The Southern Poverty Law Center has removed the list of "anti-Muslim extremists" from its website after Islamic reformer Maajid Nawaz threatened to sue the organization for putting him on the list.
The list, which was published in 2016 as a "field guide" for journalists, has sparked a backlash against the SPLC due to the inclusion of liberal reformers such as Nawaz and Somali-born activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
The SPLC insisted that the people on the list were responsible for hate crimes against Muslims. It further stated in its report that the people on the list are "seen regularly on television news programs and quoted in the pages of our leading newspapers."
"There, they routinely espouse a wide range of utter falsehoods, all designed to make Muslims appear as bloodthirsty terrorists or people intent on undermining American constitutional freedoms. More often than not, these claims go uncontested," the report stated, according to the National Review.
Nawaz, a former Islamic extremist who now focuses on combating against hateful ideology, stated in a recent interview with comedian Joe Rogan that the list was removed sometime in the last two days.
"We have retained Clare Locke, they are writing to the Southern Poverty Law Center as we speak. I think they've got wind of it — the Southern Poverty Law Center — and as of yesterday, or the day before, they've removed the entire list that's been up there for two years," said Nawaz, as reported by the National Review.
According to the Daily Caller, internet archives has indicated that the list was still up on April 13, but it has been removed by April 18.
Nawaz, who founded the anti-extremism think tank Quilliam Foundation, regularly criticizes radical interpretations of Islam, prompting the SPLC to brand him as an "anti-Muslim extremist."
The British Islamic reformer first announced the lawsuit against the SPLC in June 2017, and he had just raised enough money to cover the initial legal fees through crowdfunding.
His inclusion in the SPLC's list has spurred thousands of supporters to sign a Change.org petition calling on the left-wing organization to remove Nawaz and Ali from the list.
Ali, who now works at the Hoover Institution, is known for her criticism of female genital mutilation and other practices that are common in Muslim-majority countries. In an op-ed for the New York Times last year, she denounced the SPLC for the "deeply offensive smears" against her.