The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) could soon be slapped with at least 60 lawsuits from organizations that the watchdog has labeled “hate groups” and “extremist.”
Mat Staver, chairman of the conservative Liberty Counsel, said in a statement to PJ Media that he believes “a number” of organizations are considering legal action against the SPLC.
“There are probably about 60 organizations that we’re talking to — there’s at least 60,” Staver explained.
The potential lawsuits come after the group agreed to pay $3.375 million to Maajid Nawaz, a Muslim reformer whose organization, Quilliam Foundation, was labeled a “hate group” in the SPLC’s 2016 “Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists.”
The SPLC’s inflammatory classification significantly hurt Nawaz’s fundraising efforts because, despite the fact he remains devoutly Muslim, the perception was his anti-extremist foundation was hateful toward the Islamic faith.
In a statement of his own, Nawaz pointed out the importance of pushing back against the “regressive left” by showing “moderate Muslims will not be silenced.”
BREAKING: @splcenter Admits It Was Wrong, Apologizes to @QuilliamOrg & @MaajidNawaz for its Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists, and Agrees to Pay $3.375 Million Settlementhttps://t.co/SGVR33GQMo
Join our civil society movement against extremismhttps://t.co/qSnaEsRJzN pic.twitter.com/h1XtVF8fUs
— Maajid – (Mājid) [maːʤɪd] ماجد (@MaajidNawaz) June 18, 2018
“We will continue to combat extremists by defying Muslim stereotypes, calling out fundamentalism in our own communities, and speaking out against anti-Muslim hate,” he added.
Staver noted the SPLC has been “doing to a lot of organizations exactly what they did to Maajid Nawaz.”
“This is a significant settlement,” he said, noting that “it did not even go to litigation” but was simply the “result of a demand letter.”
“[T]he allegations that were at issue here were very similar to the allegations against the other groups,” Staver continued. “The SPLC promotes false propaganda, demonizes and labels groups they disagree with, and that labeling has economic as well as physical consequences.”
In addition to Nawaz’s foundation and the Liberty Counsel, the SPLC has targeted groups like the Alliance Defending Freedom, the Family Research Council, and the Ruth Institute as well as numerous other conservative and evangelical organizations.