The Next Phase of Islamist Lawfare

By Brooke Goldstein and Aaron Eitan MeyerLegal Project of the Middle East Forum The phenomenon known as Islamist “lawfare,” or … Continued

By Brooke Goldstein and Aaron Eitan Meyer
Legal Project of the Middle East Forum

The phenomenon known as Islamist “lawfare,” or the use of Western legal systems to achieve the goals of radical Islam, has taken a variety of forms during its rise over the past ten years. Generally, lawfare may be roughly divided into two categories: 1) small-scale attempts to silence individuals who write critically about Islam, terrorism and terrorist funding; and 2) attempts by regional and global organizations to redefine [read: curtail] freedom of speech.

On Tuesday, May 19, the Legal Project at the Middle East Forum – which was created by Daniel Pipes as a direct response to lawfare – the Federalist Society, the Center for National Security Law and the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression, are holding a conference to analyze the issue. Entitled “Libel Lawfare: Silencing Criticism of Radical Islam,” the conference will address lawfare tactics in the United States and tactics and strategy employed in Canada, the European Union, and the United Nations.

In the United States, a particular player on this front has been the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), an opportunistic organization that has attempted to silence its critics through threats and lawsuits time and again. When CAIR discovered that Senator Arlen Specter was scheduled to speak at the Libel Lawfare conference, it began circulating a petition demanding that he not speak – echoing its calls for the removal of Florida House Majority Leader Adam Hasner after he committed the ‘crime’ of allowing Dutch Parliamentarian, filmmaker and anti-Islamist advocate Geert Wilders to speak at a recent free speech conference in Florida. Ironically, Senator Specter withdrew from the conference before CAIR began to circulate its petition.

While lawfare in the United States has been relatively unsuccessful, the European Union and United Nations represent the larger battleground in the struggle being waged to protect the right to criticize radical Islam, and a losing front at that.

The EU, with its “hate speech” statutes and plaintiff-friendly libel laws, has provided Islamists with numerous victories, and terrorism analysis continues to suffer throughout the continent as a result. Meanwhile, the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), which dominates the UN General Assembly, has managed to pass several resolutions aimed at globally criminalizing “defamation of religion,” a nebulous thought crime that would prevent anyone from analyzing, questioning, or criticizing virtually anything having to do with Islam’s prophet Muhammad.

Yet, the next phase of Islamist lawfare may well center directly upon the internet itself. Already, a number of nations have held that content downloaded within their jurisdiction is subject to that nation’s laws – regardless of whether that content is deemed protected speech where it originated. But looming on the horizon is a more daunting possibility.

Currently, all internet web addresses are assigned and managed by the California based Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), by contract with the United States government. That contract is set to expire in September, 2009, and certain parties in the EU have already begun to call for a multilateral approach to the internet.

For American researchers, journalists and analysts in particular, accustomed to the concept that freedom of speech is an inalienable right that a government can only alter in a limited number of instances, any shift to a less-protected internet presents the potential for a freezing chill on speech dealing with controversial topics.

Moreover, lurking behind a ‘multilateral’ internet is the specter of United Nations control, and that means the OIC. That organization adheres to the Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam, which circumscribes the right to freely express oneself by stating that it may only be done “in such manner as would not be contrary to the principles of the Shari’ah.” Moreover, what is ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ are to be defined “according to the norms of Islamic Shari’ah.” Shari’ah, of course, is the same draconian Islamic jurisprudence that subjugates women and minorities under claim of religious right.

The ultimate aim of Islamists is not merely to silence individual critics, but to compel everyone to adhere, overtly or otherwise, to the Shari’ah-derived norms espoused by the OIC. The strategy is to use any and all tools to achieve this end, be they predatory defamation lawsuits, ‘hate speech’ laws, or international resolutions.

In 1996, in the case Reno v. ACLU, a specially constituted panel of federal judges declared the internet to be a free speech zone, with Judge Stewart Dalzell stating that the internet is “the most participatory form of mass speech yet developed.”

Freedom of speech means the right to criticize, free from fear of reprisal. Granting any form of control over the internet to parties interested in suppressing speech critical of radical Islam or analysis of terrorism would signal a victory for radical Islam that dwarfs any number of UN resolutions. Should the internet in fact prove to be the next battleground for Islamist lawfare, we must stand ready to protect it.

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 is assistant director at the Legal Project of the Middle East Forum and Legal Correspondent to the Terror Finance Blog.

  • CCNL

    Free Speech rules:RealityO Islam, O Islam, violent Islam,Save us from these Islamic FEMs,Born, Bred, and Brainwashed too,Truth, Truth, History and Truth,

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    “When CAIR discovered that Senator Arlen Specter was scheduled to speak at the Libel Lawfare conference, it began circulating a petition demanding that he not speak – echoing its calls for the removal of Florida House Majority Leader Adam Hasner after he committed the ‘crime’ of allowing Dutch Parliamentarian, filmmaker and anti-Islamist advocate Geert Wilders to speak at a recent free speech conference in Florida. Ironically, Senator Specter withdrew from the conference before CAIR began to circulate its petition.”Frankly, this is scary. If Arlen Specter withdrew from the conference out of fear, he really needs to examine his American conscience. He would have done better to publicize any threats against him, taking the occasion to expose and condemn all those who seek to deprive us of our sacred, secular rights.Bottom line: If you sleep with OIL, you will wake up filthy. Moreover, you will drown millions of others, in this case Muslims, who are not extremists.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    UKBA,BTW., Pipes has many Christian supporters, not a small number of Catholics, and guess what, some Muslims. He has taken exception to points raised by Daniel Brumberg regarding Islam. I have personally heard him speak and was surprised at how devoid of polemics his talk was. People, including our president, use speech strategically. I have also read several of Pipes’ books. Some of what he writes I strongly disagree with. Not all. Definitely not all.Do not forget, I grew up in a Muslim country. Pipes has no problem with moderate Islam, moderate anything. On that point, he has been consistent.Don’t believe everything you read. Read the man for himself. This essay is my first introduction NEITHER to Brumberg nor to CAIR.Be careful about throwing around the word “Jewish.” What goes round comes round, as you know. Your ?,

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    UKBA,Correction to previous post:Meant to write: “NEITHER to Pipes nor to CAIR.”

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    And what do those people do who want to know more of CCNL’s thinking?C.Christian Nut-Louse. The New in the New Testament. Antarctica: Antarctic UP, 1957.Available in Deep Drifts, Antarctica. Starting at $1.29. (ending at $1.34)Gives information on rites, rituals, holidays, why African American Presidents should not speak at Notre Dame, why elderly men have proprietary rights to women’s wombs, why it is necessary to crusade agains Mulsims, based on the C.Christian Nut-Lousian reading.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    And as CCNL’s single brain cell struggles vainly for life, it asksWWHD?What Would Hiteler Do?

  • ukba

    Farnaz,“Be careful about throwing around the word “Jewish.” What goes round comes round, as you know.”“To use your language, you do not serve your cause making cause with Islamic Crusaders, Islamic racist loonies, etc. Feel better now? Fondly, Farnaz, Your Friend and Mortal Enemy”Gee, where did that come from? Take it easy, will you.The words you were referring to are not mine. It is part of Richard Silverstein on his blog We disagree on Daniel Pipes. He is a bigot no matter what you say and thank God for the people from CAIR who work diligently to shame all of those bigots, Islamphobes, and those Zionists like him.

  • Paganplace

    Speaking as a representative of a faith group that openly recognizes having Gods and Goddesses of war, I feel it’s a matter of public service to mention that it doesn’t *smell* as ‘glorious’ as it looks in your Left behind movies.

  • ThomasBaum

    As I have said before:Even tho there have been many thru the ages that have attempted to set up a “Christian theocracy” that is going against what Jesus so plainly and simply taught.However, what the god of islam revealed to Mohammed is to set up a theocracy on earth with expantionist tendencies, as in the whole planet.I would like to add that Judaism, at least ancient Judaism, was set up as a theocracy but as a “contained” theocracy.Whether people have eyes to see and/or ears to hear, it should be obvious what the goals of islam are, considering that they haven’t changed, just the methods.As it says in the bible, even the forces of evil are inadvertently working toward God’s Will and it is God’s Will that ALL BE SAVED.As I have also said before: God chosing and forming the Jews is part of God’s Plan, God becoming One of us in the person of Jesus is part of God’s Plan, God inviting us to be active participants in God’s Plan when Jesus extended the invitation to “Come follow Me” is part of God’s Plan.God has had His Plan since before creation and His Plan will come to Fruition.God’s Plan is for ALL to be with Him in His Kingdom, the new heavens and the new earth.I repeat: God wins, satan loses, a tie is unacceptable.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • CCNL

    Paganplace, Paganplace, Paganplace,Pause and think about who may or not be a Baha’ist on these threads.

  • walter-in-fallschurch

    this is a little bit like islamists using cell phones and the internet against us. islamic culture, detesting science as it does, cannot develop any new technology on their own. same with moral laws, they’ve developed nothing new in 1000 yrs, but they can use our developments against us.

  • ukba

    Farnaz,You are jewel to me and I consider you a good friend despite our political differences. I need to do some chores though while I watch some NBA. Take care.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Uqba,Hmmm…But even a jewel cannot compete for attention with the NBA.So it goes, jewel and basketball wise.Farnaz :)

  • shark2

    Is your brand of free speech fit to the definition of Cancer?Cancer is a class of diseases in which a group of cells display uncontrolled growth (division beyond the normal limits), invasion (intrusion on and destruction of adjacent tissues), and sometimes metastasis (spread to other locations in the body via lymph or blood).A river which flows within its banks is benificial for the living beings but the one which over flows freely brings destruction to the society.I dont want to discuss here hate and harm theories vs freedom of speech but just want to say that actions depends on intentions and when the intentions are malicious then dont hide them under the guise of freedom of speech.The authors of this article are known for their hate-mongering and need to be condemned. We dont recognise them as champions of free speech.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Shark2 writes:”I dont want to discuss here hate and harm theories vs freedom of speech but just want to say that actions depends on intentions and when the intentions are malicious then dont hide them under the guise of freedom of speech.”You don’t have to discuss “hate and harm theories” (sic), as your post is an instance of “hate” with intent to “harm.” Your “cancer[ous]” post is enabled by the First Amendment. Neither you nor CAIR will render it nugatory.

  • shark2

    Farnaz1Mansouri1 writes:You don’t have to discuss “hate and harm theories” (sic), as your post is an instance of “hate” with intent to “harm.” WOW!Wounds inflected by tounge are deeper than knife and hard to heal.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Shark2,Neither of these bloggers is a “hate monger.” If we are to judge by your three postings, you certainly are.But you are permitted by the First Amendment to spew, along with CAIR. Neither you nor CAIR will render the First Amendment nugatory.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Shark2,Not only is what you have written not “substantiated,” it is incoherent. It is also bigoted from your first sentence on.Nevertheless, your write to bigoted speech is protected by the First Amendment, which neither you nor CAIR will render nugatory.

  • shark2

    There are several hundred jewish organisations to protect vested intrests.Arabian Sex Tourismsee what is hate mongering and who is doing it and you are one of them too.

  • CCNL

    Again, after a recent review of the many global cults, one can isolate a few strange ones with respect to political activities.e.g.And what would the Baha’ist cult do about Islamist “lawfare”??Nothing as they are not permitted to be “political”.

  • shark2

    Even the US president is not spared by these hate mongers such as daniel pipes the boss of Brooke Goldstein and Aaron Eitan Meyer writes:It’s bad enough that family connections to Islam perceived as a liability when campaigning are suddenly exploited once in office to win Muslim goodwill. Worse, as Diana West observes: “not since Napoleon has a leader of a Western superpower made so unabashed a political pitch to the people of the Muslim world.”To sum up, while Obama’s retreat from democratization marks an unfortunate and major change in policy, his apologetic tone and apparent change in constituency present a yet more fundamental and worrisome direction.”

  • shark2

    Farnaz1Mansouri1There are several hundred jewish organisations to protect vested intrests.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Shark2,There are some curious omissions in your posting. For one, the story re-capped in “Arabian Sex Tourism,” was originally published in The Times of India.Speaking of sex, I did not see in your posting anything about the Iraqi boy and girl refugees prostituting themselves in Damascus to feed themselves and their families. There clients? Men from all over the Middle East.How do I know? A close Pakistani friend who saw it with his own eyes, since, frankly, I could not believe what I was reading on the Web. Btw., do you mean to say that Pipes doesn’t mention it?You lost me at Hello. When you write this sort of thing, “David pipes and his team certainly is a bunch of hate-mongers, jewish in nature” you lose me forever.Shall I reply by posting lists of hate mongers “muslim in nature”? If I started with antisemitic Muslim organizations, individuals, web sites, American alone, where would I end, and when?I do not think Daniel Pipes is a hate monger. I think he is a strategist, and a smart one. I don’t support everything he says and does.On the other hand, Shark2, where were American Muslim organizations, and they existed, when my family’s friend Ismael was killed, murdered, in front of me when I was a girl by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard? They were “taking him into custody.” His blood spattered on my clothes.Is what they did to that gentle man “muslim in nature”?And then you have a fellow traveler, CCNL, posting, he who hates the Bahai, along with Muslims.Do you want to tell us how the Bahai are doing these days in Iran? Is their persecution “muslim in nature”?Still, the First Amendment protects your right to freedom of speech. It even protects ccnl’s. The price we all have to pay….

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Shark2,Have you ever seen Daniel Pipes on Al-Jazeera? The last debate was quite interesting.Did you know he appears there? If not, you might want to check it out. Some of the transcripts are available at Aljazeera.

  • CCNL

    Hmmm, finding the Baha’ist cult as being strange is hardly hating them. Many find those that believe in Santa Clause as being strange but they do not hate children, the major element of Santa believers.

  • walter-in-fallschurch

    shark2,

  • shark2

    Farnaz1Mansouri1Daniel writes in one dozen papers and his only subject is Islam and muslim bashing.

  • walter-in-fallschurch

    farnaz,

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Shark2,Why not check out the Pipes debates on Aljazeera? Look at some of his books. I can’t say you will agree with him on many things, but I don’t think he is what you take him for.I don’t agree with everything he says and does, but I have read him on Islam, and he is not an free-wheeling, idiotic basher, in fact, respects moderate Islam, moderate everything. He is not Haredi, not an extremist.If I started posting every antisemitic Jew-hating Muslim site here, when would I end?And what if I started posting all the anti-Christians throughout Asia and Pakistan?And what if I started posting all the Christian anti-Muslim web sites?The Hindu anti-Muslim web sites?I think that Daniel Pipes might seem the epitome of reason….At least, check him out on Aljazeera before you reach final conclusions.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Hello Walter,I replied to your questions on Susan’s loongg thread!Farnaz

  • abhab

    Curtailing of free speech is an Islamic dogma just like Jihad. For the past 1428 years the Muslim clerics who have a vested interest in maintaining and spreading their faith had discouraged critical study of their religion by the laymen and monopolized the interpretation of their sacred texts. With the advent of the Information Revolution through satellite TV and the internet, those clerics can no longer block or filter information for those who wish to critically study their belief system. Now the Organization of Islamic Clerics appeal to the United Nations to censor the world in matters pertaining to the Muslim’s dogmas and tenants as well as the history of their prophet, under the juvenile pretense of “Respect for religions”. Since when had the Muslim been respectful of other religions and to their adherents? On the contrary, disrespect of other faiths and intolerance toward their adherents are defining features of that religion.

  • hsnkhwj

    Farnaz Mansouri wrote:”Speaking of sex, I did not see in your posting anything about the Iraqi boy and girl refugees prostituting themselves in Damascus to feed themselves and their families. There clients? Men from all over the Middle East…..”Did you watch the rise in domestic violencve in America on CBS Evening News?As for as lawfare is concerned, Daniel Pipes and his ilk should know better. This is America. If you try to stop the building of a mosque on legally authorized place or call those Muslims “terrorists” who want to build them, you WILL BE TAKEN TO A COURT OF LAW.That is the purpose of courts.

  • hsnkhwj

    Farnaz Mansouri wrote:”Speaking of sex, I did not see in your posting anything about the Iraqi boy and girl refugees prostituting themselves in Damascus to feed themselves and their families. There clients? Men from all over the Middle East…..”Did you watch the rise in domestic violencve in America on CBS Evening News?As for as lawfare is concerned, Daniel Pipes and his ilk should know better. This is America. If you try to stop the building of a mosque on legally authorized place or call those Muslims “terrorists” who want to build them, you WILL BE TAKEN TO A COURT OF LAW.That is the purpose of courts.

  • hsnkhwj

    SEEKING JUSTICE IN COURTS OF LAW IS (AND HAS ALWAYS BEEN) THE AMERICAN WAY.FOR TOO LONG AMERICAN MUSLIMS HAVE BEEN SUBJECTED TO INUENDOS, INTIMIDATIONS, AND MALIGNING BY A GROUP OF PEOPLE WHO ARE NOW COMPLAINING ABOUT LAW SUITS IN FORUMS LIKE THIS.IF YOU DON”T HARASS, LIBEL, OR INTIMIDATE MUSLIMS OR ANYBODY ELSE, YOU DON’T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT LAWSUITS. WHY DO YOU WANT TO SUPPRESS JUSTICE?

  • CCNL

    Just do not build a Sunni mosque in a Shiite neighborhood or vice versa anywhere in the USA or elsewhere.

  • Nosmanic

    hsnkhwjThe problem is some radical will (probably mis)interpret some part of the Koran as “women that show they’re hair will be raped” and piss people off. Then the zealot will say “your attacking my religion” it happens all the time.

  • hsnkhwj

    “The problem is some radical will (probably mis)interpret some part of the Koran as “women that show they’re hair will be raped” and piss people off. Then the zealot will say “your attacking my religion” it happens all the time.”Posted by: Nosmanic | May 21, 2009 2:11 AM+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++Do you know how to write? Your sentences are incoherent and I couldn’t figure out what you were saying.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    hsnkhwj,Re: Your postThis is a literate blog. Distorting, demonizing, and taking out of context don’t do it. If one is going to cherry pick, a “stupid” thing to do, to use your word, then you should consider the implications of what you “picked.” We are not talking about a few men. We are talking about the exploitation of thousands of children not by a “society,” but by men from all over the Middle East.Why is it that those nations with fabulous wealth are not reaching out to help those boys and girls? Where are YOU in this? You use these children to flame?Shame on you. Shame. Shame on this country for creating this problem. Shame on the child rapists. And shame, shame on you.

  • hsnkhwj

    “Shame on you. Shame. Shame on this country for creating this problem. Shame on the child rapists.And shame, shame on you.”Posted by: Farnaz1Mansouri1 | May 21, 2009 8:55 AM”*******************************************************Great! Now you took out the steam out of your chest!Evidently, you never heard of organized pedophile groups in America, Europe, Thailand, India and many other places. It does not mean all Americans, Europeans or Thais are pedophiles. Unfortunately, it is a big business.There is no excuse for deviant behavior no matter where it occurs and by who it occurs.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    hsnkhwj writes to Nosmanic:”Do you know how to write? Your sentences are incoherent and I couldn’t figure out what you were saying.”Kindly read, think, and reflect before posting again.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    hsnkhwj”Evidently, you never heard of organized pedophile groups in America, Europe, Thailand, India and many other places. It does not mean all Americans, Europeans or Thais are pedophiles. Unfortunately, it is a big business.”The point is not that there aren’t pedophiles everywhere. Pedophilia is also not uncommon in the Middle East, where I was born.That is not the point. (Duh)We are speaking of one horrific phenomenon, easily ended by the wealthy nations, such as Qatar, Kuwati, the Emirates, even Saudi Arabia, which, instead, chooses to rape these hapless children.THERE is NO EXCUSE, NO JUSTIFICATION, NO LESSONING OF THIS SINGULAR and NAUSEATING SITUATION by any RHETORICAL FEEL-GOOD OR FEEL-BADISM.Recommendation: Read and reflect before posting again. You have no argument, and you are not making yourself look good.

  • hsnkhwj

    “Recommendation: Read and reflect before posting again. You have no argument, and you are not making yourself look good.”Posted by: Farnaz1Mansouri1 | May 21, 2009 9:52 AM+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++You remind me of your rhetorical skirmishes with CCNL.You are so superficial.

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    hsnkhwj:You remind me of nothing, happily. I suspect you are incapable of the thinking and reflecting I asked of you. If and when I see evidence of it, I will reply.For now, be aware, that flaming, childish name-calling, etc., do not make an argument. That you should choose to build yours on the exploited, prositituted refugee children who have fled from Iraq does not speak well for you.If I were you, I’d give it a rest for now. Perhaps, you are not yourself.

  • info58

    This sounds more like an analysis of the political left in this country. Fortunately, the influx of Muslims into the US will spawn a war between the left and Muslims, who are the alligator at the beginning of the line these yellow libs are trying not to get eaten by. I see a future alliance between Christians and Muslims defending their mutual rights in the US to denounce homos and hate crimes. I see the libs conflicted, wanting to lash out but being terribly afraid, becuase unlike thier Christian victims, the left will be the target of a Fatwah. The Muslims will eat the left alive. They’re not feminists. They’re not homo loving like my Episcopalians. They will take our pluralist ideals and shove them up the arses of the left – in militant form.I really don’t want this, but the left has weakened society so much its inevitable.

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