SPLC apologizes, pays $3.3M to Islamic reformer it wrongly labeled ‘anti-Muslim extremist’

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The Montgomery, Ala.-based Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) on Monday announced a settlement agreement with Islamic reformer Maajid Nawaz and his organization, the Quilliam Foundation, for wrongly including them on a now-deleted list of “anti-Muslim extremists.”

The list, A Journalist’s Manual: Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists, was published as a resource for journalists in 2016 to help identify “anti-Muslim extremists.” Nawaz, a current Muslim and a former Islamist, threatened to sue the SPLC for defamation for wrongly accusing him of being an extremist.

Seeing has how they had no path to win in court, the SPLC admitted their error in inclusion and agreed to pay Nawaz and Quilliam $3.375 million “to fund their work to fight anti-Muslim bigotry and extremism.”

“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 in a statement. “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.”

Cohen said the SPLC will look to their insurance carrier to cover the cost of the settlement.

“It was the right thing to do in light of our mistake and the right thing to do in light of the growing prejudice against the Muslim community on both sides of the Atlantic,” he added.

Watch Cohen’s video statement below:

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