Ahmed Rehab and CAIR won their battle against free speech, but seven Islamic organizations in Texas were not successful in theirs. Nonetheless, one thing of which we can be certain is that they will not give up in their attempts to compel American non-Muslims to conform to Sharia norms prohibiting “insults” to Muhammad and Islam — and of course, to point out how Islamic jihadists use Muhammad and Islam to justify violence and Islamic supremacism is a supreme insult. If Joe Kaufman had been a Muslim and was saying the same things about Islam and jihad that he did say, but with a positive instead of a negative spin, it is likely that the same groups that tried to silence him would have been standing up for his rights.
“Islamic Groups Lose Appeal To Silence Journalist,” by John P. Connolly for The Bulletin, July 21:
Seven Islamic organizations lost an appeal of a free speech ruling in the Texas Second Court of Appeals late last week, as the court upheld the rights of an internet journalist that pointed out ties of some American Islamic groups to terrorist groups.
Joe Kaufman was sued for libel by the Islamic Society of Arlington, Texas, Islamic Center of Irving, DFW Islamic Educational Center, Inc., Dar Elsalam Islamic Center, Al Hedayah Islamic Center, Islamic Association of Tarrant County, and Muslim American Society of Dallas. At issue was Mr. Kaufman’s September 28, 2007 article in which he covered the ties of the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) and the Islamic Association of Northern Texas (IANT) to the radical terrorist group Hamas. Neither ICNA nor IANT were plaintiffs in the suit. None of the seven plaintiffs were mentioned in the article.
The court issued a two page opinion upholding the dismissal of the libel suit, and upholding his rights as a journalist to appeal the lower court’s denial of his motion to dismiss the libel claim before a time-consuming and expensive trial. Usually, a defendant is required to wait until after a trial to appeal an unfavorable court ruling.
“It is gratifying to see our client’s First Amendment rights being upheld by this entire Texas Appeals Court,” said Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Law Center, which provided Mr. Kaufman’s lead attorney at no charge. “We do not yet know if these Islamic groups will try another appeal to the Texas Supreme Court, but this ruling is an indication of how strong this First Amendment case is.”
Thomas More Law Center attorney Brandon Bolling was assisted by Texas attorney Thomas S. Brandon, Jr. who acted as local counsel, and Los Angeles attorneys William Becker, Jr. and Manuel S. Klausner.