You may remember my posts late last year about the Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) ‘Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists’. Here are the links:
Their outrageous action of including Maajid Nawaz and Ayaan Hirsi Ali on a list of anti-Muslim extremists destroyed their credibility. The reasons they gave for their actions were either weak, specious, or just plain wrong. Since then instead of admitting their mistake, they’ve doubled down. Worse, they’re now adding a new error to their reasons for their position.
New Egregious Action by SPLC
The new error is to further slander Nawaz.
Heidi Beirich, Head of Intelligence (whatever that means) at SPLC and another SPLC staffer were speaking at Duke University in February. An audience member questioned them about their inclusion of Nawaz and Ali on their list of anti-Muslim extremists. They were clearly ready for the question and had prepared a response.
The video is more than 1 hour 20 minutes long, and I haven’t seen the whole thing. The question and answer including the slander are just after the hour mark. (The video should start at that point.)
I’m not going to give a transcript of the question because I can’t hear it well enough to be sure it would be accurate. However, you can hear it in the video for yourselves. Below is Beirich’s response.
Transcript of Beirich’s Comment
Beirich: Yeah. let me take that question. That is a criticism that supporters of Ali and Maajid Nawaz have made repeatedly towards us. A couple of things about what we produce because there’s been some confusion, I think including coming out of Maajid Nawaz’s institute. [The Quilliam Foundation.] That’s not a list of extremists in terms of our hate-group listing that we put out. What we put out was a guide for journalists of people that we don’t think, and some of our allies don’t think, are appropriate people to go on TV to discuss Islam. And so our point was to say if you’re going to have a discussion about Islam, you should take people who are fair about it.
Let me just give you a problem of Maajid Nawaz – our problem with him. He believes that all mosques should be surveilled. In other words his opinion is that all Muslims are potential terrorists. That is problematic for us, and is something that we don’t think is fair if you’re having a discussion about Muslims and terrorism. So that’s one example. I’m happy to talk to you about it more at length. But that was the point of that.
It wasn’t to say all these people are members of hate groups. Some of them are that are on there like Pamela Gellar’s group. It was to say if you’re going to have sessions about Islam, Islamic terrorism, in the media, let’s at least get people who don’t cast aspersions on the entire population. Fair people. Conservative or liberal, that doesn’t matter, but not people who decide that all Muslims are suspect.
Duke University Challenges Beirich on her Anti-Free Speech Stance
Duke University: Are you saying then that the idea that some people have that all Muslims are suspect should not be heard on the US airwaves?
Beirich: I don’t think that’s a fair discussion point to talk about these issues. I think that that is a truly extremist position. It’s not held up by the facts. I’d call it fake news.
Maajid Nawaz on Facebook
Nawaz responded to the accusation that, “He believes that all mosques should be surveilled.” and that “all Muslims are potential terrorists.”
Copy of Nawaz’s Facebook Post
Copy of Nawaz’s Facebook post (for those who can’t see it)
Unable to defend listing me as an anti-Muslim extremist when questioned last week at Duke University the Southern Poverty Law Center‘s ‘Head of Intelligence’ Heidi Beirich is now totally making stuff up. Here she says that I call for the surveillance of every mosque. The truth is I’ve only ever spoken *against* increased surveillance (http://www.lbc.co.uk/…/maajid-rages-at-the-snoopers-charter/).
I challenge the SPLC to provide evidence for this additional defamation.
Weirdly, not only was this outright falsehood not listed as one of their original reasons, I’ve never even said anything that comes close to such an absurdity. Listen to the slander from 1:02:37
In the comments on this post Nawaz writes:
For everyone asking about taking legal action. I’m investigating matters. I promise to update you on this page soon.
I hope Nawaz does take legal action. The SPLC shouldn’t be able to get away with this. Not content with putting the lives of Nawaz and Ali at risk, defaming them, and refusing to acknowledge the errors in the reasons for their original inclusion (see previous posts), they are now making up new lies to justify their actions.
Beirich calls “casting aspersions on the entire population” of Muslims fake news. Actually it isn’t. It is simply an opinion that doesn’t have the backing of any data. It’s wrong, not fake.
Fake news is making up something that is totally false, like saying someone “believes that all mosques should be surveilled”. While accusing others of disseminating fake news, it’s actually her that’s doing it.
The SPLC has now gone down even further in my estimation, and I didn’t think that was possible.
Petition to Remove Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Maajid Nawaz from SPLC’s ‘Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists’
This Change.org petition was launched by Ahnaf Kalam in October last year just after the field guide was released. I was one of the first to sign it, and I know many of you have already signed it as well. In the first six days it gained almost 10,000 signatures. That’s slowed down now – the total was 11,371 at the time of writing.
Please consider signing this petition if you haven’t already, and share it on your social networks. Thank you.
If you enjoyed reading this, please consider donating a dollar or two to help keep the site going. Thank you.