Once upon a time the Southern Poverty Law Centre was a great organisation. They fought the KKK and white supremacist groups.
However they have lost their way as they have now starting labeling individuals who criticise a religion as members of hate groups – showing an inability to distinguish between legitimate criticism and hate speech.
Lee Smith writes at Tablet Mag:
Late last week, the Southern Poverty Law Center, which became deservedly famous in the 1980s for combating violent white-power hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazis, published a list of 15 individuals it labels as particularly threatening anti-Muslim extremists. It is sad but telling that the SPLC’s so-called field guide to Muslim-haters is not a list of violent extremists—who certainly do exist—but is instead a blacklist of prominent writers whose opinions on a range of cultural and political issues are offensive to the SPLC. The SPLC blacklist list contains practicing Muslims like Maajid Nawaz, ex-Muslims like Ayaan Hirsi Ali, foreign-policy think-tankers like Frank Gaffney and Daniel Pipes, and right-wing firebrands like David Horowitz—none of whom could be reasonably described as anti-Muslim bigots.
I spoke to Nawaz on the phone in London to ask for his reaction. “A bunch of first-world, comfortable liberal Americans who are not Muslims have decided from their comfortable perch to label me, an activist who is working within his Muslim community to push back against extremism, an anti-Muslim extremist.”
Yes they have called a Muslim who preaches tolerance and non-extremism an anti-Muslim extremist.
It seems the SPLC are the ones becoming the extremists. A pity as they have done much good in the past.