In this 17-minute video, Bill Maher, who’s in bad odor with Lefists for using the n-word, interviews someone who’s even more demonized: Maajid Nawaz. Nawaz is a man I much admire, as he began his adult life as an extreme Islamist but now runs the think tank Quilliam, devoted to tamping down extremism—especially among Muslims. Because he’s a moderate Muslim in a suit instead of a bearded imam clutching a Qur’an, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) named him, along with Ayaan Hirsi Ali, as one of several “anti-Muslim extremists”. That decision was ludicrous, and the SPLC really should have reversed it.
Here Nawaz announces that he’s taking the SPLC to court for defamation. I doubt whether that’ll succeed: I don’t really know libel law except that the statement made has to be “knowingly false” and must damage someone’s reputation (for damages, it has to reduce your worth or income). But isn’t it a judgment call to say he’s an “anti-Muslim extremist”? Even if he’s a Muslim, which he is, I suppose some twisted mind can find a way to call him “anti-Muslim”, although you’d have a hard time characterizing Nawaz as an “extremist.”
At any rate, Nawaz’s criticism of the SPLC and its decision is right on the mark. (You can read the SPLC’s indictment of him here and see what you think. Most if its reasons aren’t compelling; I found one of them disturbing, but still not rising to the level of “anti-Muslim extremism”).
Nawaz goes on to indict the high level of homophobia (about 100%) among British Muslims, which should be a matter of concern to liberals, and even more so to what must be the many gay Muslims who must cower in the closet. At 15:25, Nawaz proffers what he sees as “the only long-term solution” to Islamist terrorism.
Say what you will about Maher and Nawaz (I get weekly emails from deranged loons trying to convince me that Nawaz is really a closet terrorist, sympathetic to ISIS), you have to agree that this is a rational and reasonable discussion of the sort you don’t hear on Leftist television and journalism, outlets largely devoted to not uttering “Islam” and “terrorism” in the same breath.