The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has agreed to pay a $3.375 million settlement as the result of a demand from Islamic reformer Maajid Nawaz and his organization, the Quilliam Foundation, for the inclusion on SPLC's now-defunct list, "Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists."
The SPLC published the list of "anti-Muslim extremists" in December 2016 with the intent "to serve as a resource for journalists to identify promoters of hateful propaganda." The list was deleted in April 2018 after Nawaz obtained legal representation. The list accused Nawaz, a liberal Muslim and former Islamic extremist, of "savaging Islam." Nawaz is informed by his experience as a former member of a global terror organization and as a political prisoner in Egypt and routinely criticizes the fundamentalist interpretation of Islam that gives rise to terrorism. As a result of that work, the SPLC and a coalition of partner organizations that helped create the list accused him of "savaging Islam."
SPLC president Richard Cohen said in a statement on its website, "The Southern Poverty Law Center was wrong to include Maajid Nawaz and the Quilliam Foundation in our Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists. Since we published the Field Guide, we have taken the time to do more research and have consulted with human rights advocates we respect. We've found that Mr. Nawaz and Quilliam have made valuable and important contributions to public discourse, including by promoting pluralism and condemning both anti-Muslim bigotry and Islamist extremism. Although we may have our differences with some of the positions that Mr. Nawaz and Quilliam have taken, they are most certainly not anti-Muslim extremists. We would like to extend our sincerest apologies to Mr. Nawaz, Quilliam and our readers for the error, and we wish Mr. Nawaz and Quilliam all the best."
"This settlement is another example that the Southern Poverty Law Center is incapable at monitoring the very thing it claims to track," said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. "No credible journalist should ever rely on the SPLC. The SPLC reeks with hateful, false and defamatory rhetoric."
For the original article, visit lc.org.
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