November 16, 2010
By Robert Spencer
Islamic supremacists are at war with freedom of speech in the West: The 57-government Organization of the Islamic Conference has been campaigning for years now at the United Nations to compel Western states to criminalize “religious hatred”—that is, honest discussions of how Islamic jihadists use Islamic texts and teachings to justify violence and to recruit peaceful Muslims to their cause. One little-noted weapon in this war is the courtroom: using libel and defamation laws as weapons to cow critics and intimidate them into silence. My courageous and indefatigable colleague Pamela Geller is the latest target.
Muslim foes of the freedom of speech have used this weapon frequently over the years. The Hamas-linked Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) has sued many, and has threatened legal action against many more. In 2006 CAIR dropped a $1.35 million libel suit against Andrew Whitehead of Anti-CAIR, who had called CAIR a “terrorist front organization,” after Whitehead’s lawyers asked probing questions about the group during the discovery process.
In another notable case, billionaire Saudi Khalid bin Mahfouz sued writer Rachel Ehrenfeld in libel-friendly Britain for writing in her book Funding Evil that he was involved in funding Hamas and al-Qaeda. Bin Mahfouz denied that he had knowingly given money to either. This case became the foundation for new laws protecting American writers from libel rulings in other countries.