British Muslim reformer Maajid Nawaz is suing the far-left Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) after the group denounced him in a report calling him an anti-Muslim extremist.
Earlier this year, Mr. Nawaz announced that he would be seeking damages from the SPLC along with several Christian groups after being put on a “hate list”. The list, referred to as a “Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists” by the SPLC, put Nawaz and several conservative Christian groups along side extremists like the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) and members of actual neo-Nazi organisations.
In a video statement put out on YouTube in July. Nawaz said: “The Southern Poverty Law Center, or SPLC, who made their money suing the KKK, was set up to defend people like me but now have become the monster they have claimed they wanted to defeat.”
Nawaz was placed on the hate watch list alongside Somalian-Dutch national Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a former Muslim and anti-Islam activist who lives under constant security protection because of threats to her life from radical Islamic adherents.
Founder of the Quilliam Foundation, named after 19th-century British convert Abdullah Quilliam, Nawaz has taken many stances against radical Islam. Having been a former radical Islamist himself, spending several years in an Egyptian prison, he became disillusioned with political Islam, leaving radical group Hizb-ut-Tahrir in 2007.
Since then, Nawaz has called for reform of Islam and is widely seen on the left side of the political spectrum having written for publications like The Guardian, The New York Times, and the Daily Beast. He also hosts a radio show on UK broadcaster LBC every weekend.
According to the SPLC, Nawaz is an extremist because he allegedly accused non-violent Islamists of sharing the same ideology as violent Islamists. The SPLC claimed this action “demonized Muslims” citing a statement made in the Guardian by “an official with Scotland Yard’s Muslim Contact Unit.”
The SPLC also damns Nawaz for statements made by former English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson who claimed that Quilliam paid him cash,” to allow Nawaz to take credit for what he was already planning to do,” when he left the English Defence League in 2013.
The move from the SPLC to place Nawaz and several Christian conservative groups on a watch list is new for Nawaz but not new for conservatives.
The list also, according to Nawaz, puts his safety in jeopardy. In his July statement, he said: “Placing my name on a list like this not only smears my name but also puts me in physical danger.”
There is evidence in at least one case that an SPLC “hate list” inspired a man to commit an act of domestic terrorism. In 2012, a man named Floyd Lee Corkins III broke into the Family Research Council (FRC) offices with the intent of killing everyone inside. In a taped interrogation with the FBI, he admitted he found his target on an SPLC hate list.
The SPLC has also been slammed for putting Republican congressman Steve Scalise on one of its hate lists after he was shot earlier this year by a far-left extremist who attempted to assassinate several Republicans at a baseball practice. The SPLC even admitted the shooter “liked” their Facebook page.
The influence of the SPLC is not only limited to the United States as they have links to the George Soros-funded far-left Hope not Hate as both groups frequently cite each other’s work. Hope not Hate recently claimed they were expanding to the USA and bringing undercover informants.
Nawaz has started a crowd-funding campaign which he will need as the SPLC received multi-million dollar donations after the Charlottesville riots from people like actor George Clooney and the J.P. Morgan bank. Apple CEO Tim Cook also donated $1 million and set up a scheme to match donations from Apple employees, as well.