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Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Branding Moderates as ‘Anti-Muslim’ - The left tries to stigmatize Muslim reformers

As if facing down violent Islamist fanatics isn’t enough, Muslim reformers now have to dodge attacks from the American left. Consider the Southern Poverty Law Center’s decision last week to brand two such reformers, Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Britain’s Maajid Nawaz, as “anti-Muslim extremists.”

Founded in 1971 by civil-rights activists, the Montgomery, Alabama-based law center says it’s committed to “fighting hate and bigotry and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of our society.” That apparently doesn’t include civil rights in the Muslim world or among Muslims living in the U.S.

Ms. Hirsi Ali, who sometimes writes for these pages, is a native of Somalia who later immigrated to the Netherlands and then the U.S. She has braved death threats from jihadists for criticizing female genital mutilation, blasphemy laws, and repression of women and minorities in the Muslim world.

The report attempts to cast doubt on her personal story. Ms. Hirsi Ali, the group sneers, “says she endured female genital mutilation.” It goes on to call her “toxic” for arguing that there is an ideological and theological dimension to what used to be called the war on terror. By that measure France’s Socialist Prime Minister Manuel Valls is also an extremist.

Mr. Nawaz is a British-Pakistani former Islamist who now campaigns against jihadist ideology. He has opposed Islamist movements in the U.K. as well as far-right parties such as the English Defence League. Among the law center’s evidence for its anti-Muslim claim: Mr. Nawaz once posted a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad on Twitter “despite the fact that many Muslims see it as blasphemous.” The Ayatollah Khomeini would agree...

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