Why Maajid Nawaz Shouldn’t be in SPLC’s ‘Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists’

Most of you will have heard about the outrageous action of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) recently. On 25 October they produced a Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists. Just producing a list of people to hate is bad enough, especially in a climate when anyone labelled an “anti-Muslim extremist” has their life put at risk, but in this case two of the names included are what’s attracting most of the attention: Maajid Nawaz and Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Maajid Nawaz in particular shows that the SPLC has completely lost the plot.

For some time many of us who call ourselves liberals have been concerned about some of the behaviour of the far left. Maajid Nawaz himself has labelled them the Regressive Left. As well as that term, the one I use most to often refer to them is the Authoritarian Left as I consider the way they tell people what they should and should not do little different from the far right. The reason many of us have an issue with this part of our community is that they seem to have forgotten what being a liberal means.

The Authoritarian Left are great at criticizing right-wing Christians who oppose marriage equality, for example, but they refuse to criticize Muslims who oppose the same thing. They’re all for equality for women, and heap criticism on those Christians who deny a woman’s right to choose, but support Muslims who won’t even let women choose their own clothes. They criticize Israel for the way they treat the Palestinians, but refuse to criticize the much worse way DAESH treats the Yazidis.

There’s a list of four things that the Southern Poverty Law Center have used to persuade others Maajid Nawaz should be included on their list of anti-Muslim extremists, which they start with the daunting heading “In his own words.” All are ridiculous. They are:

1. In the list sent to a top British security official in 2010, headlined “Preventing Terrorism: Where Next for Britain?” Quilliam [the anti-extremism organisation Nawaz heads – HH] wrote, “The ideology of non-violent Islamists is broadly the same as that of violent Islamists; they disagree only on tactics.” An official with Scotland Yard’s Muslim Contact Unit told The Guardian that “[t]he list demonises a whole range of groups that in my experience have made valuable contributions to counter-terrorism.”

First of all, what Quilliam writes here is completely correct and should be non-controversial. In reality it shouldn’t even need to be said, except that there is little understanding of Islam in the West and so things like this need to be stated. Nick Cohen has treated the inclusion of this with the disdain it deserves, and also explains why Scotland Yard’s Muslim Contact Unit might be attacking Quilliam. In his article in The Spectator, ‘The white left has issued its first fatwa‘, Cohen covers the issue at length:

I asked the SPLC’s Mark Potok, ‘one of the country’s leading experts on the world of extremism,’ according to its website, if he was Muslim himself. ‘No.’ Was he happy, then, branding a liberal Muslim ‘an anti-Muslim extremist?’ Well, Potok said, the head of Scotland Yard’s Muslim Contact Unit had accused Nawaz of ‘demonising a whole range of groups that have made valuable contributions to counter-terrorism,’ and that was good enough for him.

I tried to explain that the then head of the Muslim Contact Unit was Bob Lambert, one of the most notorious agent provocateurs British policing has produced. He stole the identity of a dead boy and infiltrated left groups. Pretending to be one of them, he got an activist pregnant then vanished from his partner and child’s lives. He had a shadowy part in the ‘McLibel’ case, which led to two environmental activists being persecuted for years in the courts, and is under investigation for allegedly smearing the campaign for justice for the murdered black teenager Stephen Lawrence. There are reasonable grounds for suspecting that, when Lambert attacked Nawaz, he was trying to ingratiate himself with Islamists as he had tried to ingratiate himself with leftists.

Did Mark Potok, ‘one of the country’s leading experts on the world of extremism’ if you please, know he was relying on the word of a stool pigeon? ‘I don’t know the details.’ Would the Southern Poverty Law Center, which is after all meant to defend the Stephen Lawrences of the world, reconsider its condemnation of Nawaz? With the braggart self-confidence of a liberal Donald Trump, Potok was not about to let facts change his mind. ‘No,’ he replied. Did Potok think he was putting Nawaz’s life in danger. ‘No’

Of course he is. He and his colleagues have issued the white left’s first fatwa: a blacklist that could be a deathlist.

Cohen wasn’t the only one who found the SPLC unrepentant either. Why Evolution is True readers shared e-mails they received from SPLC with Jerry Coyne when they wrote opposing the inclusion of Nawaz and Hirsi Ali on their list. They make interesting reading.

Charge one debunked.

2. In a Nov. 16, 2013, op-ed in the Daily Mail, Nawaz called for criminalizing the wearing of the veil, or niqab, in many public places, saying: “It is not only reasonable, but our duty to insist individuals remove the veil when they enter identity-sensitive environments such as banks, airports, courts and schools.”

The blog Harry’s Place exposed this claim in ‘Maajid Nawaz an “Anti-Muslim Extremist” according to Southern Poverty Law Center‘:

In a great piece of quote mining, they neglect to mention that Maajid Nawaz does not call for criminalising as they claim. In the Daily Mail article they quote from, Nawaz mentions:

“Here’s my test: where a balaclava, motorcycle helmet or face mask would be deemed inappropriate, so should a niqab. It’s simple really.”

It is simple, unless you want to make someone out to be an extremist against Muslims.

And if you quote even more of what Nawaz wrote in the Daily Mail, there’s even less to complain about. After outlining three cases in which terrorists have escaped arrest by disguising themselves in burqas, he writes (my emphasis):

Any item of clothing that covers the face and makes it impossible to identify individuals is open to abuse. Like many, I look with increasing exasperation on the niqab – which covers the face – and the burka – the garment that covers the entire body. That said, I do not believe in a blanket ban on the niqab. But the quid pro quo is that when everyone else in society is expected to identify themselves, a Muslim woman wearing a niqab should not be exempted. …

Let me make this clear: it is our duty to adopt a policy barring the wearing of niqabs in these public buildings. Here’s my test: where a balaclava, motorcycle helmet or face mask would be deemed inappropriate, so should a niqab. It’s simple really. …

Being a non-devout Muslim who is relatively conversant with Islamic theology, I am also aware that the ultra-conservative view stating Muslim women must cover their faces applies – even within their own medieval framework of reasoning – only when they are outdoors. It is therefore inconsistent to claim that the niqab applies indoors, such as in a school or office environment. Also, Islam universally allows women to show their faces for the purpose of identification, regardless of sect.

Finally, the medieval Muslim rules on religious attire do not apply to children, in any circumstance. So, schools that enforce the headscarf, face veil and burka on children as a dress code are guilty of encouraging a downward spiral that will only end in fundamentalists being the victors. …

It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that we have allowed a form of discrimination to creep in against everyone but those who wear the veil. Yes, women should be free to cover their faces when walking down the street. But in our schools, hospitals, airports, banks and civil institutions, it is not unreasonable – nor contrary to the teachings of Islam – to expect women to show the one thing that allows the rest of us to identify them .  .  . namely their face.

The SPLC has made “inappropriate” into a call for criminalization, and generally misrepresented the whole tenor of the article.

Charge two debunked.

ayaan-hirsi-ali-on-offence3. According to a Jan. 24, 2014, report in The Guardian, Nawaz tweeted out a cartoon of Jesus and Muhammad — despite the fact that many Muslims see it as blasphemous to draw Muhammad. He said that he wanted “to carve out a space to be heard without constantly fearing the blasphemy charge.”

I’ve reproduced the tweet below, but look how this third charge starts: “According to …” It sounds like they haven’t even checked, but they’ve taken someone else’s word for it. Because the actual tweet is not included in The Guardian article and, the article they link to is actually by Nawaz himself and called, ‘Why I’m speaking up for Islam against the loudmouths who have hijacked it’.



Nawaz’s article concluded:

My intention was not to speak for any Muslim but myself – rather, it was to defend my religion from those who have hijacked it just because they shout the loudest. My intention was to carve out a space to be heard without constantly fearing the blasphemy charge, on pain of death. I did it for Salmaan Taseer, the governor of Punjab who was assassinated by his bodyguard for calling for a review of Pakistan’s colonial-era blasphemy laws; for Malala Yusafzai, the schoolgirl shot in the head by the Taliban for wanting an education; and for Muhammad Asghar, a mentally ill British man sentenced to death for “blasphemy” last week in Pakistan.

My intention was to demonstrate that Muslims are able to see things we don’t like, yet remain calm and pluralist, and to demonstrate that there are Muslims who care more about the thousands of deaths in Iraq, Pakistan and Syria than we do about what a student is wearing. My intention was to highlight that Muslims can engage in politics without insisting that our own religious values must trump all others’ concerns, and to stand before the mob so that other liberal Muslim voices that are seldom heard, women’s and men’s, could come to the fore. And many such Muslim voices have been heard this last week.

However, in the final analysis, my intentions are irrelevant. What matters is this simple truth: I am free not to be offended by a cartoon I did not draw. If my prospective constituents do not like me not being offended, they are free not to vote for me. Other Muslims are free to be offended, and the rest of the country is free to ignore them. I will choose my policies based on my conscience. As such, I will continue to defend my prophet from those on the far right and Muslim extremes who present only a rigid, angry and irrational interpretation of my faith. I will stand for fairness, as Amnesty International once stood for me when I was a prisoner in Hosni Mubarak’s Egypt. Because I believe that the difference between fairness and tribalism is the difference between choosing principles and choosing sides.

That the SPLC could have read this and branded the man who wrote it an anti-Muslim extremist is beyond me.

There have been representations of Muhammad in art for centuries, many of which are extraordinarily beautiful. The fact that some Muslims find such depictions offensive is something we should be sensitive to, but it shouldn’t stop us doing it. There are plenty of Christians who find cartoons about God offensive, but that doesn’t mean we should stop creating them. I wouldn’t wear an atheist t-shirt to a synagogue, but I wouldn’t expect to be murdered for doing it either.



A manuscript from Nezami’s Khamsa dated 1494, depicting Muhammad’s journey from Mecca to the Dome of the Rock to heaven. The archangel Gabriel is seen to Muhammad’s right with multiple wings. (Source: Wikipedia Commons)

Personally, I find the whole concept of blasphemy offensive, and I’m ashamed that my own country still has a blasphemy law.

The SPLC is in the United States, which as the First Amendment to its constitution guarantees freedom of speech for all. That constitution also guarantees freedom of the press. The United States has been the main voice against attempts in the United Nations to get blasphemy against Islam, and only Islam, made part of international human rights legislation. For the SPLC to support blasphemy laws for one religion is the height of hypocrisy and goes against all liberal and human rights values.

Sarah Haider of the Ex-Muslim blog site wrote an excellent post a few days ago: ‘Principles and Politics: The Southern Poverty Law Center Loses the Plot‘ which covers this aspect of the SPLC’s attack well. Haider writes:

Nuance is lost where the religion of peace is concerned, and the SPLC paints its targets with a broad, clumsy brush. Those profiled range from pundits who believe that radicals have “infiltrated the CIA, FBI, Pentagon, and State Department” to activists who offer compassionate, empathetic, and exceedingly balanced views on the faith. The latter is exemplified by the Muslim reformer Maajid Nawaz, who spent his formative years in the service of an Islamist organization working to re-establish a global caliphate. After disavowing his former associates, he has spent the past decade working to encourage reform and secularization in Muslim countries and communities.

Nearly every charge against him in the report is patently absurd. His act of solidarity with students who wore a benign cartoon of Prophet Muhammad on a t-shirt is a cited as a qualification for his “anti-Muslim extremism”. Nawaz tweeted a picture of the cartoon, declaring that such trifles don’t offend him.

For this conciliatory and progressive gesture, he earned the ire of the Muslim community, condemnation by “liberals”, and death threats by fanatics. It appears that the SPLC now polices acts considered blasphemous as “anti-Muslim extremism”, citing the Islamic religious belief in their indictment.

As an ex-Muslim (now an atheist) Haider writes:

In reality, Maajid Nawaz has been one of the most consistently rational, compassionate, and nuanced voices in an atmosphere brimming with hostility and competing agenda-driven narratives. As an apostate myself, I am grateful he represents Muslims who fight for our right to exist.

I can only endorse Haider’s sentiments here.

Charge three debunked.

4. Nawaz, who had described himself as a “feminist,” was “filmed repeatedly trying to touch a naked lap dancer,” according to an April 10, 2015, report in the Daily Mail. The paper apparently got the security film from the owner of a strip club who was incensed by Nawaz’s claims to be a religious Muslim.

hitchens-on-offenceI fail to understand how this makes Nawaz a candidate for a list of “Anti-Muslim Extremists.” It is ridiculous in the extreme. The video was obviously leaked at the time Nawaz was running for election to try to defame him, and probably worked, but it is completely irrelevant to whether or not he’s an anti-Muslim extremist. Nawaz’s own words in his Daily Beast article ‘I’m A Muslim Reformer. Why Am I Being Smeared as an ‘Anti-Muslim Extremist’?‘ are the best ones on this:

I am no “anti-Muslim” extremist. I am not your enemy. What I do require is your patience. For it is due to precisely this concern of mine for universal human rights for Muslims, that I vehemently oppose Islamist extremism and call for liberal reform within our communities, for our communities. For we Muslims are the first victims of Islamists and Muslim fundamentalists. I am no Muslim representative. I am no religious role model (yes, I had a bachelor’s party) but I am Muslim. I am born to Muslim parents in a Muslim family. I have a Muslim son. The “Muslim experience” of liberal, reforming and dissenting Muslim and ex-Muslim voices is every bit as valid, every bit as relevant, and every bit as authentic as anyone else that is touched by this debate. We exist. Allow us to speak. Stop erasing our experiences.

Charge four debunked.

Nick Cohen is urging Maajid Nawaz to sue the SPLC for the egregious action of including him on this list. I’m not sure whether or not that would be the right thing to do. The SPLC is already being vilified across the spectrum for including Nawaz and Hirsi Ali on this list. From the Wall Street Journal and across the spectrum, the opposition to their action has been almost universal.

Once Upon A Time the Southern Poverty Law Center was an organization that was highly respected for for their work opposing racism and supporting Civil Rights. Now they’ve jumped the shark. There is a petition asking the SPLC to remove Maajid Nawaz and Ayaan Hirsi Ali from their list of anti-Muslim extremists which is gaining a lot of support. Please consider signing it. Click here, or click the picture below. I’m pleased to see more than 7,500 have signed it since I did. I suspect SPLC will ignore it, but at least they will see just how much support Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Maajid Nawaz have.


Click to go to petition asking SPLC to remove Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Maajid Nawaz from their list of anti-Muslim extremists.

If you enjoyed reading this, please consider donating a dollar or two to help keep the site going. Thank you.

45 Responses to “Why Maajid Nawaz Shouldn’t be in SPLC’s ‘Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists’”

  1. Jenny Haniver says:

    Am just reading your post — a quick correction:

    ” There are plenty of Christians who find cartoons about God offensive, but that doesn’t mean we should creating them.” You left out the negation in the second clause.

    Once I digest it, if I can sort out any coherent thoughts, perhaps I’ll add my two cents to the discussion. I do think that the SPLC has gone completely off the rails here, though now this seems not to be an isolated instance of that org. slipping into PC ideological zealotry, which I find quite disturbing, though upon reflection, not really surprising. In the meantime, your comments on authoritarianism prompt me to finish reading The Authoritarians by Bob Altemeyer (PDF here, which I began some time ago but didn’t finish, not because I didn’t think it wasn’t valuable but simply because I was reading it on my computer, closed the window and it slipped my mind. Heard him interviewed on the radio and what he had to say sounded on point. Most analyses of authoritarianism that I’m familiar with — such as George Lakoff’s “strict father” model critique right wing politics and fundamentalist religion; few use those tools to analyze what you correctly call “left wing authoritarianism.” In fact, Lakoff, for all his valuable and perspicacious insights into the matter, sets up a duality between a conservative “authoritarian father” model and a liberal “nurturing parent” model. But liberals, too, can be strict fathers (and mothers), and I encounter more and more left wing authoritarianism in nearly every facet of my life here in Berzerkeley, CA.

    • Thanks for correction – fixed.

      In an article in Vox about authoritarianism, in which they concentrated on right-wing authoritarianism, they showed some stats. They completely ignored that there were a significant number on the left that showed up with authoritarian traits as well. I think we’ve been trained to notice it more on the right because the right has beliefs that we as liberals mostly oppose, but these days there is just as much intolerance from the left.

      Also, in the West I think the right have got to a place where they are mostly accepting of freedom of speech for all, even if they don’t like it. It’s sort of their way of being accepting – a version of hate the sin, love the sinner.

      The far left have become completely intolerant of those who do not share their views imo. They think it’s OK to shout down speakers so they don’t even get a chance to express their pov for example. That’s the sort of thing we used to get from the right.

      Then they do weird stuff like at Goldsmith U where the feminist and LGBT groups supported the Muslim Brotherhood against Maryam Namazie. All over Britain, campus right-wing Muslim groups supported by feminist and LGBT groups have been getting atheist, ex-Muslim, and Jewish speakers silenced under the pretext that they are anti-Muslim. Even if they were, what happened to the liberal value of freedom of speech?

      I’m interested in that paper you linked to as well – thanks.

  2. Ken says:

    I disagree with some of Nawaz’s approach, but agree it is ridiculous to have included him on this list, as his quotes show. But I notice that you haven’t done the same point-by-point defense of Ali, and surely this is because her quotes are much more problematic. In these, assuming they aren’t selectively quoted, like some of Nawaz’s, she says that the West is at war with Islam, not Islamists, refers to this as a “clash of civilisations” calling for a military solution, and believes that the US shouldn’t cooperate with Muslims to counter jihadi extremism. This last isn’t a direct quote, but ironically is exactly the opposite of Nawaz’s prescription. Also ironically, that the counter-campaign seeks to have them both removed from the list, is likely to make it more difficult to get Nawaz removed.

    • Coel says:

      I am aware of Hirsi Ali’s remarks, but do not consider her to be an extremist. In essence she is anti an ideology (Islam) not anti the people (Muslims). It is because she is pro-Muslim that she is anti-Islam and wants a radically reformed and more tolerant Islam.

      Is this a “clash of civilisations”? Well yes, in the same way that in the last century there have been “clashes” with the ideologies of communism and variants of fascism. But plenty of those opposed to Soviet/Chinese communism or German fascism, and seeing those as harmful influences on the world, were not “extremists”, and in the same way one can be opposed to the ideologies of mainstream Islam without being an extremist.

      • BigBillK says:

        I agree. Yes, Hirsi Ali may be prone to intemperate remarks and hyperbole, but she is by no means anti-muslim. And I especially sympathize with her because I am prone to the same tendencies, especially when dealing with delusionals.

      • Ken says:

        I noted that her quotes may not have been accurate, given the botched job on Nawaz’s. But if true and not retracted, they would indeed be problematic, whatever else is in Ali’s history which I agree has included a lot of suffering. The “clash” meme is generally used in this context by those who think military confrontation is inevitable and so other means of resolution shouldn’t be attempted, and that is what these quotes amount to. So I hope she has dialed back on this kind of talk as claimed. I also agree that “anti-Muslim extremist” would be an unfair label for her regardless.

    • BigBillK says:

      I think an overlooked part of the problem is the tendency of western culture, especially in the US, to (as Jerry Coyne would say) osculate the rump of faith. The unjustified and unjustifiable idea that “faith” must hold a special place of being unassailable and unquestioned is partly to blame for the desire to not be seen as anti-Islam. There are many religious liberals in the US and they can’t bring themselves to criticize any of the cults of the Abrahamic myths because it calls into question their own nonsense. And they simply can’t deal with that. So they get in bed with CAIR and other groups/people whose agenda is to shut down any criticism whatsoever of Islam.
      Faith, or as I prefer “delusion”, makes strange bedfellows, none more strange as the wedding of the Authoritarian Right (of which the Islamists are a part) and the Authoritarian Left, as Heather pointed out in her comment.

    • If I have time before the election I will do a separate post on Ayaan Hirsi Ali. She is more difficult because I know less about her and she has said some problematic things. However, most of them, such as those you note, she has since walked back. Her position these days is much more nuanced.

    • Ken Kukec says:

      True, there are reasonable grounds to take issue with some of what Hirsi Ali has said. Thus, her statements are easier to quote mine. But neither she nor Maajid Nawaz can be considered anti-Muslim extremists, by any rational measure, and neither has any business being on such a list.

  3. Yakaru says:

    Excellent piece, Heather. I agree, incidentally, with your preference for the term authoritarian left, as it describes their behavior — preferring to bark out orders about who and what is acceptable, rather than learning to analyze and argue. Nick Cohen’s “white left” is sadly even more accurate and damning.

    Some are willing to excuse the worst of Muslim behavior on the grounds of “neo-colonialism” or because “they’re angry”, but as soon as a Muslim criticizes or leaves their religion, all tolerance suddenly disappears. Ayyan Hirsi Ali has suffered horrendously, but won’t ever be forgiven for some poorly chosen words that she has since retracted. All sense of proportion has disappeared in this bizarre mix of reverse racism and anti-anti-Islamic witch-hunting.

    • Ken says:

      Yakaru, I was unaware that she’d retracted these views. That would certainly make a difference. Can you please post links.

      • Most of it is apparently in her latest book, which I haven’t read, but I’ve been told that by people whose opinion I trust. It’s one of the reasons it’s harder for me to do a post defending her, as I’ll have to read her latest book first to do it properly.

      • Yakaru says:

        It’s been a while since I read about the issue, and I can’t quickly find any straight forward links, but as Heather notes her latest book has been mentioned in this connection. (If you wanted to cite articles she has written, I could be more exact.) What I will say though, is that she stands unequivocally for freedom of speech. That is one litmus test the left should use in determining how much of an “extremist” someone is. Unfortunately the regressive left abandoned that in 1989 with Rushdie, and hasn’t tried to retrieve it since. Hence its complete loss of its moral compass.

      • Ken Kukec says:

        Jesus, we shouldn’t need to agree with every nuance of every utterance someone’s made to find that he or she shouldn’t be on such a list. Everything I’ve ever read or heard from Hirsi Ali, even her statements I’ve objected to most vehemently, has been within the realm of reasonable discourse. That alone ought to be enough to object to her being falsely labeled an “extremist.”

    • Thanks Yakaru. I see a fair bit of racism of low expectations too – you have to forgive DAESH because they’re angry is, imo, even worse than you say. It’s like saying that’s the sort of behaviour you can expect from Muslims who have been wronged. That effectively tars all Muslims who don’t react this way with the extremist brush too.

  4. Mark Sturtevant says:

    Excellent, excellent, excellent. I seriously don’t know how you find the time to do research and write so beautifully.

  5. Coel says:

    The infamous Hirsi Ali interview is this one here. Some comments:

    She is clearly against Islam (the ideology) not Muslims (the people). She regards the people (Muslims) as victims of the ideology.

    She says there is no such things as moderate Islam. This is *not* the same thing as saying there are no moderate Muslims! Muslims can be moderate by rejecting or over-looking mainstream Islamic teachings.

    The idea that mainstream Islam is not moderate (having an inherent tendency to being all-encompassing and thus totalitarian) seems to me reasonable. One could also say that communism, being all-encompassing, cannot be moderate, or that fascism cannot be moderate. If one said either of the latter I doubt if anyone would call you an “extremist”.

    She did not raise the issue of military action, she is simply talking about opposing Islam (the ideology) “in all forms”. She wants to “crush” the ideology, Islam, but does not say she wants to crush people (Muslims).

    As I read it, she is not an “extremist”, she is simply trying to wake the West up to what she sees as the non-moderate and totalitarian nature of mainstream Islam.

    [If anyone wants to put me on an SPLC list because I side with Hirsi Ali then I’d be honoured by her company. 🙂 ]

    Lastly, in her latest book Heretic, which I’ve read, she explicitly says that she’s revised some of the views expressed there, and is now more hopeful about reforming Islam from within, rather than first “crushing” it.

    • Ken says:

      Any idea what they mean by “conspiracy theories”?

      • Yakaru says:

        I *suspect* they are referring to his reports of Islamic extremists infiltrating outwardly “moderate” organizations (like religious instruction organizations for prisons and schools and government bodies). He has extensive personal experience in how this is done — as he writes about in his book.

        Clearly, extreme caution must be exercised with accusations of this nature, as it swiftly enters Trumpland, but Nawaz is careful to distinguish himself from such deplorables and always provides evidence for his accusations.

      • Yeah, what Yakaru said. The problem is that they’re conflating Islamists with Muslims – it’s an issue they’ve screwed up in with Hirsi Ali too. They don’t seem to know the difference between Islamist and Islamic. That’s seems to be a widespread knowledge deficit in the US. In the UK, everyone knows the difference and Nawaz’s comments about Islamist infiltration are based on actual knowledge. SPLC says that the comments are like saying all Muslims are spies, which is ridiculous, because Nawaz’s comments were specifically about Islamist tactics and had nothing to do with Islam in general.

        I partly blame Obama for this – I think it’s one of the consequences of not naming IslamIST terrorism. As a result, many USians put all Muslims in one basket and think they’re all the same. They don’t understand the difference because no one talks about it. Also, people in the Middle East, who he’s striving not to upset, also mostly oppose IslamISM, and certainly understand the difference.

        Saudi Arabia has an Islamist government, so they might not like it, but personally I think it’s about time the rest of the world stood up to them anyway.

    • Coel says:

      That SPLC update comment is just bad. They simply don’t know what they are talking about. It reads as if a school-kid was asked to write some homework on a topic, has done some superficial googling, and got it mostly wrong.

      “These are conspiracy theories and it’s dangerous to portray every Muslim essentially as an infiltrator”.

      Of course Nawaz is not saying that all Muslims are infliltrators! Sheesh SPLC!

      He is talking about IslamIST organisations (and, as Heather says, the difference between a Muslim and an Islamist is big; the latter are political activists who want to impose hardline Islam on society). And he’s quite correct that in the UK IslamIST organisations do have a tactic of infiltrating moderate IslamIC organisations.

      As a former member of Hizb ut-Tahrir, Nawaz knows this because he was part of it! There is also abundant evidence for under-cover reporters and from other ex-members of this tactic from the IslamISTS.

      SPLC have just got this very wrong.

  6. nicky says:

    As we have come to get used to, excellent post, again…
    You debunked the facetious anti-Maajid arguments pretty well.
    What you did not mention is that it is rumoured that that night club owner was a mainstream Muslim himself. If so, were his dancers muslim or infidel girls? Just would like to know.
    Your argument that his behavior, whether true or not, has not ianything to do with his purported extremism stands in any case.

    I’m an even greater admirer of Ayaan than of Maajid, since she takes the conclusions of her thoughts consequently, I’m happily counting on you to debunk the arguments against her too.
    I see absolutely nothing extremist in her statements if seen in context. One has to really distort, for example, that her “crushing” of Islam had any military or violent flavour.
    As a former Dutch citizen I’m sad she left Holland, she would have made a great prime minister. Would, e.g. have secularised education. Spilled milk…
    (Note, she was later vindicated as having told an acceptable, under duress, lie, but by then she already had moved to the US. Much to the gain of the US, and to the loss of Holland).

    • Coel says:

      The accusation that Ayaan lied to get immigration status in Holland is utterly bizarre coming from the Regressive Left. They would normally be the first to excuse anything such from migrants.

      If it were a black, female, burka-wearing hardline Islamist they would say “of course she had to lie, it’s the presence of unjust border controls that force migrants to lie; open borders please!”.

      But if it’s a black female who wears Western clothes and voices opposition to Islam then suddenly lying to immigration officials becomes a Big Deal.

    • I did remember from the time this all came out that the owner of the nightclub was a Muslim, but was unable to confirm it I so didn’t include it. (Though to tell the truth I didn’t try very hard to find out either.) But it does show that there was a whole lot of hypocrisy going on.

      And you’re right – nothing Ayaan Hirsi Ali has ever said has promoted violence. She’s an amazing woman, and I too admire her hugely. When you think of how her life started, and everything she’s been through, it’s incredible what she’s done with her life.

      And I agree with you and Coel – I can’t believe anyone has a problem with that particular lie. It was one she had to tell to survive and it’s just part of the attempt to smear her imo, and she gets smeared because she became an atheist.

      • Ken says:

        If she promoted a “clash” meme, called for a military solution, and said the West shouldn’t work with Muslims to find other resolutions, she was, at one time at least, promoting violence. And if she has now retracted those comments as claimed, why did she do so if not for the same reason?

        • Coel says:

          > If she promoted a “clash” meme, …

          I don’t agree that saying she wanted to “crush” the ideology of Islam amounts to promoting violence.

          > called for a military solution,

          She didn’t call for “a” military solution. She said she wanted to “crush” Islam, was asked “Militarily?” and answered “in all forms”. She wanted to oppose Islam, and she recognised that military action might be part of that. Well, it is, in the sense that the West is currently fighting at least one version of Islam, namely ISIS.

          > and said the West shouldn’t work with Muslims to find other resolutions, …

          I don’t think she’s ever said that the West should not work with moderates in the Islamic communities.

          Overall she was trying to wake the West up to what she sees as the harmful ideology of *mainstream* Islam. She’s never directly advocated violence. Indeed, she was vague and weak on how actually to oppose Islam.

          But, that’s not her forte, what she is wanting to do is to get the West to realise that mainstream Islam is not benign. Just because it’s a religion does not mean it is automatically benign!

          • Ken says:

            You may not agree, but that is what is often understood the “clash” meme to be about, so it isn’t unreasonable for people to think that is what is meant.

            And what did she feel the need to retract if not that.

          • Coel says:

            I wouldn’t regard “crush” as a “meme” in this context, since I’ve not heard it widely, so I would not over-interpret it.

            And she hasn’t “retracted”, she has merely said that more recently she’s got a lot more optimistic about the progress of moderate reformers within the Islamic world, and wants to support them as the best hope for reform.

          • Ken says:

            Not “crush”, “clash” of civilisations.

            As for her retraction, I’m just referring to what Yakaru and Heather said.

          • Coel says:

            OK, but talking about a “clash” of ideologies is not the same as advocating military action. Last century one could have written about the “clash of civilisations” between the capitalist West and the communist world, without being an advocate of a military invasion of communist countries.

            The term perhaps recognises the *potential* for military confrontations, but does not necessarily advocate them.

      • nicky says:

        In the Netherlands she was disliked by the ‘left’, because she joined a ‘right-wing’ party, the VVD (note that this ‘right-wing’ is somewhat left of Obama), not because of her atheism, which is mainstream in Holland.

  7. Yakaru says:

    Ken: “As for her retraction, I’m just referring to what Yakaru and Heather said.”

    Retraction was short hand for changing her opinion in some way. Coel has it more exactly.

    I find it pathetic that leftist organizations and leftists who bend over backwards to excuse terrorists if they are “angry”, label Ayaan an extremist because of a sentence or two that they were too lazy and ignorant to understand.

    • darrelle says:

      Could not agree more. It borders on despicable. Ayaan is about as close to a “leftist” archetypal heroine as is likely to occur in real life and instead of supporting her they label her an extremist and shun her. Pathetic.

      Regarding the typical criticisms of her by these leftist virtue signalers, in addition to laziness they are being intellectually dishonest, or perhaps unreasonably uncharitable, by not considering the context of her life experience. What percentage of those people, or any group, could emerge from such a life history with the character that Ayaan has displayed? Very few.

      • I’ve now written a post in defence of Ayaan Hirsi Ali. I need to check some stuff , and I’ve got some other things I have to do as well that will keep me away from the computer, but it will be out later today.

        I also wrote to SPLC following my first post and they have responded. I’ll post both of those emails and some more thoughts as well. Their response is, imo, appalling, but I’ll let readers make their judgment of that too.

  8. nicky says:

    Ken, thank you for that podcast. It once again shows how moderate, deeply understanding and intelligent Ayaan is. Pity you have to choose between Donald and Hillary, why are there no candidates like Ayaan? Would support her as POTUS any day.

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