By Mathew Goldstein
Atheist (and ex-Muslim) Kavah Mousavi (pseudonym) accurately characterizes the Southern Poverty Law Center's unconscionable placement of Maajid Nawaz on its list of 15 anti-Muslim extremists as "atrocious" for "misusing the tragic fact of anti-Muslim bigotry in the West to silence honest criticisms of Islam by mixing internal dissidents with bigots." He also criticizes their placing the anti-Muslim extremist label on Ayaan Hirsi Ali for some statements she made years ago that are quoted by SPLC out of context. Read his "Shame on you SPLC" article on his blog titled On the Margin of Error.
Now I will add my own voice here. One of the SPLC's arguments for labeling Ayaan Hirsi Ali an anti-Muslim extremist is that a film she co-produced, Submission, provoked threats against her and the murder of the other film producer, Theo Van Gogh. By citing the murder of the film's other producer as evidence that she is an extremist the SPLC is openly and shamelessly siding with violent Islamic fascists against liberalism. This is probably a double standard, as the SPLC does not cite being targeted for murder when dissenting from popular opinion within any other religion as evidence for the targeted individual being an extremist.
The SPLC cited as evidence for Maajid Nawaz being an extremist that he endorsed one of the Jesus and Mo cartoons. They are wonderful cartoons, reading those cartoons is better than reading the Quran, Bible, or Tanakh. What SPLC is doing here is not only anti-intellectual and anti-fun, it is also sick crazy, like labeling someone an anti-Jewish extremist because they eat pork. There is nothing ethical about requiring everyone to obey the restrictions that other people claim their version of their religion imposes. The Jesus and Mo cartoon lampoons Judaism and Christianity together with Islam. Therefore it cannot be the actual contents of that cartoon that is at issue here unless everyone who likes those cartoons is also an anti-Christian and anti-Jewish extremist. But SPLC doesn't associate those equivalent labels with that cartoon, apparently because Jews and Christians have the good sense not to riot in the streets over cartoons.
SPLC's illogic appears to be a product of an unprincipled and unhinged post-modernist relativism where being extremist is misdefined as contradicting whatever the most vocal and intolerant segment of a population demands, particular if their demands are sometimes backed by threats of, or acts of, murder, regardless of whether their demands are reasonable or fair on the merits. The SPLC actually cites the prevalence of a belief, as if that renders it unassailable in the sense that criticizing that belief becomes evidence for being an extremist. Has it ever occurred to the SPLC that some of the ideas favored by a large number of Muslims (dare I say it, maybe even a majority of today's Muslims world wide!) could themselves sometimes be extreme and unethical and therefore openly disagreeing with that majority over that idea will be the more moderate, ethical, stance? Can anyone who has read any history honestly think that the majority held view is always ethical? That opposing a majority view is ipso facto evidence of extremism?
Oops, now I am an anti-Muslim extremist because I offended millions of Muslims by linking to the critical Submission film and to the Jesus and Mo cartoons. Kavah Mousavi is correct, the SPLC has turned being designated an anti-Muslim extremist by them into an honor. The SPLC is totally fucking up here, big time.