1st world American non-Muslims at @splcenter listed me, a liberal reform Muslim, as an “anti-Muslim Extremist”. This is a target on my head.
— Radical (@MaajidNawaz) October 27, 2016
Attacking Muslims and criticizing the Islamic faith are not the same thing. The former is bigotry; the latter is subjecting a set of ideals and religious tenets to the same test that every other religion – including my own – should be subjected to.
That distinction is lost on many of the far-right professional anti-Muslims listed in a “Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists” published by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Unfortunately, it looks like the distinction is also lost on the SPLC itself.
Alongside such deserving targets as Frank Gaffney and Pam Gellar (the latter of whom once pushed the theory that Malcolm X was Barack Obama’s real father) the SPLC savages Daniel Pipes for such crimes as wrongly suggesting that the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing was carried out by Islamists – an unfortunate error, but understandable a mere two years after the original World Trade Center bombing. Also – you might want to sit down for this one – he says the Islamic State is Islamic in nature:
In a Sept. 10, 2014, article in The National Review, Pipes reacted furiously to President Obama’s “preposterous claim” that the Islamic State was “not Islamic” in nature. Contrary to Obama’s “idiocy,” he said, the infamous terrorist organization is “100 percent Islamic … profoundly Islamic.”
Only a radical would believe that ISIS represents all Muslims. Pipes is deemed a radical for saying that ISIS are Muslims in the first place.
The SPLC report also takes a shot at atheist ex-Muslim Ayaan Hirsi Ali, but the most despicable inclusion is that of practicing Muslim Maajid Nawiz, who has written consistently and clearly about how he believes elements of his religion should be reformed. Apparently he got a lap dance once, so checkmate. Also, this:
According to a Jan. 24, 2014, report in The Guardian, Nawaz tweeted out a cartoon of Jesus and Muhammad — despite the fact that many Muslims see it as blasphemous to draw Muhammad. He said that he wanted “to carve out a space to be heard without constantly fearing the blasphemy charge.”
The SPLC, it would appear, thinks tweeting a cartoon of Muhammad is an act of bigotry, because many Muslims see it as a blasphemous act.
In other words, they’re letting the most devout, illiberal members of the faith set the rules for everyone else, Muslim or not. It’s like saying eating shellfish is an anti-semitic act, or using birth control is anti-Catholic bigotry.
Anti-Islam bigots like Gellar say that there’s no such thing as “moderate Islam,” and that the extremists are in fact accurately representing their faith. Turns out that the storied Southern Poverty Law Center, in its own way, is saying the exact same thing.