., a suburb of Columbia.

Lincoln, Ala., is home to the larger faction -- the one sponsoring the world congress. That group's leader, Williams, lives in Conyers.

Why two sets of Aryan Nations? A large part of the answer is simple lust for power: Two different sets of racists, each claiming to be heir to the well-known Aryan Nations legacy. And then there is ideology. Both contingents hate Jews. But Kreis' brigade has decided to embrace Arabs -- even promoting Al-Qaeda as doing the Lord's work as long as Muslims are killing Jews. Williams was incensed at such heresy. "I sympathize with Arabs, yes, sympathize because their lands have been stolen by Jews," he said. "But we have nothing for them [Arabs]. The simple fact is that they aren't white."

Williams' contingent has an estimated 200-300 members on its rolls. "We've grown 35% this year," boomed Williams to a cheering audience at the congress. The Aryan Nations Congress attracted about 170 men and women, more than double last year's attendance, according to organizers.