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SPLC makes reparations for its own defamation and inaccurate framing of a religious group

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Justice has arrived as the Southern Poverty Law Center now is paying for its wrongful characterization of Maajid Nawaz and the Quilliam Foundation. It recently agreed to pay $3.375 million for including Nawaz inaccurately in its 2016 “Field Guide to Anti-Muslim extremists.” 

It is ironic that the Montgomery, Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Center, a renowned nemesis of white supremacy, has now made reparations for its own defamation and inaccurate framing of a religious group. 

{mosads}Forty years after its founding, the same SPLC that took down the Ku Klux Klan is coming to terms with how it blindly grouped together Muslims and Islamists — the supremacist totalitarian ideology masquerading as Islam. 


In the now-deleted list of 15 “anti Muslim” persons there were important public intellectuals with deep, critically valuable knowledge of radical Islam. The inclusion of Nawaz, Muslim founder of the Quilliam Foundation, came as a singular shock.

The settlement only reduces the sting, but does not erase it.

Nawaz was labelled “anti-Muslim” despite his years devoted to combating radicalization in Muslim communities and challenging Islamism. Ironically when Nawaz was a full dues-paying member of Hizb-ut-Tahrir — the largest Islamist movement in Britain — he didn’t make the center’s radar.  

Challenged in 2016 on its decision to include Nawaz by the Templeton Foundation, patron donor of Quilliam, the SPLC dug in its heels, rather than reflecting on its paradoxical position, revealing pro-Islamist sympathies.

In 2012, the SPLC was seeking insights from the Muslim Public Affairs Council via its president Salem Al Marayati, along with Muslim lawyer and playwright Wajahat Ali. The SPLC was immersed in the Islamist narrative that America’s Muslims are under siege. 

Ali authored the 2011 “Fear Incorporated: The Roots of the Islamophobia Network in America,” that critics identified as little more than a map to defund informed critics of Islamism.  

Islamophobia is a social construct conceived first in the late 19th century and popularized in the late 20th century by post-revolutionary Iran and other Islamists. It is an integral component of augmenting the valuable sentiment of Muslim victimhood, a central ethos of Islamism which posits Muslims are eternally under siege from the West.

Distinct from anti-Muslim xenophobia, which is always despicable and in this country designated within unlawful hate crimes, Islamophobia is a more fluid concept exploited by pro-Islamist Muslims to cultivate the concept of a besieged, disenfranchised Muslim diaspora. A besieged diaspora is more vulnerable to Islamist doctrine. 

The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), founded in 1988 as an offshoot of the Islamic Center of Southern California, and the Islamic Center appear to share common Islamist ideology with Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood origins, the mothership of modern-day Islamist terrorism.

True to these origins, MPAC has repeatedly defended terrorist organizations, individuals and charities who are patrons of terrorism and uniformly opposes counter terrorism measures, claiming racism through anti-Muslim profiling.

The Anti-Defamation League identified MPAC as among top anti-Israel groups in the United States, as it supported the Palestinian Intifada in 1987 through 1988 holding anti-Israel rallies at the time.

Appearing in a radio broadcast on 9/11, Marayati described Israel as prime suspects among perpetrators of 9/11 earning condemnation at the time. Post 9/11, MPAC cautioned Muslims on cooperating with the FBI, thwarting vital means of uncovering home grown radicalization.

Marayati is no more reassuring. The public record shows he has a decades-long record of defending Islamism, referring to Hezbollah’s 1983 attack in Beirut costing the lives of 214 U.S. marines as a “military operation” and not a terrorist attack. He also called for the end of U.S. designation of Hezbollah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas as foreign terrorist organizations.

More recently, MPAC supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement lending its imprimatur in efforts to delegitimize and seek the political demise of Israel. 

Too often, Americans mistake the Muslim Brotherhood’s intent of Islamizing the entire United States. But this is little more than an Islamist pipe dream.

Yet what is clearly in their focus, and America’s Islamists’ actual reach, is the Islamization of 3.7 million American Muslims. Careful not to exaggerate their ambitions, America’s Islamists must not be underestimated. Too often Europe’s Islamists were to lethal effect, as seen in Charlie Hebdo, Bataclan, Brussels and Berlin.

Following the 2016 election, concerns have emerged regarding the SPLC’s selective use of data to conceal anti-white attacks in American schools, while emphasizing xenophobia against other groups.

Later reports confirm billionaire George Soros and his Open Society Foundation funded the anti-Muslim SPLC blacklist. Documents from Soros’ Open Society Foundation reveal his efforts to finance the scrutiny not of Islamism, but of critics of Islamism.  

We have witnessed the commodification of Islamophobia. While proponents decry millions pouring into driving hatred against Muslims, the so-called “anti-Islamophobia Industry” now commands serious funding and seeks to mold public discourse.

Far from based in Islam, Islamophobia is the highly effective, manufactured 21st century Islamist instrument inducing self-censorship within the West seeking to deflect critical scrutiny of Islamism.

Until the retraction and recent settlement, Islamophobia, as defined by Islamists, had been championed by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Thankfully, no more.

Qanta A. Ahmed is the author of “In the Land of Invisible Women,” which is based on her account of her experiences as a physician in Saudi Arabia. She is a council member of the USC Shoah Foundation’s Visual History Institute and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Follow her on Twitter: @MissDiagnosis.


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