Maajid Nawaz and Ayaan Hirsi Ali named as “anti-Muslim extremists” by the Southern Poverty Law Center

Many readers reported this incident to me, and I wish I had time to do justice to this story, though others, including Harry’s Place and especially Sarah Haider at The Ex-Muslim, have written about the story in detail.

The upshot: the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), increasingly a refuge for Social Justice Warriors, has published a list and analysis of critics of Islam called “A field guide to anti-Muslim activists” (pdf of the full report is here). The SPLC named 15 people who, in their view, “fuel the hatred of Muslims” in America. Among those named are marginal bigots like Pamela Geller as well as clearly genuine bigots like Frank Gaffney; but two names also appear who are familiar Muslim or ex-Muslim reformers: Maajid Nawaz and Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

You can read the analysis at the respective sections (Hirsi Ali here and Nawaz here), but all I find is recycling of the same old arguments long leveled by critics of these people: Nawaz is more interested in personal advancement than reform (shades of Nathan Lean!); Ayaan Hirsi Ali has made some unwise statements (true) and lied about her background to get entry into the Netherlands (true, but excusable and irrelevant); yet there’s nothing that convinces me that either person, especially Nawaz—the most conciliatory and reasonable of the Islam critics—is trying to fuel anti-Muslim hatred. That is, unless you equate “trying to temper Islamic extremism” with “anti-Muslim hatred.”

Re Hirsi Ali, here’s one of the “accusations” against her:

  • In a July 11, 2009, essay for the online World Post, Hirsi Ali criticized President Obama for denouncing “Islamic extremism without once asso­ciating Islam with extremism.” She threw cold water on the idea of the U.S cooperating with Muslims in order to battle jihadist extremism.

The criticism of Obama happens to be justified: the man has deliberately left all mention of religion out of his discussions of terrorism. As for throwing cold water on cooperation with Muslims, Hirsi addresses that in her latest book, which the SPLC neglects to mention. Her most recent view is that we should cooperate with Muslims to battle extremism, but real reform must ultimately come from the Muslim community itself. And it’s clearly a criticism of the faith itself, not of its adherents.

And this SPLC “criticism” is simply ridiculous:

While in the Netherlands, [Hirsi Ali] wrote the script for a short and provocative film about women and Islam directed by the Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh, who was murdered in the street by a jihadist a short time after its release. The murderer left a note threatening to also kill Hirsi Ali pinned to his victim’s body with a knife.

This really pisses me off. It is not a “provocative” film except to misogynist Muslims, for the video, “Submission” simply recounts the damage that Muslim theology does to Muslim women. Do watch the 10-minute film below and tell me why it should be criticized for inciting Muslim hatred. It is, instead, incisive criticism of the way Islamic doctrine oppresses women.

It is reprehensible that the SPLC mentions this courageous film—which led to Van Gogh’s death and Hirsi Ali’s permanent need for security guards—as some indictment of Hirsi Ali.

As I said, the SPLC report gives NO reference to Hirsi Ali’s 2016 book Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now, which is much more conciliatory than her previous writings, and in fact makes reasonable (though impractical) suggestions about how to “de-fang” Islam. (One example: get Muslims to stop reading the Qur’an literally. Good luck with that, since literalism is a tenet of Islam, even of many “moderate” sects.)

Here are three of the accusations against Nawaz, using his own words:

  • 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.”
  • According to a Jan. 24, 2014, report in The Guardian, Nawaz tweeted out a cartoon of Jesus and Muhammad  [JAC: a Jesus and Mo cartoon]— 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.”

What? That’s anti-Muslim hatred? Give me a break! Here’s Nawaz’s tweet:

The last charge against Nawaz by the SPLC:

  • 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.
 A lap dance! What does that have to do with hatred against Muslims? Further, the full veil is outlawed, reasonably, in certain public places in France. How that issue constitutes anti-Muslim hatred rather than protection of civil, democratic society is beyond me. And the Jesus and Mo cartoon simply asserted the right to criticize religious dictates.
Read the report for yourself, and see how they mix honest critics of Islam along with bigots. It’s a disappointment. The motivation for the report is pretty well nailed by Haider (my emphasis):
To the politically-motivated, it is of the utmost importance that the “narrative” around the religion of Islam remain undisturbed by critical voices. The good word has already been revealed: The ideology of Islam is, and always will be, entirely peaceful and good. The effect it has on its believers is, and always will be, entirely peaceful and good. When the faithful act in grotesque ways, the blame can only be placed on politics, poverty, or disposition. The mandates of the religion itself are beyond reproach, even by former or current Muslims.
Both actual violent extremists and reformers present a problem to this narrative: They claim that belief has a relation to the behavior.
In other words, like most Regressive Leftist views on Islam, the one thing you cannot do is connect the religion itself to the acts it inspires. An example is this new headline from (of course) PuffHo. (Click on screenshot below to go to the piece.)
screen-shot-2016-10-28-at-6-37-01-pm
PuffHo, of course, in all its theological wisdom, really knows the genuine meaning of “jihad”, and you can guess what it is. Nothing to do with real physical battle against nonbelievers, of course. Move along, nothing to see there.
As Haider concludes:

Nawaz’s entry may have been the most clearly ludicrous, but other profiles are similarly problematic. SPLC points to valid, factual claims made by those profiled as “evidence” of their extremism as often as it identifies falsehoods. Worse, it pools compassionate, anti-war Muslims with the likes of those who really do want to bomb the Muslim world – enacting terrible harm to the public discourse in the process.

Consistently, the report conflates criticism or dislike of the religion as “hate” against its believers – effectively granting this particular religion a privilege no other ideology maintains. In this sense, the SPLC, considered by many to be a progressive institution, allies itself with the right-wing theocrats of the East. In fact, the only string that really does tie together the supposed “extremists” listed in the SPLC guide is that they are all deeply despised by right-wing conservative Muslims.

. . . Already, too few are willing to stand up to religious privilege for the sake of human rights. When that privilege belongs to a religion whose followers include some ready to die (and kill) for the honor of their faith, activists face devastating costs. This report is an example of the careless, reactionary response by the American media (on both the right and the left) to the challenge posed by this religion. In the past, the Southern Poverty Law Center has built a reputation among progressives for identifying and monitoring the activities of domestic hate groups. With this report, it has tarnished its reputation and joined the ranks of the hate-mongers it purports to combat.

As critics of Islam are hunted by Muslim fanatics around the world, I hope we will remember the courage and sacrifice of those willing to speak out, and the role played by unscrupulous detractors painting targets on their backs.

When I read stuff like the SPLC report, I sometimes agree with a person—I can’t recall their name—who criticized Regressive Leftists for thinking that “the only authentic Muslim has a Kalashnikov in one hand and a Qur’an in the other.” The SPLC, it seems, shares that view, and, when demonizing Nawaz’s tweeting out a Jesus and Mo cartoon (adding that God was greater than could be offended by it), the SPLC mistakes critics of Islam for bigots against Muslims. It’s the classic Islamophobia Conflation Syndrome. As Haider says, the SPLC has truly discredited itself with this one.

Reader Chris wrote to the SPLC criticizing its inclusion of Hirsi Ali and Nawaz, and I reproduce their response to him in full:

From: SPLC Comments <webcontact@splcenter.org>
Sent: Friday, October 28, 2016 12:51 PM
To: [Name Redacted]
Subject: Re: Site Comments & Inquiries – [Name redacted]- Thu, 10/27/2016 – 8:26pm

Thank you very much for your email.

We appreciate your sharing your concerns about our inclusion of Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Maajid Nawaz in our booklet, “Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists.” We do, however, respectfully disagree with your critique. Let me explain our position here.

You write in regard to Hirsi Ali, who has repeatedly called for the closing of Islamic schools. This is not taken out of context or interpretation. Hirsi Ali also repeatedly claims that there is no “moderate” Islam, which vilifies millions and millions of peaceful Muslims practicing their faith.

Also, our report does not claim that she advocates violence. Our concern here is the media employing individuals who depict the Muslim community unfairly and stereotypically.

We respectfully disagree with your assessment that Nawaz is “non-extremist.” Let me cite some examples as to why we came to this conclusion. For starters, his organization sent a letter to a security official, according to The Guardian, that said, “the ideology of non-violent Islamists is broadly the same as that of violent Islamists.” The same letter also makes other wild accusations, including that Muslim groups, a television channel and a Scotland Yard anti-terror unit share the ideology of terrorists. We make this point in our report.

Last year, Nawaz said something similar about academic institutions in Britain in a piece for theNew York Times. He wrote, “In fact, academic institutions in Britain have been infiltrated for years by dangerous theocratic fantasists.” This talk of infiltration and sharing of extremist Islamic ideas within academia and government is a common anti-Muslim trope. Other extremists in our report, such as Frank Gaffney and John Guandolo, have said similar things.

I’d like to add that the calling for a ban of any religious dress is indeed extreme, regardless of the religious institution. Calling for a ban on the niqab is akin to banning a kippah. Daniel Pipes, another extremist on this list, has also called for a similar ban. These calls are contrary to religious freedom.

Finally, in reference to the “Jesus and Mo” cartoon tweet, depicting the Prophet Mohammad in any form is a very offensive thing for Muslims, but of course is protected by the First Amendment, as it should be. Let me be clear though that we do not claim in the report that this was “hate speech.” Other examples of Nawaz’s problematic positions are included in our report.

I’m sorry that you disagree with our conclusions and we greatly appreciate your support of Southern Poverty Law Center.

Sincerely,

Heidi Beirich

Director, Intelligence Project

I can only imagine the frustration that ex-Muslims or moderate Muslims feel—people like Haider, Asra Nomani, Ali Rizvi, Asra Nomani, and others—when they see a once-reputable organization like the SPLC criticize the few Leftists who make honest assertions about the danger of Islamic doctrine. Who would the SPLC approve of as valid critics of Islam—Muslim apologists like David Lean or C. J. W*rL*m*n?

UPDATE: Other readers are getting the same response as the one above when they write only about Maajid Nawaz, not mentioning Ayaan Hirsi Ali. That shows that the SPLC simply ginned up a boilerplate response.

As one reader who got that told me:

. . . I sent a mail to the Southern Poverty Law Center to complain about their smearing of Maajid Nawaz and not long afterwards received this(utterly cursory) reply. Since it mentions Ayaan Hirsi Ali throughout, and nowhere in my mail did I bring her up, I suspect that it’s an identikit reply that they churn out whenever they get complaints about the inclusion of either Maajid Nawaz or Hirsi Ali in their ‘field guide to anti-Muslim extremists’. It’s lazy and viciously ignorant. What the hell is going on over there? I’m fairly used to solitary illiberal-leftists smearing Nawaz, but an entire, previously respectable organisation…?

Anyway, it might be of interest to you as an example of their wrongheadedness. This has really angered me.
h/t: Saul, Rose,  Chris, and other readers

Addendum: There is a Change.org petition to remove their names started by Ahnaf Kalam here. These petitions don’t always have an effect, but I think that it is at least a way of registering your disapproval and spreading awareness of the problem. I’ve signed it. -Grania

79 Comments

  1. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted October 29, 2016 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    Where is Barry Goldwater when we really need him??

    “I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!”

    –Acceptance Speech as the 1964 Republican Presidential candidate

    (Hey, Bob Dylan admitted he was a fan of BarGol in his autobiography last decade!!)

    • Carl
      Posted October 29, 2016 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

      JohnLynHarvey writes:
      Where is Barry Goldwater when we really need him??

      Still dead, but his reputation is still rising. We are now distant enough in time to make a truer assessment of the man. What midgets today’s candidates are in comparison.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted October 29, 2016 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

        Like a fine claret, Barry’s reputation has certainly improved over time. (Barry himself also improved over time, taking on the religious right and speaking out in favor of women’s reproductive freedom in his later years.)

        But there was a lot of ugliness associated with his presidential run. Let us not forget that he became a favorite of the Right by opposing the Civil Rights Act of 1964. As a result, he swept five states of the former Confederacy (the only five states he won, other than his home state of Arizona).

        It is an ugliness that the GOP has long flirted with since, with its so-called “southern strategy,” but that has now recrudesced fully with the candidacy of Donald Trump. No amount of time in the barrel can cure those bitter tannins.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted October 29, 2016 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

          One need only watch the clips of Goldwater delegates shouting down Nelson Rockefeller’s efforts to introduce a moderate plank in favor of civil rights to the platform of the 1964 GOP convention to see the parallel to a Trump rally.

          • Carl
            Posted October 29, 2016 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

            Yes, but you won’t hear Trump say anything like what Goldwater is on record saying toward the end of his life:

            “Do not associate my name with anything you do. You are extremists, and you’ve hurt the Republican party much more than the Democrats have.”

        • Carl
          Posted October 29, 2016 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

          Sure, we should look at the entire record. He had principled reasons for opposing the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and they were not racist. He supported civil rights in his own state in the 1950s.

          He had character and integrity that shames both of the Clintons and Donald Trump.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted October 29, 2016 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

            Sure, Goldwater wasn’t a racists (though many of his supporters were) and he gave non-racist reasons for opposing the CRA of 1964. But he was wrong — as even William F. Buckley, Jr., the Goldwater ally who read the John Birch Society out of the conservative movement on Barry’s behalf, eventually conceded.

            I look back on Barry fondly, but try to do so unoccluded by nostalgia.

            • Carl
              Posted October 29, 2016 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

              Likewise, I disagree with the particular aspect of Goldwater’s Federalism that elevated the rights of States over the rights of “the People” (as individuals).

            • Diane G.
              Posted October 29, 2016 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

              You sure that was Bill? I didn’t have to look up a single word.

          • Craw
            Posted October 29, 2016 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

            Indeed. His principled reasons were precisely which powers which government had. He supported civil rights laws enforced by the levels he thought constitutionally had those powers.

            • Ken Kukec
              Posted October 29, 2016 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

              The 14th Amendment guarantees, in relevant part, the “equal protection of the laws,” as well as all “privileges and immunities” of citizenship, to all US citizens regardless of race. Section 5 of that Amendment authorizes the United States congress “to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.”

              That (and the Constitution’s “commerce clause”) provide more than sufficient authority to support federal legislation prohibiting discrimination on account of race at places of public accommodation. The courts put all contentions to the contrary to rest long ago, and rational, reasonable people no longer contest that proposition.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted October 29, 2016 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

      Speaking of Mister Dylan, I see he has now acknowledged his receipt of the Nobel Lit prize.

      He says that news of the prize “left him speechless.” He describes it as an “amazing, incredible” honor and says he intends to travel to Stockholm in December to accept the award in person.

  2. Posted October 29, 2016 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    Reblogged this on The Logical Place.

  3. Posted October 29, 2016 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    And yet, no Sam Harris or Bill Maher? (Not that they deserve it) Why would that be other than as punishment for daring not to be the right kind of minorities?

    • peltonrandy
      Posted October 29, 2016 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

      Why isn’t Donald Trump on this list?

    • Diane G.
      Posted October 29, 2016 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

      Excellent point!

    • nicky
      Posted October 29, 2016 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

      Reading these ludicrous ‘accusations’, one wonders why our host is not on the list.
      At any rate, one should consider it an honour to share a list with Ayaan and Maajid.

  4. Richard Sanderson
    Posted October 29, 2016 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    People will note just how quiet the regressive left SJW bedfellows at FreeThoughtBlogs and The Orbit have been over this.

    Obviously, a progressive Liberal Muslim activist like Maajid Nawaz is not enough of a Muslim for them.

  5. Posted October 29, 2016 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    This is among the most disgusting allegations against Ali:

    Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a Somali-born activist who says she endured female genital mutilation

    Says?!?

    Are they actually questioning this?

    WTF?!?

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted October 29, 2016 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

      Just outrageous! Who do they think they are?

      They did great work opposing racism and supporting civil rights. They should stick to what they’re good at – it’s not as if racism has gone away. There’s lots to do there still.

    • Craw
      Posted October 29, 2016 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

      In other news, Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still allegedly dead.

  6. jay
    Posted October 29, 2016 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    I’ve had contempt for SPLC for years after I wound up on their mailing list for a while. The self righteously create enemies to keep to donations rolling in.

    I never take them seriously.

  7. Posted October 29, 2016 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    TellMAMA U.K., an organisation that monitors anti-Muslim bigotry in the U.K. and has, in fact, been criticised as overly-sensitive to the point of paranoia has actually criticised the inclusion of Nawaz in this list – but what would they know, being the largest organisation monitoring this issue in the country where Nawaz actually lives?

  8. Posted October 29, 2016 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    Michael Nugent on the issue:

    And from the other end of the human spectrum, C J W*rl*m*n:

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted October 29, 2016 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

      At least you never have to worry where you’re gonna find Werleman. Look on the low road, on the wrong side of any issue, and there he is.

  9. Posted October 29, 2016 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    And this, folks, is why any attempt to reform is perpetually deformed.

  10. George Millo
    Posted October 29, 2016 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    A small correction: I think you mean Nathan Lean, not David Lean.

  11. Ken Kukec
    Posted October 29, 2016 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    I like Morris Dees, and I was a supporter of the SPLC in its early days. But since it long ago shifted its focus from fighting the death penalty and defending civil-rights activists to prosecuting civil lawsuits against the Klan and other right-wing groups, the SPLC has been dicey on free-speech issues. Of late, as with this list, it’s descended into full-blown Regressivism.

    • Carl
      Posted October 29, 2016 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

      I agree, it’s like encountering a respected person from one’s youth wallowing in degradation.

  12. chewy
    Posted October 29, 2016 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    SPLC has gotten so very full of itself in recent years — got too big, hired professional fund raisers, no doubt. The hate-watch business has ballooned insanely. I’ve been dubious about it for years; mostly pointless. I have written SPLC to say I’m parting company after supporting them significantly (for me) for decades, as did my parents who were impressed with Morris Dees. SPLC is completely out of its league now, and just another self-important vanity organization.

  13. jay
    Posted October 29, 2016 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    Another commentary on this

    https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/9210/splc-racists

    • Diane G.
      Posted October 29, 2016 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

      Great article!

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted October 29, 2016 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

        The author of that piece, Douglas Murray, is pretty far to the Right. Now, I’m happy to make common cause with conservatives when our goals and interests align. But beware, just as when the lamb and lion lie down together, you’re in for a fitful snooze.🙂

        • Diane G.
          Posted October 29, 2016 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

          Thanks for the heads-up! Looks like the website is as well.

          Went back to give the article a second glance and still thought it was great. (Did you have any problems with it?)

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted October 29, 2016 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

            No, I thought it stuck with the facts, mostly. Maybe a little snarky about how much the SPLC staffers might be motivated by their own personal financial interests, but otherwise pretty much, well, on the money.

          • Posted October 29, 2016 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

            The thing is about Douglas Murray, Ken and Diane, is that he doesn’t take any crap. And he does, in his rhetorical style, demonstrate his complete lack of patience with evidence-averse virtue signallers.
            No, Murray, who was a buddy of Hitchens, doesn’t often have a go at the fascist right which goes off on one about Islamists, (even though I have seen him do it), but his main source of disappointment and disgust is at the regressive leftists who enable Islamists.
            As an example, take Maryam Namazie’s views on Syrian refugees. I am thinking of her disastrous podcast with Sam Harris. Of course, we have to do something about them in a humanitarian way, But DM points out, and I agree with him, that the Bataclan attackers entered Europe as Syrian refugees. Further, we know that Assad’s rape and death squads, the Shabiha, are doing the same. Sooner or later, you do have to deal, as a state, with the facts.
            DM points this out and therefore we have to take this into account when sorting out immigration policy. This is entirely rational and a fact we have to address, instead of infantilizing ourselves and demonstrating how wonderfully empathetic we are, as if compassion were the sole prerogative of one small section of the left.
            DM addressed the UK Secular Society in the last couple of weeks giving fulsome praise to Raheel Raza and Maajid Nawaz.
            DM looks like an old-fashioned liberal, fed up with the holier-than-thou wish fulfilment ideology of British liberals and leftists: and on that I agree with him.

            • Diane G.
              Posted October 29, 2016 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

              Hmm, this is like Ping Pong…

              Can’t find a thing I don’t like in your description of DM, Dermot. I identify with that person.

              • Posted October 29, 2016 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

                Ping Pong? PING PONG?? It’s chuffin’ table tennis, Diane! Get it right, you damned colonials.
                Your evah-lovin’ mentee,
                Dermot C.

              • Saul Sorrell-Till
                Posted October 30, 2016 at 4:46 am | Permalink

                Try watching some of Douglas’s YT videos, for example his magnificent response to the Charlie killings and the Islamist sympathisers who poured out to smear the cartoonists: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BR4Na1Rshjo https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aalO6DYX3Gg

                I disagree that he’s far to the right as Ken Kukec says, although his politics on many issues are more conservative than mine. He’s centre-right I’d say, and a social liberal. He’s also a fabulous public speaker and luxuriously intelligent.

            • somer
              Posted October 29, 2016 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

              He did once describe Syrian refugees en masse as “Peter Pans” which i thought was uncalled for. But then in Britain the Labour party has become ridiculously pro Islam, and has long had a number of highly pro Islamist politicians. There are outfits like the Guardian and the Independent – though they do publish some good stuff. Moreover the BBC, whilst occasionally critical, normally errs on the side of non offence and false harmony (like the ABC here), and just keeps on having Islamists (defined as people who want to impose Islam and Islamic laws on society).

              There has been huge muslim resistance to a reasonable anti terrorist program, Prevent, that aims to encourage extremists to deradicalise – right wing anti migrant, anti muslim extremists just as much as anyone else. The Muslim Council of Britain supports virulent homophobia and misogyny and virulent anti Ahmadi preachers. There have been various scandals where islamists have been found to take control of a number of public as well as private schools

              Senior Anglican clerics coddle Islam in the UK and there is even the odd naive Tory MP like Ormond who does. At any rate the Tories are v fond of the Saudis and loth to criticise any religion. Then there was Rotherdam where 1100 girls were abused etc.

        • Historian
          Posted October 29, 2016 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

          The chairman of the Gatestone Institute is the odious John R. Bolton. If you have any liberal leanings, it is not a good idea to become too comfortable with any organization that Mr. Bolton is associated with.

          • Diane G.
            Posted October 29, 2016 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

            Noted.

          • somer
            Posted October 29, 2016 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

            Yes, then it must be pretty right wing. Bolton is the neocon that wants the UN to be dismantled

        • Carl
          Posted October 29, 2016 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

          Murray calls himself a neo-conservative. He wrote a book by that title. Conservatives, Classical Liberals, and Libertarians hold many ideas in common. For one thing, we never needed a label like “regressive left” we already had “illiberal” and “failed liberal” to do the job. We all descend intellectually from a Liberal political philosophy with liberty the fundamental value.

          It’s best not to form a judgement about someone by slapping on a label to perform the task. I’m not accusing anyone here of doing that, but some of the comments seem to lean that way.

          Sam Harris did a two hour podcast with Douglas Murray last November for anyone interested.

          • Diane G.
            Posted October 29, 2016 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

            Damn, I wish Sam would provide transcripts of his podcasts! I am interested, but…2 hours?!

            • Carl
              Posted October 29, 2016 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

              Listening all at once is not required.

              Also, I think Dave Rubin did an hour with Murray at some later point.

              Also, Murray has a more recent book “Islamophilia.”

              • Diane G.
                Posted October 29, 2016 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

                Yes, but the point is that reading is SO much faster.🙂

                Thanks for all the info.

              • Carl
                Posted October 29, 2016 at 11:37 pm | Permalink

                I’m such a slow reader that didn’t occur to me.

                Due to this discussion, I’m 30 minutes into relistening. One of Sam’s best interviews.

  14. Posted October 29, 2016 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    So Heidi Beirich, SPLC, regards it as a “wild accusation” that Nawaz said: “the ideology of non-violent Islamists is broadly the same as that of violent Islamists”.

    I just wonder whether Beirich realises that he said “non-violent Islamists”, not “non-violent believers in Islam”. Because, what Nawaz said seems to be largely true, and as a former Islamist himself he may well be in a position to know.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted October 29, 2016 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

      That’s similar to what I wrote when I signed the petition. They are repeatedly conflating Islam and Islamism. It’s a common error in the US which I partly blame Obama for because of his failure to name Islamist terrorism. Because no one talks about the difference between Islam and Islamism publicly, not enough people understand the difference.

      • nicky
        Posted October 29, 2016 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

        Yes, mentioned the same point on ‘Friendly Ateist’.
        It should be pointed out though, that many Muslims are decent non-Islamists *despite* their scriptures, not *because* of them.
        The Islamic trilogy is (eg.) spewing more jew-hatred -as measured in relative amount of ‘space’- than ‘Mein Kampf’.

    • eric
      Posted October 31, 2016 at 9:45 am | Permalink

      Mr. Nawaz’s words were a bit ill-considered – ‘ideology’ can be a very broad term – but you have to be really looking for offense to consider this hate speech.

      I think the more accurate way of parsing Nawaz’s point is that the groups share much of the same theology and many cultural elements. Obviously though, mainstream Muslims don’t share the extremists’ position on when (and for what reasons) it’s valid to use force. And that, specifically, is the bit of the ideology that we need to work to change.

      The same could be said about many groups. The ideology of the RCC of the 15th century is broadly the same as the ideology of the RCC of the 21st century. Its still Trinitarian Monotheism, focused around Jesus, with emphasis on both works and faith. But today, nobody expects the Spanish inquisition.🙂

  15. bugfolder
    Posted October 29, 2016 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    I’ve been a big financial supporter of SPLC for many years, but no more. In response to my email to them, I received almost exactly the same email you print above (with a few custom phrases added, and mine was “signed” by Morris Dees and sent by one Courtney Faulkner). I found the reply infuriating, as it was quite nonresponsive to the points I raised (I still await their explanation of how a lap dance equates to anti-Muslim extremism.). It simply repeated their original position, which seemed odd, but now that makes sense, seeing as how it’s a form reply.

    I see from #12 that I am not the only donor they’ve lost. I hope that even if reason doesn’t make an impact on them, the loss of funding will.

    • Posted October 30, 2016 at 2:52 am | Permalink

      According to wiki they have $300 million in the bank, so it won’t.😦

  16. Posted October 29, 2016 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    The one positive here is maybe it will put a bee in the bonnet of those, particularly atheists, on the left who argue the whole SJW/regressive issue is overblown because we “highlight examples of the worst behavior by extremists on the fringe, who don’t represent significant numbers of people”. The SPLC is about as respected, and mainstream as it gets in liberal circles, and here they’ve gone full bore regressive.

  17. Carl S
    Posted October 29, 2016 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    I also got the boilerplate answer. I assume they sent out canned replies due to the large number of questions and complaints they received. Will be interesting to see if there is any public statement or change in attitude. Meanwhile, despite the good they’ve done over the years, they’ve lost my support.

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted October 30, 2016 at 4:38 am | Permalink

      I wrote the spiel copy/pasted at the bottom of Jerry’s post after getting an SPLC reply that mentioned Ayaan Hirsi Ali even though I hadn’t written a word about her in my e-mail to them. Classy stuff.

      It’s telling that they had a boilerplate reply at the ready, one that knew exactly which two of their choices was going to prove controversial. This is such unbelievably shitty behaviour.

  18. GBJames
    Posted October 29, 2016 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

    Sub

  19. rickflick
    Posted October 29, 2016 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

    The Southern Poverty Law Center, like most any organization really, has a life cycle. It came out of the civil rights movement and has perhaps outlived its usefulness. I’d say, the thing to do is to point out it’s shortcomings and let it slowly fade away.

  20. nicky
    Posted October 29, 2016 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

    Is the closing of all Islamic schools (as proposed by Ayaan for Holland -wish she would have stayed there for that reason), secular education in other words, extremist?
    Is the niqab, instrument of female suppression, like a kippah?
    Is there no infiltration of fundamentalist Islam in ‘western’ societies? Have they ever been to, say, Molenbeek or Borgerhout in Belgium? The SPLC itself appears to be infiltrated.
    Are the aims of non-violent Islamists really different from those of the violent ones?

    Ayaan and Maajid are not extremists, they are the *target* of extremists. They are like wildebeest crossing a river full of crocs. Talk about blaming the victim.

    Thank you, SPLC, for this ridiculous labelling, promoting Islamic extremists and their SJW sycophants.

  21. Vaal
    Posted October 29, 2016 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

    Letter from SPLC:
    “Our concern here is the media employing individuals who depict the Muslim community unfairly and stereotypically.”….
    “For starters, his organization sent a letter to a security official, according to The Guardian, that said, “the ideology of non-violent Islamists is broadly the same as that of violent Islamists.” “

    Oh for F$ck sakes!

    Maajid Nawaz has continually made it his calling card to carefully and at pains DISTINGUISH between Islam the religion, and peaceful Muslims in general, vs the specific movement he identifies with the term “Islamism” – a “political ideology that seeks to impose itself on society.”,

    Didn’t these people even note the “ISM” added to “ISLAM” and wonder why that term was being used? These SPLC people don’t seem to care to even read or understand what Nawaz is saying.

    This looks like the work of people driven to misunderstand people like Nawaz at any cost.

    • nicky
      Posted October 30, 2016 at 3:25 am | Permalink

      Yep. Although many Muslims are islamISTS, many are not. The famous pew survey gives some idea about the numbers that can be inferred. The IslamISTS do not appear to be a negligible minority.
      But even if they were -and they are not-, it does not invalidate Maajid’s comment on the goals of non-violent and violent IslamISTS being broadly the same.

      It appears that the SPLC has been infiltrated by SJW Islamist apologists or even Islamists themselves.

  22. somer
    Posted October 30, 2016 at 12:34 am | Permalink

    Re Maajid Nawaz at the strip club. As indicated its irrelevant to the alleged “anti Muslim extemism”. Also the report to the Daily mail made by the muslim owner of the club, who is politically hostile to Maajid, but Maajid was there on his (now) wife’s knowledge, as part of his bucks night prior to his second marriage. His first wife wants nothing to do with him since he left Hisbut tahrir and the child is from his first marriage (and who the first wife’s family have withheld contact from). Moreover some of the photos look more like she is being forward to him and trying to elicit touching. Just dirt.

    • nicky
      Posted October 30, 2016 at 3:49 am | Permalink

      A Muslim owner of a night-club hostile to Nawaz? I bet all of his lady employees are kufar, immodest, infidel, western sluts, ne? No decent Muslim girl there, I presume. (would take a bet on that).
      This double morality (condoned by the Trilogy) is what pisses me off most.

      • nicky
        Posted October 30, 2016 at 4:01 am | Permalink

        All western, infidel women are sluts anyway, where anything goes. Cf ‘Cologne’ or ‘Rotherham’. Maybe I get carried away a bit here, but that attitude is not uncommon, and condoned by the Trilogy.
        Worse than Trump, the latter only stated that if you are a ‘star’, women consent to let you grope them. In Islamic ideology consent is not even a consideration.

        • Saul Sorrell-Till
          Posted October 30, 2016 at 4:54 am | Permalink

          I don’t think you got carried away.

          Where was that nightclub bombing supposed to take place? The one that was foiled, and they had the bombers on tape talking about how it would only kill a load of ‘sluts and slags’ so they weren’t really innocent civilians? That’s what Islamists think of women. Trump is a character from a Jane Austen novel by comparison.

        • somer
          Posted October 30, 2016 at 8:34 am | Permalink

          No I think some of his advances are not wanted at all and some of his sexual assaults from grope to rape are done on young women who have found themselves in disadvantageous situations from poverty and childhood domestic abuse into a road of sexualisation and pimp/marketer abuse and typecasting that ultimately traps them in particular roles. His contacts and suing power ultimately make him untouchable in terms of punishment for sexual abuse. I also think if he were from a Wahabi style Muslim background he would have a harem of bought slaves and /or slave workers whom he would torture at will whilst being charming to any guest who could assist his position. His whole career is about appearance, manipulation and lies. He will dump anyone once he gets what he wants out of them. His former (model) wife accused him of raping her but retracted it to get a settlement for herself and children. He’s denied healthcare assistance to his grievously sick nephew out of spite. He paid thousands of (specially imported) polish workers $8 a day and made them sleep on the site to build trump tower. He was a great friend of serial rapists Roger Ailes and Jeffrey Epstein. His grandfather was an owner of multiple brothels. and he has all the instincts of a dictator. Incite violent rallies. Say you’ll Jail hillary once in power. Tell people that if you lose it can only be because of vote rigging. Say you’ll deport millions of people. Praise putin and be on record saying how much you like Russian plutocrats. Pretend to care about workers but have no actual policies on how to create jobs and keep talking about how you’ll cut taxes, not provide services. Trump can afford to argue for isolationism because his business is purely national and has no trade component – besides a lot of it is just deals about movements in value. I don’t like Hillary, she’s a corporate shill but at least she doesnt despise rule of law and has some sense of the national interest.

          • somer
            Posted October 30, 2016 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

            Oh and Trump has promised to go after (legally) all the women who’ve accused him of sexual assault after the election. There’s a real cost to opposing him legally because he has enormous wealth to spend on lawyers and he’s utterly ruthless going after people who oppose him. He’s also recently opined how unfairly reviled he is and how America must adopt the appalling british Libel law – the same ones that saw Deborah Lipstadt having to raise tens of millions to fight a case that, yes, the holocaust did happen

      • somer
        Posted October 30, 2016 at 8:19 am | Permalink

        Agree its full of hypocrisy and leans on regressive leftists to enable it to blame all its ills on The West. (i.e. Islamic self inflicted ills are mainly extreme internecine violence ultimately based on religion and a religion that values maintenance of tribal authority structures and lineage purity above all else) The religion emphasises extreme brainwashing in its comprehensive rituals and close knit kin based structures and extreme punishment for non conformity

  23. Posted October 30, 2016 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    I’ve just had a rant on my blog about this.

  24. nicky
    Posted October 30, 2016 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    Would like to see their finances, would not be surprised to find Saud as important donors.

  25. ratabago
    Posted October 30, 2016 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    Maajid Nawaz has responded here: I’m A Muslim Reformer. Why Am I Being Smeared as an ‘Anti-Muslim Extremist’?

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/10/29/i-m-a-muslim-reformer-why-am-i-being-smeared-as-an-anti-muslim-extremist.html


2 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] 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 […]

  2. […] is how Jerry Coyne described this particular attack in his post on the subject. My opinion pretty much mirrors […]

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