SPLC: a factory of calumny and lies 1

Yes. The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is one of the most extreme “hate groups” in America.

The Washington Examiner reports:

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. …

These supposed hate groups and hate figures have included Nawaz, Ayaan Hirsi Ali [see here] … Charles Murray [see here]…

If you favor immigration restriction, like the Center for Immigration Studies, you’re a hate group, according to SPLC. These designations have caused real harm to the groups in question. Murray, when trying to speak at Middlebury, was shut down by shouting crowds, and violently mobbed, leaving his faculty companion injured and requiring a neck brace.

One gunman, who says he was inspired by SPLC’s designation of the Family Research Council, showed up at the organization’s Washington headquarters in 2012 intending to kill as many people as he could.

“I want to say plainly,” Mark Potok of the SPLC said once of the groups his organization targets, “that our aim in life is to destroy these groups.” Besides maligning and bullying its opponents in the culture wars, SPLC’s fearmongering and hatemongering has another purpose, which is to raise obscene amounts of cash. It has become a vested interest immorally pursuing its own enrichment at the expense of all truth and decency.

The group’s endowment is more than $400 million, according to its website. The Trump era has brought in massive flows of funds from well-heeled left-wing culture warriors, and well-intentioned liberals fooled into believing their donations would be used to fight extremists. Unfortunately, it cannot be used to fight the extremists who run the organization that benefited from these massive sluices of money. Less than one-third of SPLC’s haul goes to programs compared to a nonprofit norm of about three-fourths …  .

The other millions get scurried away in offshore accounts …, enrich the top executives who enjoy $300,000-plus salaries, and otherwise cover lavish overhead.

The SPLC’s looseness and irresponsibility with “hate” labels has been noted, demonstrated, and proven by many journalists Left and Right. So has the group’s nature as a fundraising scam. Somehow, though, SPLC still gets treated as a legitimate source of information and an important resource.

Last year, Apple donated $1 million to it, and JP Morgan gave another $500,000. Reputable news outlets that should know better cite SPLC as an authority.

This needs to end. The settlement with Nawaz and the retraction of the Islamic guide ought to be a wake up call to deep pockets and reporters alike: The Southern Poverty Law Center is not a good-faith actor, and it is not a reliable authority. It is a dishonest multimillion-dollar scam.

Its massive endowment means it won’t disappear soon. But let it howl unheard on the margins of day-to-day events, and a long way beyond the margins of decency, as is its wont. But, please, stop citing the SPLC as authoritative. It’s garbage.

Daniel  Greenfield writes at Front Page:

Keith Ellison was formerly a member of the Nation of Islam, a racist black nationalist hate group. He has allegedly met with Farrakhan more recently and has worked with anti-Semitic and pro-terrorist Islamic organizations such as CAIR and ISNA.

Despite that, as Robert Spencer at Jihad Watch reports, he’s demanding that Amazon censor books and other materials produced by organizations listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as hate groups. …

Among the organizations, Jihad Watch and the Freedom Center.

The SPLC, despite its record of bad research and fraud, and its recent multi-million dollar settlement over an entry [Maajid Nawaz] on its anti-Muslim list, the basis for which any ban against Jihad Watch and the Freedom Center would be leveled, is considered an authority. And its hate maps and lists have been used to go after conservative groups fighting against Islamic supremacist and black nationalist groups of the kind that Ellison belonged to and continues to support.

Ellison’s letter describes his idea of “hate groups” as having provided, “support for racist policies like the Muslim ban, and the ‘zero tolerance’ immigration policies”.

Those are mainstream policies enacted by the President of the United States and supported by the majority of Americans.

If that makes one a hate group, then most Americans are members of a hate group.

What reason, excuse, or pretext do these fierce campaigners against normalcy, decency, truth and America give to themselves for their destructiveness, indecency, lies and subversion?

With all their virtue-signaling, what exactly do they claim is their virtue?

What good do “the well-heeled left-wing culture warriors” think they are doing when they donate huge sums of money to these mountebanks?

The Democratic Party, the George Soros-funded rebel groups, all the organizations and parties that make up the political Left are now openly and violently seditious. 

What would they put in place of a democratic republic that guards everyone’s freedom, and has achieved – through freedom and capitalism – world leadership, unrivaled military strength, and unprecedented prosperity?

Holy smoke 9

No god, or supernatural messenger of a god, ever wrote a single word or dictated anything to any human being.

Persons who set down “God’s word” may have thought that a god told them what to write; felt that a god told them what to write; believed that a god told them what to write, but they themselves, mortal inhabitants of this natural world, wrote every line, every sentence, every law, every commandment, every story, every poem, every prophecy, every proverb in every “holy book” that ever was. If those who wrote were not the same as those who composed what they wrote, it is certain that the composers were also mortal men.

This must seem so obvious to atheists as to be hardly worth saying. It is so clearly a fact. Incontrovertible.

But billions of people do not accept the fact. And among the billions are thousands, possibly millions, of intelligent, erudite, and even reasonable people!

One such intelligent, erudite, and reasonable man is Maajid Nawaz, a Muslim and reformed “Islamist”, who founded Quilliam, “a London-based think tank that focuses on ‘counter-extremism’, specifically against Islamism, which it argues represents a desire to impose any given interpretation of Islam on society”.

In conversation with atheist Sam Harris,[1] Nawaz argues for a reformation of Islam through constructive interpretations of its “holy scripture”. [We are concerned here only with Nawaz’s side of the discussion. What Sam Harris says is well worth reading.]

The chief “holy book” of Islam is the Koran. Muslims believe it is “God’s final revelation to humanity”. They believe it was dictated to Muhammad by the angel Gabriel, who first appeared to him when he was forty years old as he lay in the Cave of Hira in the year 609, and that the full “revelation” was delivered at intervals through the rest of his life, a period of 23 years. Muhammad was illiterate. He recited to his companions what he said the angel Gabriel recited to him, and they wrote it down.

Nawaz asserts – for which we applaud him: “Islam is, after all, an idea; we cannot expect its merits or demerits to be accepted if we cannot openly debate it.”[2]

And he argues: “Any given subject has multiple interpretations, which demonstrates that there is no correct one. [His emphasis.] If we can understand that, then we arrive at a respect for difference, which leads us to tolerance and then pluralism, which in turn leads to democracy, secularism, and human rights.”[3] And: “My organization … [takes]  the unequivocal view that no place on earth should seek to impose any given interpretation of religion over the rest of society.”[4]

He sums up his mission thus:

A complete overhaul of cultural identity patterns and a reformed scriptural approach is required. … Such scriptural reform must involve denying those who approach texts vacuously … from absolute certainty that theirs is the correct view …[5]

The greater part of his contribution to the discussion is concerned with differences of interpretation of the “holy scripture” by the learned men of Islam: his point being that the Islamic texts have been and still can be subject to interpretation; and that new interpretations can assist a reform of Islam for this age, when bad interpretations are inspiring or causing evil actions by large numbers of Muslims banded together in terrorist organizations.

Maajid Nawaz has bravely assumed “the responsibility to counter” the “scriptural justification” for Islamic “extremism”.[6] He sees this as a way to make Islam compatible with the values of the West. We take his word for it that such interpretations are possible, and that spreading them through the Islamic world may help to bring about his obviously meritorious ends.

Let us assume – wishing him well with his project – that his interpretations of Islamic “holy scripture” (the hadith as well as the Koran) are enormously and wonderfully attractive and persuasive; that hundreds of millions Muslims come to accept them, perhaps even a majority of the 1.6 billion Muslims in the world today. The very case he demonstrates, that the texts are forever open to interpretation cannot but mean that there will still be bad interpretations, still likely to inspire evil actions. 

How likely is it that a reformed Islam will become so prevalent that “extremist” interpretations inspiring “Islamism” will be completely and forever abandoned, totally superseded, obliterated? If likely, then that would be, of course, a good result of Maajid Nawaz’s movement. But if unlikely, then his proposed remedy for the savagery, the cruelty and mass murder being carried out by such organizations as al-Qaeda and ISIS, is no remedy at all. It is worth trying. It may lessen the effects of Islamic “extremism”. But it is no remedy.

As long as there are multitudes who believe that they are in possession of “the word of God”, and that God tells them to harm others who do not believe the same as they believe, there will be no remedy.

In time, perhaps, religion will die out as a motivating force of human activity. We long for that to happen. But we cannot see that it will happen any time soon.

 

NOTES

1. Islam: A Dialogue, Sam Harris and Maajid Nawaz, Harvard University Press, 2015.

2. page 88

3. page 105

4. page 109

5. pages 116,117

6. page 121

Posted under Islam, jihad, Muslims, Religion general by Jillian Becker on Saturday, March 26, 2016

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