Tuesday, November 23, 2004

CAIR threatens critics

David Frum reports on CAIR's attempt to silence its critics by threatening to sue for libel:
Two weeks ago, the National Post and I were served with a notice of libel by the Canadian branch of the Council on American Islamic Relations, or CAIR. The Post and I are not alone. Over the past year, CAIR's Canadian and U.S. branches have served similar libel notices on half a dozen other individuals and organizations in the United States and Canada. Each case has its own particular facts, yet they are linked by a common theme: That we defendants have accused CAIR (in the words of the notice served on me) of being "an unscrupulous, Islamist, extremist sympathetic group in Canada supporting terrorism."

Lawyers for individuals and newspapers served with libel notices will normally urge their clients to avoid any comment on the matter--to avoid even any acknowledgement that they have been served. This is usually good advice. A notice of libel is not a lawsuit, but a warning of a lawsuit to come. If the potential defendant keeps quiet, the potential plaintiff will often drop the suit altogether.

But wise legal advice often comes at a cost, a cost in public information. So I was heartened that the National Post's lawyers have encouraged the paper and me to continue with this important story.

He details a long list of facts about CAIR's history and its leadership.
These are the facts behind the commentary that the National Post and I have published. They are facts that the Canadian public and Canadian officials are entitled to know. The National Post and I are confident that Canada's courts will agree that no proper interest would be served by suppressing them.

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