In a statement released on Monday, Richard Cohen of the Southern Poverty Law Center, announced that his organization has apologized and offered a monetary settlement with Maajid Nawaz and his organization, the Quilliam Foundation, for including them in the the SPLC publication “A Journalist’s Manual: Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists.” The announcement noted that the SPLC has paid $3.375 million to Nawaz and the Quilliam Foundation to “fund their work to fight anti-Muslim bigotry and extremism. It was the right thing to do in light of our mistake and the right thing to do in light of the growing prejudice against the Muslim community on both sides of the Atlantic. We will look to our insurance carrier to cover the cost of the settlement.”

Cohen said, “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.”  

While the statement noted that SPLC had originally decided that the inclusion of Nawaz and the Quilliam Foundation in the SPLC guide to anti-Muslim extremists was initially warranted, the SPLC leadership gained a “deeper understanding of their views” after hearing testimony from “others for whom we have great respect.” Human rights advocates affiliated with the United Nations, noted the statement, emphasized that Nawaz’s has combated extremism in a mannter that is “is actually analogous to that of the SPLC over the years in the South.” 

Cohen’s statement went on to say that the leftist SPLC is also apologizing to SPLC supporters. “We pride ourselves on the accuracy of our reports and, although we know we are not perfect, it pains us greatly whenever we make a mistake. As we move forward, we are committed to redoubling our efforts to ensure that our work is always carried out with the utmost care and integrity. The stakes in the battle against hate and extremism are simply too great to be satisfied with anything less.”

In response, Nawaz said,  “With the help of everyone who contributed to our litigation fund, we were able to fight back against the Regressive Left and show them that moderate Muslims will not be silenced.” He went on to say, “We will continue to combat extremists by defying Muslim stereotypes, calling out fundamentalism in our own communities, and speaking out against anti-Muslim hate.”

The UK-based Quilliam Foundation describes itself as “the world’s first counter-extremism organisation. We have a full spectrum approach to promote pluralism and inspire change.” It was founded by Maajid Nawaz, who is described on the Quilliam website as a “counter-extremist, author, columnist, broadcaster and Founding Chairman of Quilliam – a globally active organisation focusing on matters of integration, citizenship & identity, religious freedom, immigration, extremism and terrorism.” The website claims that Maajid spent years as a member of a “global Islamist group” and that he experienced a gradual acceptance of “liberal democratic values.” He is the author of the autobiographical “RADICAL.”

In May, Nawaz was given an award by UNwatch -- a nongovernmental agency that seeks to monitor the activity of the United States and measure it by the standards set in its own Charter.
 

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Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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