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SPLC’s Bogus Hate List Cited to Slur Muslim Reformer Meeting MN Legislators

There they go again. Another media outlet–the Star Tribune–perpetuating what Reason magazine recently labeled “the Southern Poverty Law Center scam. A hate group list loved by the media is bogus.” The SPLC’s annual list of supposed hate groups includes umpteen respectable organizations who simply hold conservative views hated by leftists.

The latest incident involves Raheel Raza, a Pakistani-born Canadian author and Muslim reformer who’s best known for her book Their Jihad, Not My Jihad: A Muslim Canadian Woman Speaks Out. A courageous proponent of gender equality and human rights for Muslims, Raza was invited to speak to state legislators today in St. Paul.

But at the last minute Rep. Melissa Hortman, DFL-Brooklyn Park, demanded that Rep. Roz Peterson, R-Lakeville, rescind the invitation. Why? Raza’s affiliation with two supposed “anti-Muslim hate groups” on SPLC’s notorious black list (Act for America and the Clarion Project), as the Star Tribune dutifully pointed out.

Raza’s website describes her as an “intercultural and interfaith diversity consultant, author, public speaker.” But House Minority Leader Melissa Hortman sent Peterson a letter Tuesday calling Raza an extremist.

“Ms. Raza’s hateful agenda includes closing mosques, enforcing a Muslim ban, rejecting refugees and policing the practice of the Islamic faith,” Hortman, D-Brooklyn Park, said in the letter.

Peterson declined to go along with Hortman’s recommendation, keeping an open mind.

Peterson, R-Lakeville, said she has never met Raza, but members of the Clarion Project asked if she wanted to meet Raza and she agreed. When she looked at the organization’s website, Peterson said she did not get the impression it is anti-Muslim. She said she invited all legislators to their discussion and expects to talk about how to address terrorist groups who are targeting Muslims.

“As an inclusive person, I do think it is important to listen to everyone,” Peterson said. “I am certainly not supportive of hate groups.”

While the paper allotted a sentence to each of the organizations accused of being a hate group, the Southern Poverty Law Center was presented as a neutral observer and watchdog of hate.

ACT for America’s website says the group educates citizens and elected officials to protect America from terrorism. The Clarion Project claims to challenge radical Islam and promote human rights. The Southern Poverty Law Center has them on its list of hate groups. Organizations on that list exhibit extreme hostility toward Muslims and “typically hold conspiratorial views regarding the inherent danger to America posed by its Muslim-American community,” the center’s website states.

Unlike many potentially controversial stories on Muslim-related issues, the Star Tribune did not bar readers from submitting comments this time. Apparently the paper feels no need to protect Muslim reformers from its readers’ opinions. Go figure.

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