They made it clear that they were completely wrong to label Maajid Nawaz as an “anti-Muslim extremist.”
Back in 2016, the far-left Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which is a nonprofit group that many people believe to be a money-grubbing slander machine, published an extremely controversial document, known as the “Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists,” that listed several people as “anti-Muslim extremists.”
Shockingly, one of the individuals included in the document was Maajid Nawaz, a well-known moderate Muslim who used to be an extremist but now actively works to combat extremism through Quilliam, which is a London-based think tank that he founded.
Outraged by his unwarranted inclusion in the list of anti-Muslim extremists, Nawaz assembled a legal team and threatened to sue the biased SPLC for defamation. Rather than go to court, however, Richard Cohen, the president of the leftist organization, decided to issue a video apology to Nawaz for their “anti-Muslim” lie and pay him over $3 million as part of a settlement agreement that they reached earlier this week.
“The Southern Poverty Law Center was wrong to include Maajid Nawaz and the Quilliam Foundation in our Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists,” began Cohen at the start of the SPLC’s recently released video apology.
“Since we published the Field Guide, we have taken the time to do more research and have consulted with human rights advocates we respect. We’ve found that Mr. Nawaz and Quilliam have made valuable and important contributions to public discourse, including by promoting pluralism and condemning both anti-Muslim bigotry and Islamist extremism,” continued the president of the far-left nonprofit organization.
“Although we may have our differences with some of the positions that Mr. Nawaz and Quilliam have taken, they are most certainly not anti-Muslim extremists,” he added, noting, “we would like to extend our sincerest apologies to Mr. Nawaz, Quilliam, and our readers for the error, and we wish Mr. Nawaz and Quilliam all the best.”
In a separate statement, the SPLC provided more information about the million settlement that they agreed to. “As part of our settlement, we have paid million to Mr. Nawaz and Quilliam to fund their work to fight anti-Muslim bigotry and extremism,” they explained in the statement.
“It was the right thing to do in light of our mistake and the right thing to do in light of the growing prejudice against the Muslim community on both sides of the Atlantic,” they continued, adding, “we will look to our insurance carrier to cover the cost of the settlement.”
Unsurprisingly, Nawaz was understandably pleased with the apology and settlement amount. “The Southern Poverty Law Center [has] finally apologized a year-and-a-half after listing me in their field guild of anti-Muslim extremists,“ celebrated Nawaz in a video published that he published online shortly after the SPLC’s statement.
“They’ve issued a retraction and they’ve given us a settlement. A multi-million dollar settlement,” he continued, noting, “I want to thank all of my supporters who stood by me to get me to this stage.”
In a separate statement, he added, “with the help of everyone who contributed to our litigation fund, we were able to fight back against the Regressive Left and show them that moderate Muslims will not be silenced.”
Nawaz isn’t the only person the SPLC has wrongly attacked. In the same anti-Muslim extremist report, they also included Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a former Muslim who experienced “honor violence” and suffered from female genital mutilation (FGM) while growing up in Somalia, for actively speaking out against the horrors of radical Islam, which she experienced first hand.
In addition to Nawaz and Ali, the SPLC has also gone after countless Christians. Last year, for instance, they listed the D. James Kennedy Ministries (DJKM), a fundamentalist Christian television ministry based in Florida, as an “anti-LGBT hate group” simply because they only endorse the biblical view of marriage and consequently oppose same-sex marriage.
Outraged by the leftist organization’s actions, the ministry’s president, Dr. Frank Wright, responded with a defamation lawsuit. In the lawsuit, which was filed back in August 2017, Wright essentially accused the SPLC of knowingly lying about them in order to ruin their reputation.
Specifically, the lawsuit accused the biased nonprofit group of “trafficking in false or misleading descriptions of the services offered under the Ministry’s trademarked name, and for defamation pursuant to Alabama common law arising from the publication and distribution of information that labels the Ministry’s reputation and subjects the Ministry to disgrace, ridicule, odium, and contempt in the estimation of the public.”
Alarmingly, though, the SPLC’s targeting of people who they deem “haters” does not come without consequences.
For example, back in 2012, during an interview with Floyd Corkins, a domestic terrorist who went to the headquarters of the Family Research Council in Washington DC and opened fire on employees before being wrestled to the ground and subsequently arrested, investigators learned that he targeted the organization because they were listed as an “anti-gay group” on the SPLC’s website.
And just last year, Rep. Steve Scalise, (R-LA) was shot by SPLC supporter James Hodgkinson after the organization repeatedly demonized him for supposedly being a “hater” and promoting white supremacy. Whether Scalise was targeted specifically because he was attacked by the SPLC, however, remains unclear.
On top of endangering the lives of others, the SPLC has also recently partnered with social media platforms to help them monitor hateful activity. But rather than targeting people with violent ideologies, social media platforms like Twitter have been targeting people who espouse conservative ideas.
Several months ago, for instance, Steven Crowder, a conservative commentator, and comedian, was temporarily suspended from Twitter for reportedly posting a video of one of his interns going to an LGBT meetup while pretending to identify as a computer to see how they react.
And before that, Raheem Kassam, who used to be the editor-in-chief of Breitbart News London, was temporarily suspended by the social media platform’s Gestapo as well for simply responding to one of the vile messages that an unhinged leftist had sent him.
Specifically, in response to Sarah Wait, who apparently threatened to “instruct” her lawyer to sue him for replying to tweets that she had tagged him in, Kassam wrote, “instruct away…I’ll happily show the court and the world that you don’t know how to mute or block a conversation that you jumped into willingly yourself. Then I will take your money for vexatious claims. Then my lawyers will make you pay their fees.”
Censorship and defamation of any kind must not be tolerated. Hopefully, after settling with Nawaz, the SPLC will stop trying to ruin the reputation of others. If not, then those who are targeted by the far-left organization should learn from what Nawaz did and sue them for blatantly violating the First Amendment, which is a constitutional amendment prohibiting people from using their speech to spread false information about others.