SPLC generic response # 2

On Saturday I wrote to the SPLC. Here’s what I said:

Like many people, I’m horrified by the inclusion in the SPLC’s report on “Anti-Muslim extremists” of Maajid Nawaz and Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Please don’t send me the stock response from Heidi Beirich, because I’ve already seen it via several people. I want to ask you for more explanation of two items in that response.

First, Heidi Beirich writes:

We respectfully disagree with your assessment that Nawaz is “non-extremist.” Let me cite some examples as to why we came to this conclusion. For starters, his organization sent a letter to a security official, according to The Guardian, that said, “the ideology of non-violent Islamists is broadly the same as that of violent Islamists.”’

Please explain. Why do you think it’s false and/or anti-Muslim to say that the ideology of Islamism is broadly the same apart from the espousal of violence? Are you not aware that Islamism is not the same thing as Islam? Are you assuming that all Muslims embrace Islamism? If so you’re very wrong indeed. Islamism is the theocratic ideology that Islam should be the source of law and entwined with government.

You really should consult with some liberal secularist Muslims, such as for instance my friends Tehmina Kazi, Elham Manea, Lejla Kuric, Sara Khan, Raquel Evita Saraswati. They could explain to you how terrible Islamism is for women, and how wrong outsiders are to think all Muslims are Islamists. I’ll introduce you if you like.


Finally, in reference to the “Jesus and Mo” cartoon tweet, depicting the Prophet Mohammad in any form is a very offensive thing for Muslims…

No no no. Again you are assuming that Muslims in general are as narrow and intolerant as the most fundamentalist reactionary segments. You are assuming that the only authentic Muslim is a fanatical Muslim. Can you not see how insulting that is? My liberal Muslim friends can, I promise you!

You wouldn’t assume that the Westboro Baptists are the only authentic Christians. Why do you assume that illiberal intolerant Islamists are the only authentic Muslims?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely, etc

That is, obviously, not everything I could have asked them, or wanted to ask them, but I thought it best to limit it to a couple of things, in hopes of getting a real answer, if I got any answer at all.

They did send a reply this morning, but it’s just another form-reply. It doesn’t actually address anything I said, and it repeats the same old shit.

Here it is:

Thank you for writing in about the SPLC’s report, “Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists.”

We understand that not everyone in this report is equal in their rhetoric and positions on Islam. However, its purpose was to point out that many people who regularly appear on television news shows as Islamic experts routinely espouse a wide range of falsehoods that depict Muslims as intent on undermining American constitutional freedoms or prone to support terrorism.

Already, in the first substantive paragraph, we can see that it’s just a canned response, not a response to what I asked. We can see that because they talk – as they do in the report itself – about American constitutional freedoms while pretending to defend their attack on Maajid Nawaz…who is not American.

Promulgating misinformation – whether intentional or not – pollutes democratic discourse, makes it more difficult for citizens to cast informed votes, and limits the ability to participate meaningfully in public debate.

When people use their public platform to make false claims, such as Muslims being responsible for “70% of the violence in the world today,” they give credence to fringe activists and politicians who are pushing extreme anti-Islam policies, such as banning all Muslims from immigrating to the United States. Remarks like these are not thoughtful criticisms of Islam — they are factually incorrect statements that some people will accept as fact and, as a result, have a distorted view of all Muslim people.

Again, generic and beside the point. Maajid doesn’t use his public platform to make false claims, so that justification has nothing to do with what I asked them.

We take your criticism seriously, and will take it under advisement when writing on this topic in the future.

No they don’t. If they did they would have responded to what I said rather than sending a generic response that just repeats some of the original bullshit.

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