For over 10 years, organisations and journalists have falsely peddled two claims about Maajid Nawaz and Quilliam. The first is that we are purveyors of anti-Muslim hatred. The second is that we are “closet Islamists”. Both lies are equally offensive.
The Guardian is the latest organisation to accept that it is untrue to describe us as promoters of hatred against Muslims, and to amend an article to recognise that fact.
On Sat 26 May 2018 12.00 EDT, the Guardian chose to publish an article written by someone called Khaled Beydoun who is an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law and Senior Affiliated Faculty at the University of California-Berkeley Islamophobia Research & Documentation Project. The article was entitled: “US liberal Islamophobia is rising 2 and more insidious than rightwing bigotry”.
The article originally described Maajid Nawaz in racist terms, calling him a “native informant”. It asserted that both he and Quilliam peddle “Islamophobia”:
“Maajid Nawaz. He ‘peddles Islamophobia within largely cosmopolitan circles and liberal audiences.”
“A growing roster of native informants, who capitalize on their religious and racial identity as a form of expertise, is also pushing Islamophobia from the left.
Maajid Nawaz leverages his status as a “former Islamist”, brown skin and an affiliation with [Sam] Harris, to peddle Islamophobia within largely cosmopolitan circles and liberal audiences.”
After a very strong letter from our lawyers in the US, Clare Locke, who helped us achieve the settlement from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), The Guardian has accepted that they were wrong. You can read the letter here.
The Guardian has now altered the article to remove the untruthful statement about Quilliam and Maajid. They accept that the author was wrong to make these claims. They also acknowledge that Maajid and Quilliam do not peddle “Islamophobia”, but rather promote pluralism. The Guardian has expressed regret for the error on their website:
“This article has been amended on 15 October 2018. An earlier version of this article claimed that Maajid Nawaz and the Quilliam Foundation peddle Islamophobia. That assertion was not an accurate portrayal of Nawaz and Quilliam’ s views. Nawaz and Quilliam have promoted pluralism, and condemned anti-Muslim bigotry as well as Islamist extremism. We have removed that part of the article and regret the error”
Since Quilliam’s foundation, we have faced down a stream of malicious attempts to label Maajid and Quilliam as either peddlers of “Islamophobia”, Islamists and even as former terrorists.
So far, five organisations have issued apologies:
- Maajid Nawaz Wins Legal Battle Against Thomson Reuters World Check
- The BBC interrupts a live News Programme to issue an apology to Maajid Nawaz
- The SPLC Issues an apology to Maajid Nawaz and Quilliam and pays out $3.375 Million
- Glen Beck apologises on Twitter
The Guardian has now taken its place on that list. We very much hope that in future, their platform will not be misused to promote lies about Maajid and Quilliam
Maajid would probably say something like “5 Nil to Maajid and Quilliam”. But from my perspective – Enough is Enough!