The leftist Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) announced Monday that they have reached a $3.375 million settlement with Maajid Nawaz and his organization, the Quilliam Foundation, after placing the organization in their “A Journalist’s Manual: Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists.”
Nawaz filed a lawsuit in April over the 2016 listing. The listing prompted a change.org petition urging that Nawaz and human rights activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s names be removed.
SPLC apologized to Nawaz in a statement Monday.
“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,” SPLC president Richard Cohen said.
“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,” he continued. “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.”
SPLC also issued an apology to its 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,” they wrote. “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.”
Nawaz thanked those who contributed to the litigation fund in a statement.
“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 said. “We will continue to combat extremists by defying Muslim stereotypes, calling out fundamentalism in our own communities, and speaking out against anti-Muslim hate.”
While SPLC may pride itself on the “accuracy” of their reports, their listings can have dangerous results and are often questioned. Their listing of the Family Research Council (FRC) as a “hate group” was cited by convicted domestic terrorist Floyd Lee Corkins as the way he found the FRC in his 2012 attack on the FRC building in which he shot and wounded a security guard before being subdued.
Last year, Sen. James Lankford (R-OK) wrote a letter to ABC expressing “serious concern” over their labeling of the nonprofit legal organization Alliance Defending Freedom as a hate group due to SPLC’s designation. He called SPLC’s hate group definitions “overly broad and not based in fact or legal accuracy.”