By NewsBusters.org | by Matthew Vadum
Monday, November 26th, 2007 @ 6:28AM
Supporters of Islamic totalitarianism are using courts to silence their critics and advance their agendas as the American mainstream media barely take notice. Take the case of Sheikh Khalid bin Mahfouz , the billionaire alleged funder of terrorism, and his dogged critic, Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld . Their story has been chronicled here  by the Moving Picture Institute . (Newsbusters’ Pam Meister wrote about the sheikh’s virtual book burning activities this summer . The sheikh defends himself at his own website .) The litigious bin Mahfouz, a Saudi citizen, manufactured his own cause of action and then sued Ehrenfeld, a criminologist who wrote a book on terrorism financing, for libel in a British court, and –astonishingly— won.
According to Ehrenfeld, a citizen of the United States, bin Mahfouz is “not a key figure in the book.” Ehrenfeld does not reside in the United Kingdom, is not a U.K. citizen, and did not offer her book, Funding Evil: How Terrorism is Financed—and How to Stop It , for sale in Britain. She says bin Mahfouz gamed the legal system, arranging for 23 copies of her book to be imported into the U.K. in order to give that country’s courts jurisdiction. She did not defend the action, explaining that she refused to recognize  the jurisdiction of a British court over her freedom of speech. In 2005 bin Mahfouz won a default judgment and the court ordered Ehrenfeld to pay 30,000 British pounds, publish an apology, and keep her books out of the U.K. It should be noted that the British have very strange ideas about defamation. In the topsy-turvy world of British libel law, it is assumed that the statements alleged to have harmed the plaintiff’s reputation are false, which places the burden of proof squarely on the defendant.
To digress for just a moment, the prospect of bringing such a legal regime to the U.S. would undoubtedly stimulate the salivary glands of members of the ambulance-chasing set also known as the American Trial Lawyers Association  (a group that in a deft public relations move renamed itself the more respectable-sounding “American Association for Justice”). As law professor Richard N. Winfield explains , fans of Islamic radicalism have discovered the loose libel laws of Jolly Olde England, which had led to the so-called “Arab Effect,” a term that describes “the surge of libel suits brought in recent years in English courts by wealthy Arab plaintiffs…[but] More important[ly], it describes the impact of these suits on the law and on coverage of the war on terrorism.” Winfield continues: “Despite negligible ties to England, and in some cases, despite minuscule publication of the offending coverage in England, the Arab plaintiffs found jurisdictional homes in the open arms of the English courts. And once jurisdiction was firmly established, the Arab plaintiffs exploited every advantage offered by England’s notoriously plaintiff-friendly libel laws.” Clearly, bin Mahfouz is contributing to the “Arab Effect.”
He has “filed more than thirty-six lawsuits in London against various media and publishers, many of them American,” says Ehrenfeld. The publisher of American journalist Craig Unger was intimidated into not publishing his best-selling book House of Bush, House of Saud: The Secret Relationship Between the World’s Two Most Powerful Dynasties , in Britain. The publisher refused to publish the book in that green and pleasant land out of fear of being sued. Stateside, Ehrenfeld is fighting back. She is suing bin Mahfouz in the U..S. court system and hopes to establish a precedent that would block foreign courts from exercising authority over American authors. That Islamofascists have discovered the importance of legal forum isn’t all that shocking. Islamists and other enemies of Western civilization have been using the U.S. court system for years, with the enthusiastic complicity of useful idiot lawyers such as those at Greenwich Village’s Center for Constitutional Rights .
Meanwhile, the U.S. media have said next to nil about Ehrenfeld’s plight. A three-month Nexis search for mentions of “Rachel Ehrenfeld” yields only a handful of hits, among them: a 696-word AP article (Nov. 15 ), a 478-word item in The Economist (Nov. 8 ), a 715-word op-ed by two professors in the New York Times (Oct. 11 ), a 1,606-word New York Times book review focusing on bin Mahfouz’s adventures (Oct. 7 ), and a 721-word op-ed in the Washington Times (Oct. 19 ). Given that the U.S. is fighting two wars against Islamism overseas, you’d think a courageous author’s struggle to uncover the truth about who is funding terrorist groups might merit a bit more attention from our press.