How Islamist Lawfare tactics target free speech

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Middle East Forum Legal Project | Apr 29, 2009

By Brooke Goldstein, Aaron Eitan Meyer

Are American authors who write about terrorism and its sources of financing safe? Are counter-terrorist advisors to the New York City Police department safe? Are U.S. congressmen safe when they report terrorist front groups to the FBI and CIA? Are cartoonists who parody Mohammad safe from arrest?Must a Dutch politician who produced a documentary film quoting the Koran stand trial for blasphemy of Islam in Jordan? Is anyone who speaks publicly on the threat of radical Islam safe from frivolous and malicious lawsuits designed to bankrupt, punish, and silence them? These days, the answer is no.

Lawfare is usually defined as the use of the law as a weapon of war [1], or the pursuit of strategic aims through aggressive legal maneuvers.[2] Traditionally, lawfare tactics have been used to obtain moral advantages over the enemy in the court of public opinion,3 and to intimidate heads of state from acting out of fear of prosecution for war crimes.[4] Al-Qaeda training manuals instruct its captured militants to file claims of torture or other forms of abuse so as to reposition themselves as victims against their captors.[5] The 2004 decision by the United Nation’s International Court of Justice declaring Israel’s security fence a crime against humanity, which pointedly ignored the fact that the fence contributed to a sharp decline in terror attacks, is another example of lawfare aimed at public opinion.[6]

Yet, lawfare has moved beyond gaining mere moral advantages over nation-states and winning lawsuits against government actors. Over the past ten years, we have seen a steady increase in Islamist lawfare tactics directly targeting the human rights of North American and European civilians in order to constrain the free flow of public information about radical Islam.

The Islamist Movement

The Islamist movement is that which seeks to impose tenets of Islam, and specifically Shari’a law, as a legal, political, religious, and judicial authority both in Muslim states and in the West. It is generally composed of two wings-that which operates violently, propagating suicide-homicide bombing and other terrorist activities; and that which operates lawfully, conducting a “soft jihad” within our media, government, and court systems; through Shari’a banking;[7] and within our school systems.[8]

Yet Islamism, the drive to promulgate Islamic values as they are defined by various Imams and Muslim leaders, is the ideology that powers not only Hamas and Al-Qaeda, but motivates organizations such as the Canadian Islamic Congress, the Islamic Circle of North America, and the Council on American Islamic Relations.[9]

Both the violent and the lawful arms of the Islamist movement can and do work apart, but often, their work reinforces each other’s. For example, one tenet of Shari’a law is to punish those who criticize Islam and to silence speech considered blasphemous of its prophet Mohammad. While the violent arm of the Islamist movement attempts to silence speech by burning cars when Danish cartoons of Mohammed are published, by murdering film directors such as Theo Van Gogh, and by forcing thinkers such as Wafa Sultan into hiding out of fear for her life, the lawful arm is skillfully maneuvering within Western court systems, hiring lawyers and suing to silence its critics.

Legal Jihad

Islamist states, organizations, and individuals with financial means have launched a “legal jihad,” filing a series of malicious lawsuits in American courts and abroad, designed to punish and silence those who engage in public discourse about radical Islam. Such lawsuits are being used as a weapon of war against counter-terrorism experts, law enforcement personnel, politicians, and anyone working to disseminate information on Islamist terrorism and its sources of financing. The lawsuits are often predatory, filed without a serious expectation of winning, and undertaken as a means to intimidate, demoralize, and bankrupt defendants. Claims are often based on frivolous charges ranging from defamation to workplace harassment, from “hate speech” to “Islamophobia,” and have resulted in books being banned and pulped, thousands of dollars worth of fines, and publishing houses and newspapers rejecting important works on counter-terrorism out of fear of being the next target.

By suing to impose penalties and gag orders on counter-terrorism experts, government officials, authors, and the media, noncombatants who engage in Islamist lawfare are assuming critical support roles, whether intentionally or not, for violent operations that seek to establish principles of Shari’a law in the West. The following cases represent a small percentage of Islamist lawfare in the U.S. but are illustrative.

In 2003, the Washington-based Council on American Islamic Relations (CA IR), sued former U.S. Congressman Cass Ballenger after an interview with the congressman revealed that he had reported the group to the CIA and FBI as a “fundraising arm for Hezbollah.”[10] Fortunately, the judge in Ballenger’s case ruled the congressman’s statements were made in the scope of his public duties and were therefore constitutionally protected speech in the interest of public concern.

The following year, CA IR instituted a 1.3 million dollar lawsuit against Andrew Whitehead, an American activist and blogger, for maintaining the website Anti-CA IR-net.org, on which CA IR is described as an Islamist organization with ties to terrorist groups. After refusing Whitehead’s discovery requests, seemingly afraid of what internal documents the legal process it had initiated would reveal, CA IR withdrew its claims against Whitehead, a settlement was reached, and the case was dismissed by the court with prejudice.[11]

In 2005, the Islamic Society of Boston (ISB) filed a lawsuit charging defamation against a dozen defendants including the Boston Herald, FOX 25 News, counterterrorism expert Steven Emerson, and several others. The defendants were targeted by ISB for publicly speaking about the Islamic Society’s connections to radical Islam and for raising questions about the construction of its Saudi-funded mosque in Boston. A full two years after it had initiated the lawsuit, and just a few months after the discovery process was initiated into ISB’s financial records, ISB dropped its case and abandoned all of its claims against all of the defendants, without receiving any form of payment.[12]

Bruce Tefft, a former CIA official and counter-terrorism consultant for the NYPD, was sued by a Muslim police officer for “workplace harassment” after Tefft sent out emails to a voluntary recipient list of police officers containing information about radical Islamic terrorism.[13] Tefft’s suit is ongoing. Sometimes American authors and publishers wrongfully targeted are able to take advantage of Anti-SLAPP statutes, the acronym being Anti-Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation. Anti-SLAPP statutes have been enacted in several, but not all, U.S. states and are aimed at preventing lawsuits designed to hinder legitimate public dialogue. The problem, however, with Anti-SLAPP statutes is threefold-not all states have enacted them, there is no federal equivalent, and one must wait to be sued in order to take advantage of them.

Such was the case when American author Matthew Levitt and his publisher, Yale Press, were sued by KinderUSA for Levitt’s book Hamas, in which Levitt describes KinderUSA as a charitable front for terror financing. In response to the lawsuit, Levitt and Yale Press instituted a counter-claim based on California’s Anti-SLAPP statute arguing that KinderUSA’s suit was a disguised attempt at wrongfully intimidating them into silence. Shortly after the counter-claim was filed, KinderUSA mysteriously dropped its lawsuit, claiming only that it found the suit too costly to pursue.[14]

Most disturbing, however, are the examples of parties sued for reporting on official U.S. government investigations into terrorist activities, or for formally appealing to government authorities to conduct investigations into suspected illegal activity. Parties targeted in this vein include the New York Times, which, in 2001, reported on the U.S. government’s investigation of the Global Relief Foundation and was subsequently sued[15]; The Wall Street Journal, which, in 2002, reported on the monitoring of Saudi bank accounts and was also sued[16]; and the Anti-Defamation League, which, in 2002, called for the investigation of a public school superintendent named Khadja Ghafur, based on indications that schools under his supervision were teaching religion in violation of the establishment clause. Ghafur predictably sued ADL for libel and lost, but only after much time and money was spent by ADL defending itself.[17]

The cumulative effect of these lawsuits, combined with the looming threat of future lawsuits, is creating a detrimental chilling effect on the exercise of free speech within this country, and raising the cost of public debate about the war on terrorism. Islamist lawfare has also sparked a wave of self-censorship, with publishing houses going as far as hiring security experts to assess the potential for violent reactions in the Muslim community to printed words.

The strategy of silencing Western material “blasphemous” of Islam began not with objections to truth, cartoons, politicians, or political articles. After the 1988 publication of Salman Rushdie’s famous work of fiction, The Satanic Verses, Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini issued his infamous fatwa against Rushdie, a British citizen at the time.[18] The fatwa marked the beginning of the end of open discourse-fictional or otherwise-on Islam. Only six months ago, the deputy head of the Khomeini Archives proudly stated on Iranian television that “Imam Khomeini’s fatwa on Salman Rushdie has historic significance for Islam. It was not just a fatwa; it was a verdict that still holds today.”[19] From this epochal attack, Islamists have moved on to silencing public discourse on issues of national security directly, even as they still seek to quash creative works of fiction to which they object. Though Salman Rushdie published The Satanic Verses in 1988, he remains in hiding a full 20 years later.

Most recently, Random House Publishing Group pulled a fictional novel entitled “The Jewel of Medina” by journalist Sherry Jones about the Prophet Mohammad’s child bride. The publishing house feared it would prove offensive to some in the Muslim community and “incite acts of violence.”20 Prior to making its decision public, Thomas Perry, deputy publisher at Random House, consulted with security experts and scholars on Islam and received “from credible and unrelated sources”21 cautionary advice not to publish the work.

Denise Spellberg, an associate professor of Islamic history at the University of Texas, made what was described as a “frantic” appeal to drop a “very ugly, stupid piece of work,” that she said “made fun of Muslims and their history.”[22] Despite the commercial success of fictional pieces about the war on radical Islam, such as the New York Times’ bestseller The Last Patriot [23], written by Brad Thor and published by Atria Books, and Daniel Silva’s Secret Servant, published by Putnam, Random House seems to be leaving its business decisions up to articulate professors of Islamic studies. Although the publication of the book was officially postponed for “safety reasons,” it is certainly open to question whether the hysterical response of an associate professor constitutes a credible danger. Chastising Random House further, the Islamic Community in Serbia released a statement claiming it was not satisfied with the mere withdrawal of the novel and the organization’s leader, Muamer Zukorlic, demanded all of the published copies be handed in.[24]

The cases listed above reflect a few of the same battles going on now: Free speech of Americans and other Westerners being placed under siege by Islamists. Those targeted run the range from government officials actively engaged in battling Islamist terrorism to novelists who dare to use Islamic themes or history in their writing. What must be appreciated is the fact that this problem is by no means limited to lawsuits within the United States, or even lawsuits involving U.S. citizens. As lawfare continues to be increasingly utilized the world over, the stakes for Western democracies, including the United States, continue to be raised significantly.

Lawfare in Europe and Canada

Islamist lawfare is achieving a high degree of success in Canada and Europe because their judicial systems and laws do not afford their citizens, or American citizens for that matter, the level of free speech protection granted under the U.S. Constitution.

With their “hate speech” legislation, liberal libel laws and virtual codification of “Islamophobia” as a cause of action, European and Canadian legislatures have laid down what could be called the ideal framework for litigious Islamists to achieve their goals.

In February of 2006, the European Union and former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan issued a joint statement with the Organization of the Islamic Conference, in which they recognized the need “to show sensitivity” in treating issues of special significance for the adherents of any particular religion, “even by those who do not share the belief in question.”[25] In June of 2006, the Council of Europe hosted a “Programme of the Hearing on European Muslim Communities confronted with Extremism,” for which a ‘Point of View on the Situation of Europe’ was presented by none other than Tariq Ramadan.[26] Based on a draft resolution and the proceedings of June 2006, the Council of Europe recently released Resolution 1605, asserting widespread ‘Islamophobia’ and calling all member nations to “condemn and combat Islamophobia.”[27]

Persons held accountable to the EU’s new legal standards include actress Brigitte Bardot, who was charged this past April, for the fifth time, with “inciting racial hatred” against Muslims and forced to pay a fine of twelve thousand pounds.[28] At the time of her death in 2006, noted Italian author Orianna Fallaci was being sued in France[29], Italy[30], Switzerland[31] and other jurisdictions by groups dedicated to preventing the dissemination of her work.

On May 13, 2008, Dutch police actually arrested a cartoonist using the pseudonym Gregorious Nekschot, “…for the criminal offense of “publishing cartoons which are discriminating for Muslims and people with dark skin.”[32]

England UK courts, because of their libel laws, are particularly friendly jurisdictions for Islamists who want to restrict the dissemination of material drawing attention to radical Islam and terror financing.[33]

A major player on this front is Khalid bin Mahfouz, a wealthy businessman who resides in Saudi Arabia and who has been accused by several parties of financially supporting Al Qaeda. A notable libel tourist, Mahfouz has sued or threatened to sue more than 30 publishers and authors in British courts, including several Americans, whose written works have linked him to terrorist entities. Faced with the prospect of protracted and expensive litigation, most of the parties targeted by Mahfouz have issued apologies and retractions, while some have also paid fines and “contributions” to his charities.

In 2007, when Mahfouz threatened to sue Cambridge University Press for publishing the book Alms for Jihad, by American authors Robert Collins and J Millard Burr, Cambridge Press immediately capitulated, offered a public apology to Mahfouz, took the book out of print, destroyed the unsold copies of the book, and made the outrageous demand that libraries all over the world remove the book from their shelves.

Shortly after the US publication of Rachel Ehrenfeld’s book entitled Funding Evil, Mahfouz sued Ehrenfeld for defamation because she too had written about financial ties between Mahfouz and terrorist entities. The allegations against Ehrenfeld were heard by the UK court despite the fact that neither Mahfouz nor Ehrenfeld resides in England, while and the court asserted jurisdiction over her merely because approximately 23 copies of Funding Evil were sold to UK buyers online via Amazon.com. Unwilling to travel to England or acknowledge the authority of English libel laws over herself and her work, Ehrenfeld lost on default and was ordered to pay heavy fines, apologize, and destroy her books — all of which she refused to do.[34]

Canada Canada, with its “human rights” commissions, joins the list of countries whose laws are being used to attack the free speech rights of authors and activists. Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act bans the electronic transmission of material that is deemed “likely to expose persons to hatred or contempt by reason of the fact that those persons are identifiable on the basis of a prohibited ground of discrimination,”[35] which prohibited grounds include both ethnic origin and religion.[36] Such vagaries in what was probably a well-meaning, yet democratically incompatible and short-sighted law, has enabled a wave of “human rights” complaints in the Canadian Human Rights Commissions (CHRC) against outspoken critics of radical Islam and their publishers.

Those summoned to appear before the CHRC include Maclean’s magazine, award-winning author Mark Steyn, and noted Canadian lawyer and blogger, Ezra Levant. The complaints against Maclean’s and Steyn were initiated by the Canadian Islamic Congress (CIC) and based on Maclean’s’ re-publication of excerpts from Steyn’s book entitled America Alone, which details Europe’s capitulation to radical Islam, and projects America as potentially the last bastion of freedom, and which the CIC[37] argued in its complaint is “flagrantly Islamophobic.”

Levant was likewise hauled before the Commissions on charges of “hate crimes” against Muslims after re-publishing the Danish Cartoon of Mohammad in the now defunct Western Standard Magazine. Though the charges against him were dropped the outcome could hardly be considered a “win” for free speech, as he details on his website.[38]

The Netherlands

The most frightening predicament of all is that of Dutch politician, filmmaker and outspoken critic of radical Islam, Geert Wilders. After releasing a ten-minute self-produced film entitled “Fitna,” Wilders has found himself wound up in a litany of “hate speech” litigation, one such suit filed by a radical Imam asking for fifty five thousand Euros in compensation for his hurt feelings. Ironically, the film’s narrative is primarily comprised of quotes from the Koran and scenes of an Imam preaching death to Jews.[39] Most disturbing however, is the fact that the State of Jordan most likely acting as a stalking house for the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) has issued a request for Wilders’ extradition to stand in Jordan for blasphemy, a crime for which Shari’a law declares the penalty to be death, though reports have emerged claiming that the maximum potential sentence would be three years.[40]

The Dutch parliament is taking the request very seriously, and has shut out Wilders from any multi-lateral negotiations. As a precaution, Wilders no longer travels abroad unless he can obtain a diplomatic letter from the destination state promising he won’t be extradited. At present, Wilders lives under looming death threats complemented by the threat that any day, Interpol may issue a warrant for his arrest at Jordan’s behest.

If Jordan succeeds in extraditing a democratically elected official to stand trial in a non-democratic country for speech made in the scope of his duties while educating his constituents vis-à-vis their national security, all under the guise of blasphemy of Islam, what kind of precedent would be set? As much as the Islamists wish to punish Wilders, there is no question that his case is a dry run for bigger game. How long until some convenient court in an OIC nation decides to find another government official guilty of ‘blasphemy’ and demands their extradition?

After Italian Minister Roberto Calderoli publicly wore a T-shirt depicting Mohammad, he was forced to resign.[41] Upon his re-nomination to Prime Minister Berlusconi’s reformed government, thinly veiled threats of “catastrophic consequences” emerging from Libya forced Calderoli to issue a full public apology for his wardrobe.[42]

The International Scene: Muslim Organizations and the UN

National lawfare efforts are being complemented with similar International efforts to outlaw blasphemy of Islam as a crime against humanity. Islamist organizations such as the Muslim World League are calling for the establishment of an independent commission to take action against parties who defame their Prophet Mohammed,[43] and at the Dakar summit, taking legal action against parties who slander Islam was a key issue debated at length, with the final communiqué adopted by the Organization of the Islamic Conference denouncing the “rise in intolerance and discrimination against Muslim minorities, which constitute(s) and affront to human dignity.”[44] The Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers at its thirty-fourth session in Islamabad, in May 2007, condemned the “growing trend of Islamophobia”[45] and emphasized “the need to take effective measures to combat defamation.” The Islamic Society of North America and the Muslim Public Affairs Council have both stated publicly that they are considering filing defamation lawsuits against their critics[46] and CAIR has announced an ambitious fundraising goal of one million, in part to; “defend against defamatory attacks on Muslims and Islam.”[47]

Most recently, Muslim states and organizations have successfully lobbied the United Nations’ Human Rights Commission to enact Resolution 7/19 [48], a document that turns the concept of “human rights” into an instrument of Orwellian thought control. The Resolution makes reference to the Durban Declaration, and expresses the intent “to complement legal strategies” aimed at criminalizing the defamation of religion. The Resolution “urges States to provide, within their respective legal and constitutional systems, adequate protections against acts of…discrimination,” [49] and prohibits “the dissemination of racist and xenophobic ideas.” [50] Note that it is ideas that are prevented here, not published words but defamatory thoughts against Islam which the United Nations is banning.

The Resolution further expresses its “deep concern at the attempts to identify Islam with terrorism, violence and human rights violations.” What are the chances that this provision will be applied to those who behead journalists in the name of Islam, or to Palestinian terrorist groups that call themselves ‘Islamic Jihad’?

To add insult to injury, signatories to the Resolution take the opportunity to “emphasize (emphasis not added) that everyone has the right to freedom of expression” but that this freedom may “be subject to certain restrictions” while stipulating that “the prohibition of the dissemination of ideas (emphasis added) based on racial superiority or hatred is compatible with the freedom of opinion and expression.” Signatories to UN HRC Res. 7/19 include China, Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia and Sri Lanka, amongst others.

This Resolution 7/19 looks like an initial attempt to establish a body of international law to be used in the future against heads of state who speak out against radical Islam as a threat to national security. Hence, instead of Muslim states unilaterally seeking the extradition of a Geert Wilders – or perhaps, a Donald Rumsfeld – Islamists can now employ UN mechanisms to force politicians to abide by a standard of ‘sensitivity’ to Islam defined solely by Islamists themselves.

The European Center for Law and Justice, a not for profit public interest law firm submitted an engaging report to the UN High Commissioner arguing, correctly, that freedom of religion does not entail carte blanche freedom to practice your religion absent criticism. In fact, Resolution 7/19 is itself a violation of international law undermining the inalienable human right to free speech, especially on matters of important public concern such as religion and national security.[51]

Yet what are the positions of the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) on this issue? Where is the international media? Why is this issue being met with virtual silence on their behalves while American citizens’ basic human rights to free speech are being trampled on? Perhaps the CCR is too busy with its suit against former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in Spain for alleged “war crimes” in Iraq, since the German case against him was dismissed.[52]

Conclusion The war against Islamism is as much a war of ideas as it is a physical battle, and therefore the dissemination of information in the free world is paramount. The manipulation of Western court systems, the use of western “hate speech laws” and other products of political correctness to destroy the very principles that democracies stand for, must be countered.

Unfortunately Islamist lawfare is beginning to limit and control public discussion of Islam, particularly as it pertains to comprehending the threat posed by Islamic terrorist entities. As such, the Islamist lawfare challenge presents a direct and real threat not only to our constitutional rights, but also to our national security.

Some have argued that the anti-Americanism of radical Islamists has little to do with anti-imperialism but reflects a profound contempt for the liberal social democratic society we have built and its emphasis on individual liberties and freedoms.[53] Freedom of expression is the cornerstone of democratic liberty – it is a freedom that Western civilizations have over time paid for with blood. We must not give it up so easily. The true imperialists are those who seek to impose their perception on others, through violent or legal means, and who seek to conquer and subjugate contradictory points of view.

The reality is that the Muslim community has nothing to gain from supporting the censorship of debate about Islam. If a cartoon with Mohammad is “hate speech” now, how much longer before the Koran gets the same treatment? As Jonathan Kay, National Post columnist, has aptly pointed out “human rights mandarins haven’t gone after mosques or mullahs – yet,” but it doesn’t take much to recognize that two can play at the same game. The actions of CAIR and the CIC and others who engage in Islamist lawfare offer a great rebuttal to those who see Islamism as compatible with democracy.

Brooke Goldstein is a practicing attorney, an award-winning filmmaker and the director of the Legal Project at the Middle East Forum. The Legal Project is dedicated to providing pro-bono legal representation to authors, activists and publishers who work on the topics of radical Islam, terrorism and their sources of financing.

Aaron Eitan Meyer recently received his Juris Doctor degree from Touro Law Center, and is currently Assistant to the Director at the Legal Project of the Middle East Forum and Legal Correspondent to the Terror Finance Blog.

Originally published in two parts in thecounterterroristmag.com.

To see these in PDF form: Part 1 and 2.


NOTES

1 Dunlap, Law and Military Interventions: Preserving Humanitarian Values in 21st Century Conflicts (29 Nov 2001), and David Rivkin, The Wall Street Journal Op Ed at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB117220137149816987.html (commentary at: http://www.prospect.org/cs/articles?article=the_lawfare_scare)

2 http://www.opinionjournal.com/forms/printThis.html?id=1100053663 http://online.wsj.com/article/SB117220137149816987.html

4 Israeli Minister Avi Dichter canceled a trip to Britain after being threatened with arrest over a 2002 incident, (See http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article3012503.ece) Also, Israeli Deputy Prime Minister and former Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Shaul Mofaz cut short a trip to Britain after “the director of public prosecutions in England asked police in London to investigate war crimes allegations.” (See http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2002/11/01/1036027036796.html)

5 “Lawfare” By David B. Rivkin & Lee A.Casey, The Wall Street Journal (Feb 26, 2007) at http://prasad.aem.cornell.edu/doc/media/PrasadRajan.WSJAFeb07.pdf

6 For the text of the decision see: http://www.icj-cij.org/docket/index.php?p1=3&p2=4&k=5a&case=131&code=mwp&p3=4

7 For more information on Shari’a compliant financing see David Yerushalmi, “Sharia’s Black Box: Civil Liability and Criminal Exposure Surrounding Sharia-Compliant Finance,” Utah Law Review or www.securefreedom.org

8 Much has been said about the Saudi effort to produce school textbooks for American grade schools, and the establishment of Islamic-language public schools such as the Khalil Gibran Academy in New York, raising issues of Establishment Clause violations and contravening separation of church and state, or more accurately, Mosque and state. “Islam in America’s public schools: Education or indoctrination?” http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2008/06/11/cstillwell.DTL On New York’s “Khalil Gibran International Academy” http://www.danielpipes.org/blog/2007/03/on-new-yorkskhalil-gibran-international.html

9 CAIR: “CAIR believes the active practice of Islam strengthens the social and religious fabric of our nation.” http://www.cair.com/AboutUs/VisionMissionCorePrinciples.aspx. CAIR also offers a ‘guide’ which offers “…background information about Islam and Muslims, best practices on reporting on the Muslim community and a list of accurate terminology to use when covering issues relating to Islam.” Also, they have a campaign to ‘Explore the Quran’ with the following description of their aim: “In today’s climate of heightened religious sensitivities and apparent cultural clashes, now is the time for people of all faiths to better acquaint themselves with Islam’s sacred text, the Holy Quran.” http://www.explorethequran.org This is to be accomplished by distributing copies of the Quran. There is a similar campaign regarding Muhammad. http://www.exploremuhammad.org ISNA: Imam Sirraj Wahhaj, listed as Member, ISNA Majlis Ashura: “In time, this so-called democracy will crumble, and there will be nothing. And the only thing that will remain will be Islam,” Wahhaj was quoted as saying in one of his sermons. as cited in “Radical Imam Promotes Pro-Islamic Ad Campaign to Run on New York Subways” http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,387701,00.html CAIR: Omar M. Ahmad, then-director of CAIR: “If you choose to live here (in America) … you have a responsibility to deliver the message of Islam…” in “American Muslim leader urges faithful to spread Islam’s message” and “The Koran, the Muslim book of scripture, should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on earth…” Article by Lisa Gardiner Available online at http://www.danielpipes.org/394.pdf See also, The WorldNetDaily “Did CAIR founder say Islam to Rule America?” http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=53303

10 Ballenger made the comment in a phone conversation to journalist Tim Funk of the Charlotte Observer on October 1, 2003. As cited by the Court in Council of American Islamic Relations, v. Cass Ballenger, 444 F.3d 659 (D.C. Cir. 2006) http://pacer.cadc.uscourts.gov/docs/common/opinions/200604/05-5161a.pdf

11 Despite CAIR’s failed effort at intimidation, Whitehead’s Anti-CAIR website is still up and running along with the text that was at issue and is available at www.anti-cairnet.org

12 In line with the old adage that actions speak louder than words, the fact that both ISB and CAIR abandoned their claims right before they would have been required, by court order, to turn over internal documents speaks volumes about whether the two Plaintiffs had ever intended to pursue their legal claims on their merit or had instead, intended to use the court system to intimidate the Defendants as well as other journalists, into not reporting on their activities.

13 http://frontpagemagazine.com/Articles/Read.aspx?GUID=AF613BFA-8E34-4A07-8DB4-20D89DE3D84B

14 KinderUSA claimed that its resources were better spent on charity. http://www.libraryjournal.com/info/CA6470780.html

15 In affirming the decision, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals reiterated that “Truth is an absolute bar to recovery for defamation.” 390 F.3d 973 (7th Cir. 2004) http://cases.justia.com/us-court-of-appeals/F3/390/973/506579/

16 The bank dropped the suit in 2005, but the WSJ published a ‘clarification’ that it had not in fact reported any allegation that linked the bank to terrorism. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB118530038250476405.html

17 “Court throws out Muslim educator’s suit against ADL” http://www.jewishsf.com/content/2-0-/module/displaystory/story_id/20626/edition_id/422/format/html/displaystory.html

18 For an excellent synopsis and explanation of these events, see “The Ayatollah, the

Novelist, and the West” by Daniel Pipes, available online at http://www.danielpipes.org/article/186

19 http://www.danielpipes.org/blog/2004/06/is-salman-rushdie-now-safe.html

20 “Random House Pulls Novel on Islam, Fears Violent,” by Edith Honan, (Aug 7, 2008) at: http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSN0736008820080807

21 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/2524540/Random-Housescraps-publication-of-novel-on-Prophet-Mohammeds-child-bride.html

22 http://dick-meom.blogspot.com/2008/08/random-house-randomlydecides-not-to.html

23 The book is available at: amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/Last-Patriot-Thriller-Brad-Thor/dp/141654383X/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1218036222&sr=8-1

24 http://domino.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF

25 http://domino.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/fd807e46661e3689852570d00069e918/48c61023cd19096f8525710e006df80b!OpenDocument26 http://assembly.coe.int/Main.asp?link=/Documents/WorkingDocs/Doc08/EDOC11540.htm

27 Adopted by the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly, April 15, 2008 http://assembly.coe.int/Main.asp?link=/Documents/AdoptedText/ta08/ERES1605.htm

28 http://www.reuters.com/article/entertainmentNews/idUSL1584799120080415?feedT; http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-1023969/Brigitte-Bardot-fined-12-000-racial-hatred-claiming-Muslims-destroying-France.html

29 http://www.secularism.org.uk/39371.html#oriana

30 http://www.cbc.ca/story/arts/national/2006/09/15/orianafallaci-obit.html

31 http://www.milligazette.com/Archives/01072002/0107200263.htm

32 http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/3257

33 Where, in the United States, with our First Amendment rights to free speech, libel plaintiffs not only have the burden to prove that the speech in question is false and defamatory, but where matters of public concern are at issue, the libel Plaintiff must also show that the speech was published with a reckless disregard for the truth. In England, on the other hand, the burden is in exactly the opposite direction: the offending speech is presumed to be false, and it is up to the defendant to prove that it is in fact true. While on the surface the difference may seem trite, UK libel jurisprudence, in direct contrast to US law and due process considerations, effectively operates to declare Defendants guilty before proven innocent and UK courts have become a magnet for libel suits that would otherwise fail miserably in the US. And so heavy is the burden of proof put on the defendant that the mere threat of suit in a UK court is enough to intimidate publishers into silence, regardless of the merit of their author’s works.

34 Instead, Ehrenfeld went on the offensive and counter-sued Mahfouz in a New York State court seeking to have the foreign judgment declared unenforceable in the United States. Ironically, Ehrenfeld lost her case against Mahfouz, because the New York court decided it lacked jurisdiction over the Saudi resident who, the court said, did not have sufficient connections to the state. Shortly afterwards and in direct response to the court’s ruling, the NY state legislature, in an unprecedented show of cross party solidarity, unanimously voted to enact the Libel Terrorism Protection Act which prevents the enforcement of foreign libel judgments over American authors and provides the opportunity for the claim to be tried in the US, on its merits, and according to American principles of free speech. A similar piece of legislation has been introduced in Congress by Arlen Specter and Joseph Lieberman in the Senate and by Joseph King in the House of Representatives, along with several co-sponsors.

35 What is particularly disturbing about Section 13 “hate speech” laws is that the court costs of any one Plaintiff who files a section 13 complaint are entirely subsidized by the government, while the defendants are left to endure the financial burden of litigation alone. This is a rule that, on its face, obviously encourages frivolous litigation. Moreover the CHRC has had a one hundred percent conviction rate on section 13 charges.

36 As defined by Section 3 (1) of the Canadian Human Rights Act

37 The CIC, whose president Mohamed Elmasry once labeled every adult Jew in Israel a legitimate target for terrorists, has previously tried, albeit unsuccessfully, to sue publications it disagrees with in regular Canadian courts of law, including the National Post.

38 http://ezralevant.com/2008/08/punished-first-acquitted-later.html

39 Fitna is available for viewing here: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-2949546475561399959&hl=en

40 http://jihadwatch.org/archives/2008/07/021595print.html

41 http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4727606.stm

42 http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2008/5/10/worldupdates/2008-05-10T052806Z_01_NOOTR_RTRMDNC_0_-335051-2&sec=Worldupdates

43 http://www.arabnews.com/?page=4&section=0&article=77639&d=28&m=12&y=2006

44 Final Communiqué adopted by the Organization of the Islamic Conference at its eleventh summit in Dakar (March 2008) OIC/SUMMIT-11/2008/FC/Final http://www.oic-oci.org/oicnew/is11/English/FC-11-%20SUMMIT-en.pdf

45 UN HRC Res. 7/19

46 http://www.faithfreedom.org/oped/RobertKing50905.htm and http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/Printable.aspx?GUID={1E2DE909-C6F5-4A5F-B852-0D90BE4FEA9C}

47 http://www.nysun.com/national/treasury-department-tars-alamoudi-founder-of/24211/

48 For the full text of Un HRC Res. 7/19 see http://ap.ohchr.org/documents/E/HRC/resolutions/A_HRC_RES_7_19.pdf

49 UN HRC Res. 7/19 Section 9

50 UN HRC Res. 7/19 Section 8

51 ECLJ report can be found at: http://www.meforum.org/legal-project.php

52 http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/paperchase/2007/04/german-prosecutor-rejects-war-crimes.php

53 Tarek Fatah, “Triggering a State of Islam,” The National Post, May 13, 2008.

http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/p18029.xml

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One thought on “How Islamist Lawfare tactics target free speech

    Jonathon said:
    May 10, 2009 at 1:24 am

    Isn’t it up to the courts to decide what is frivolous? Just because someone may not be liked doesn’t mean they lose their constitutional rights, including the right to seek redress of issues.

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