Maajid Nawaz is a former extremist whose new role, speaking out against extremism, got him branded as an extremist by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The SPLC, which bracketed Nawaz with racists and anti-Islamic bigots, had to apologize, retract its publication, and pay Nawaz $3.4 million.
Yet when a major, well-respected magazine covered this story, here was its lead: “The Southern Poverty Law Center, the venerable civil-rights organization, has issued a formal apology to British political activist Maajid Nawaz….”
This reporting is part of the problem. The SPLC is not “venerable”; it is contemptible. It is not a “civil-rights organization”; it is a scam. Whatever its origins, the organization rotted to its core and has become a financial and ideological racket.
Its business model is to smear defenders of religious liberty or critics of radical Islam by lumping them with racist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, and then to raise massive amounts of money fooling credulous liberals into fearing a massive, underground army of “hate groups.” This fraud helps real hate groups by sowing confusion, harms and endangers the innocent groups it targets, and makes many millions of dollars for the organization and its corrupt management.
Ken Silverstein, the liberal investigative journalist who probably has studied the SPLC more than anyone else, wrote in 2010, “I feel that the Law Center is essentially a fraud and that it has a habit of casually labeling organizations as ‘hate groups.’”