The Southern Poverty Law Center has apologized to Quilliam and its founder Maajid Nawaz for wrongly naming them in its controversial Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists. In a public statement, the SPLC’s president, Richard Cohen, explained 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.”
Jeremy Tedesco, vice-president of Arizona-based Alliance Defending Freedom stated, “It’s appalling and offensive for the Southern Poverty Law Center to compare peaceful organizations which condemn violence and racism with violent and racist groups just because it disagrees with their views. That’s what SPLC did in the case of Quilliam and its founder Maajid Nawaz, and that’s what it has done with ADF and numerous other organizations and individuals. This situation confirms once again what commentators across the political spectrum have being saying for decades: SPLC has become a far-left organization that brands its political opponents as “haters” and “extremists” and has lost all credibility as a civil rights watchdog. With eight wins in the last seven years at the U.S. Supreme Court and hundreds of victories for free speech at America’s public universities, ADF is one the nation’s most respected and successful legal advocates, working to preserve our fundamental freedoms of speech, religion, and conscience for people from all walks of life. SPLC’s sloppy mistakes have ruinous, real-world consequences for which they should not be excused.”
The SPLC also agreed to pay a $3.375 million settlement, which Quilliam and Nawaz intend to use to fund work fighting anti-Muslim bigotry and Islamist extremism.