SPLC removed its “field guide to anti-Muslim activists,” which included Maajid Nawaz and Ayaan Hirsi Ali

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) once played a pivotal role in fighting for the rights of African-Americans in America, but has now fallen on hard times; or rather, flush with cash and needing to cry wolf, they’ve shifted focus to more questionable activities. They’ve engaged in sleazy behavior, like funneling millions of their dollars to offshore accounts (legal but probably unethical), and then extended their accusations to people whom the SPLC should have defended.

I refer in particular to the SPLC’s one-time “field guide to anti-Muslim extremists”, which was a “Islamophobe list”, put up in December, 2016, along the lines of Joe McCarthy’s “Communist list” (for my posts on the SPLC and this list, go here).

I wasn’t familiar with most of the names on that list, but I did know of two: Maajid Nawaz and Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Nawaz is a liberal Muslim, Ali a Muslim apostate, but both are engaged in liberalizing and reforming Islam. I can’t speak for the others once listed, but the activity of making such lists is questionable, and I am absolutely opposed to the inclusion of Nawaz and Hirsi Ali on any such list. The SPLC’s “field guide” page (you can find my post about it here) demonized 14 people as Islamophobes in this way:

Fueling this hatred [against Muslims] has been the propaganda, the vast majority of it completely baseless, produced and popularized by a network of anti-Muslim extremists and their enablers. These men and women have shamelessly exploited terrorist attacks and the Syrian refugee crisis, among other things, to demonize the entire Islamic faith.

Well, Nawaz is a Muslim, and Hirsi Ali’s latest book is a description of five ways Islam should reform to become more progressive (e.g., stop taking the Qur’an literally, etc.).

Both Hirsi Ali and Nawaz objected vehemently to their inclusion on this list; she wrote a NYT op-ed, “Why is the Southern Poverty Law Center Targeting Liberals?“, and Nawaz took the more direct action of threatening to sue the SPLC.  In addition, a petition on Change.org, which I and probably many readers signed, got over 14,000 people urging the SPLC to remove these two from their “little list.”

Well, I doubt that the petition did much—these things rarely do—but in America the threat of legal action speaks loudly. And so, according to the National Review (try finding this information in the left-wing media!), the SPLC has quietly removed the entire page from its site. When you go to the old SPLC page, you get this:

The list still exists in pdf form, however; it’s here (along with the indictments of both Hirsi Ali and Nawaz). I don’t know how long it will be up, though someone will surely archive it.  At any rate, the National Review reports this:

Nawaz, who founded the anti-extremist think tank Quilliam, said during a Wednesday night appearance on the Joe Rogan Experience, a popular podcast hosted by comedian Joe Rogan, that the report was removed from the SPLC website under legal threat sometime in the last two days.

“We have retained Clare Locke, they are writing to the Southern Poverty Law Center as we speak. I think they’ve got wind of it — the Southern Poverty Law Center — and as of yesterday, or the day before, they’ve removed the entire list that’s been up there for two years,” Nawaz said on the podcast.

Of course the SPLC didn’t announce the deep-sixing; they just quietly put the list in the bin. They could have removed just Nawaz, or Nawaz and Hirsi Ali, but the entire page is gone.

In my view, they owe not only those two, but everyone else on the list, as well as the SPLC’s supporters, an explanation for why they acted as they did. But the SPLC being not only sleazy but pusillanimous, I doubt we’ll see one. After all, they’d have to say, “Well, folks, maybe we overstepped, and we retreated in the face of legal threats.”

I would like to see some non-conservative sites reporting this, and if you find any, by all means let us know in the comments.




  1. mpromptu
    Posted April 22, 2018 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    Non-conservative here.

    Wrote about this days ago.


  2. craigp
    Posted April 22, 2018 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    And if they think that deleting the page from their site makes it go away then they don’t know how the internet works:


  3. glen1davidson
    Posted April 22, 2018 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    They did the right thing.

    For the wrong reason.

    At least the law still works on them.

    Glen Davison

  4. Posted April 22, 2018 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    I’m glad the whole list has gone. There’s something very sinister about keeping lists of political opponents in any case (it’s the kind of thing Stalin and McCarthy were keen on) but when you are listing critics of people who murder for the slightest ‘provocation’ (writing books, drawing cartoons, being Jewish) you are effectively writing a kill list

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted April 22, 2018 at 11:33 am | Permalink

      How about a list of despots who kill their political opponents? Or a list of mullahs who called for the murder of Salman Rushdie after publication of The Satanic Verses? Or a list of journalists who acted as apologists after the Charlie Hebdo massacre?

      Seems to me the value and ethics of such lists lie in the eye of the beholder. I’m leery of them, given the sinister use to which political “enemies lists” have been put across US history. But I’m chary to say they never serve a worthy purpose.

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted April 22, 2018 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

        I agree, but also think we’re talking about slightly different sorts of lists.

        The SPLC’s appalling list relied on subjective judgement, and is therefore a bad thing imo.

        A list of leaders who jail and/or kill journalists such as that produced by Reporters Without Borders relies on facts. It’s info we should know and I think it’s a good thing.

  5. scottoest
    Posted April 22, 2018 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    I’m glad the SPLC took the list down, and I think it was a grave injustice for Maajid and AHA to have been on it in the first place. If I recall, SPLC did already actually offer an explanation for Nawaz’s inclusion back when the list first came out, and it was predictably awful.

    With that said, I do think his lawsuit was the wrong response to it.

    • Steve Bracker
      Posted April 22, 2018 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

      “…I do think his lawsuit was the wrong response…”


    • Richard Sanderson
      Posted April 22, 2018 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

      “If I recall, SPLC did already actually offer an explanation for Nawaz’s inclusion back when the list first came out, and it was predictably awful.”

      Can you recall what that “explanation” was?

      Watch the Joe Rogan show Maajid did recently. He details the ever-changing and trivial “reasons” for his inclusion on the list. It gets worse for the SPLC every time you hear it.

  6. FB
    Posted April 22, 2018 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    I think the SPLC is confusing hatred with indignation. “Hatred” makes more sense if you replace in their paragraph “Muslims” with “unbelievers”. Something like that:

    Fueling this hatred [against unbelievers] has been the propaganda, the vast majority of it completely baseless, produced and popularized by a network of anti-unbelief extremists and their enablers. These men and women have shamelessly exploited superstition and credulity, among other things, to demonize the entire population of unbelievers.

    What people like Maajid Nawaz and Ayaan Hirsi Ali feel is clearly indignation, and what the SPLC was doing, ironically, is fuelling hatred.

  7. GBJames
    Posted April 22, 2018 at 11:17 am | Permalink


  8. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted April 22, 2018 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    The list may be hidden, and later they may purge it entirely. But that is a far cry from admitting a mistake which I suspect they will never do.
    I hope I am wrong on this, but not admitting to an overstep is an attribute among the Crl-Left crowd.

  9. nicky
    Posted April 22, 2018 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    That SPLC list was a clear case of Ctrl-left smooching with fundamentalist Islam. They deserve to be flayed (figuratively), even with that list removed.
    At any rate, they appear at present to be nothing more than a “money making machine”, I hope Maajid will persist with his lawsuit, and will be awarded substantial financial repairs. I think Quilliam -and the AHA foundation- will use those millions much better.

  10. Richard Sanderson
    Posted April 22, 2018 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    Every decent and progressive person should remember which scumbags defended the SPLC’s list…

    PZ Myers.
    ** *******.
    Dan Arel.
    “Peter Norway”
    Peter “Humanisticus” Ferguson

    …and a bunch of other regressive and New Racist scumbags.

  11. Filippo
    Posted April 22, 2018 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    ‘ . . . the SPLC’s one-time “field guide to anti-Muslim extremists” . . . .’

    I want to see the SPLC’s list of islamofascists.

    • Rich Sanderson
      Posted April 22, 2018 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

      They don’t have the server space for that.


  12. Jon Gallant
    Posted April 22, 2018 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

    As someone else pointed out, the SPLC is incapable of admitting a fault (in regard to the list in question) or anything else. The cardinal rule of pop-Leftism is: when you are wrong NEVER ADMIT IT.

    In a general way, the entire outlook of the regressive Left is based on the notion that the Soviet Union and its satellites became the way they were, and Peoples’ China and Peoples’ North Korea became they way they are, by coincidence, or weird accidents, or “bourgeois encirclement”. or something—and whatever it was needn’t be thought about carefully. The possibility of a basic defect in the revolutionary thinking of people as serious as Lenin, Trotsky, Bukharin, Zhou Enlai, etc. etc., not to mention three generations of their Western admirers, cannot be entertained: instead, the rule is, CHANGE THE SUBJECT. “Islamophobia” is one of the new subjects, along with such burning problems as personal choice in pronouns.

  13. Not So Free
    Posted April 22, 2018 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    SPLC – Southern Preposterous Lie Center

    SPLC – Stupid People Libeling Conservatives

  14. Posted April 23, 2018 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    However, there’s a catch…

    In the linked article Sam Harris cites, they write the following:

    The “skeptics” movement — whose adherents claim to challenge beliefs both scientific and spiritual by questioning the evidence and reasoning that underpin them — has also helped channel people into the alt-right by way of “human biodiversity.” Sam Harris has been one of the movement’s most public faces, and four posters on the TRS thread note his influence.

    Consider this astonishing assertion, that follows just after the above: “Under the guise of scientific objectivity”, they write, he argues “that black people are genetically inferior to whites”.

    Aside from yet another extreme smear, it’s also immensely counterproductive. Because of this, it became impossibe to make aware the real and actual influence of the Alt Right. Their narratives and dog whistles have seeped far into the “skeptic” online movement, but not through Sam Harris.

    Other people on the list really gave platforms to extreme right individuals, like Richard Spencer himself, and others like him that were previously known only to the extreme right.

    Of course, whenever I bring this up and try to alert people that it’s not ordinary business to have a nice chat with Spencer et alii, and much more like that, then the actual Far Right can simply laugh it off, with a Big Thanks to the SLPC and the likes. Many ordinary people who are clueless then laugh it off as well, and won’t bother.

    What makes this particularily pernicious is that Sam Harris’ anti-Trump stance is a recurring theme. Why would they omit this? This shows that the SPLC is also highly selective, which is typical for people of their ideology. The SPLC is a fascist-enabling institute.

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