The Southern Poverty Law Center has taken a lead role in the institutional left’s attempt to unilaterally intellectually disarm America on the issue of Islamic terrorism. In the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing, it’s worth looking at how the group has attempted to silence critics of Islamic extremism, often by poisoning the well to discredit any examination of the possible dangers posed by Islamists.
The SPLC was started over forty years ago as a legitimate civil rights organization to combat the violent racist actions of groups like the Ku Klux Klan, but has become part of the vast web of organizations–many funded by George Soros’s Open Society Institute–that work together to smear conservative voices in order to advance a leftist agenda.
One way to think of the institutional left is as a body where different organs perform different functions but all function together to form a whole; your stomach signals your brain that it wants food, so your feet walk you to the fridge, your hand opens the door, and so on. With the institutional left, many different groups work in concert to promote the wider agenda of radicals, such as diminishing America’s security.
The role that the Southern Poverty Law Center plays is to be an “objective” source to brand conservative entities as “hate groups” for the purpose of stopping debate and discussion on important issues. The well-heeled SPLC–with financial reserves of over $200 million–does this through their Hate Watch blog and a quarterly magazine but, more ominously, by also reporting their findings directly to the FBI.
The Southern Poverty Law Center has explicitly targeted people like Atlas Shrugs blogger Pam Geller, author Robert Spencer, 60s radical-turned-conservative David Horowitz, and the Center for Security Policy’s Frank Gaffney. By lumping these authors and speakers in with violent groups like the Aryan Brotherhood or Ku Klux Klan and then reporting them to law enforcement as “hate groups,” the SLPC is trying to create a chilling effect on investigation into what we’ve learned time and again are legitimate dangers.
The Southern Poverty Law Center’s impact is magnified because other institutional left groups pick up on the SPLC’s reports and regurgitate them; these circular references are then used to give the reports legitimacy. First, let’s look at a few examples of the intimidation campaign that the group runs.
In their Intelligence Files section, the SPLC has a section on Anti-Muslim Groups (complete with a photo of Pam Geller) where they claim:
Muslims are depicted as a fifth column intent on undermining and eventually replacing American democracy and Western civilization with Islamic despotism. Anti-Muslim hate groups allege that Muslims are trying to subvert the rule of law by imposing on Americans their own Islamic legal system, Shariah law.
The Southern Poverty Law Center clearly wants to paint anti-jihadists as kooky, but that allegation might hold more water were it not for a memorandum introduced at trial by the U.S. government in the 2007 conviction of five organizers of what was (at the time) America’s largest Islamic charity, the Texas-based Holy Land Foundation, on charges of sending millions of dollars to terrorist organization Hamas.
The document is called An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Brotherhood in North America, and it reads in part:
The process of settlement is a “Civilization-Jihadist Proecess” with all the word means. The Ikhwan (Muslim Brotherhood) must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and “sabotaging” its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.
Actually, just the mere fact that organizers of the largest Islamic charity in the United States were convicted of funneling millions of dollars to overseas Islamic terror groups might give one pause but, to the Southern Poverty Law Center, pointing out things like that can get you labeled as a hate group.
In the 2011 SPLC article “Jihad On Islam,” they continue to make the case that only right-wing extremists are concerned about the stated intentions of Islamists:
Like the communists that an earlier generation believed to be hiding behind every rock, infiltrated “Islamist” operatives today are said to be diabolically preparing for a forcible takeover.
You’ll note the use of the word “Islamist” in scare quotes; apparently even the use of the word Islamist is enough to remove one from the realm of serious intellectual consideration. Never mind the fact that the word “Islamist” is used around the world by major newspapers and, more importantly, by Islamists themselves. It’s actually used to differentiate Muslims who seek to establish an Islamic state.
The SPLC’s efforts are Orwellian. Like the attempt to manipulate the language of immigration by removing the term “illegal alien” from accepted use, if leftist groups can remove the word Islamist from politically correct vocabulary, they have defined Islamic extremism out of existence. These campaigns to reframe the debate are an important part of the institutional left’s arsenal of intellectual dirty tricks.
The SPLC doesn’t work on its own, however. Its vague conclusions and targeted smears are amplified by other Soros-funded groups, such as Media Matters for America. Since the Marathon bombing, these coordinated attacks have kicked into overdrive.
For example, in the recent “In The Wake Of Boston Marathon Attack, Fox Turned To Anti-Islam Commentators” hit piece from Media Matters, they quote their cousin organization, the Southern Poverty Law Center, a number of times as proof.
SLPC: Frank Gaffney Is “The Anti-Muslim Movement’s Most Paranoid Propagandist.” A Southern Poverty Law Center (SLPC) profile of Frank Gaffney stated that “Gaffney seems to have snapped” at some point in the decades since his service in the Pentagon and founding of the “hawkish but once-respectable” Center for Security Policy (CSP). In recent years, Gaffney has been the key proponent of the conspiracy theory alleging that the Muslim Brotherhood is working toward a U.S. government takeover…
SPLC: Rep. King’s American Muslim Radicalization Hearings Were “Loathsome.” A March 8, 2011 Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) blog post, recounted how Rep. Peter Kings (R-NY) American Muslim radicalization hearings were “loathsome,” concluding that “[t]he reality is that King’s hearing are about demonizing Muslims, and they are, unfortunately, very likely to accomplish that goal.” [Southern Poverty Law Center, 3/8/11]…
SPLC: Gabriel Is “Prone To Sweeping Generalizations And Exaggerations.” A Summer 2011 Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) Intelligence Report profile of Gabriel described her as being “prone to sweeping generalizations” about Islam…
SPLC: Gabriel Has Conflated Muslims With Terrorists. In the Fall 2011 edition of its Intelligence Report, the SPLC described how Gabriel’s organization, ACT! for America, was attempting to moderate its language. The article described Gabriel’s penchant for conflating Muslims and terrorists:
That’s just in one Media Matters for America article. They brand critics of radical Islam as cranks, kooks, and people to be ignored. It must be true since the SLPC said so.
The tactics of institutional leftist organizations like the Southern Poverty Law Center are crude and predictable, but in the wake of the Boston Marathon and Benghazi, they are increasingly dangerous. The left’s goal is to silence voices like Geller, Gaffney, Spencer, and Horowitz, not because they are wrong about the threat posed by Islamic extremism, but to keep their liberal audience in the dark about just how right they are.