In response to the high levels of anti-Muslim extremists regularly provided a platform in the media and in the public eye, the Southern Poverty Law Center has partnered with Media Matters for America, ReThink Media and the Center for New Community to provide a resource on anti-Muslim public figures for reporters and media professionals.
The newly released Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists contains profiles of 15 prominent anti-Muslim extremists, many of whom are associated with organizations identified by the SPLC as hate groups.
“We wrote this manual because Muslims in America continue to be vilified by a network of anti-Muslim extremists spreading baseless and damaging lies and we think the media can play a role in helping to stop it,” said Heidi Beirich, director of the Intelligence Project at the Southern Poverty Law Center.
A shocking number of anti-Muslim, self-described “experts” are seen regularly in the media, where they spread falsehoods that too often go uncontested. Their rhetoric has toxic consequences, from promoting xenophobia, to poisoning democratic debate, to inspiring hate violence.
“We hope journalists will use this guide to learn more about these extremists and the damage they cause to society and either deny them a public platform altogether or be better prepared to publicly challenge their hateful rhetoric and misinformation,” Beirich said. “The public really should know who these extremists are and the damaging impact they have with a platform to spread hate and bigotry.”
The guide is not an all-encompassing list of extremists, but highlights those in the center of a large and evolving network of anti-Muslim activists, including the following:
- Frank Gaffney Jr., a former Reagan administration defense official, who founded the Center for Security Policy (CSP) in 1988. In recent years the CSP has gone from a hawkish think tank on foreign affairs to a promoter of baseless conspiracy theories and groundless accusations. One example is a CSP poll, cited by Donald Trump, which claimed that 25 percent of Muslims agreed that violence against Americans in service of jihad was justifiable.
- Ryan Mauro, a “national security analyst” with the Clarion Project, an organization that makes and distributes millions of anti-Muslim films that portray, among other things, the threat of Islamism as akin to Nazism. The New York Times editorial board called one film, “The Third Jihad,” a “hate-filled film about Muslims.”
- Brigitte Gabriel, founder of Act for America, is a radical Islamophobe who has said that “any practicing Muslim who believes the word of the Koran to be the word of Allah … who goes to mosque and prays every Friday, who prays five times a day – this practicing Muslim, who believes in the teachings of the Koran, cannot be a loyal citizen of the United States.” In her book Because they Hate: A Survivor of Islamic Terror Warns America, Gabriel wrote that “the Arab Muslim world, because of its religion and culture, is a natural threat to civilized people of the world.”
Other anti-Muslim extremists profiled are Ann Corcoran, Steven Emerson, Pamela Geller, John Guandolo, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, David Horowitz, Robert Muise, Maajid Nawaz, Daniel Pipes, Walid Shoebat, Robert Spencer and David Yerushalmi.