Politics

Lawfare: Bleeping with the Enemy

Piracy used to be a one way ticket to the gallows. With the Royal Navy these days, it may be a one way ticket to the pirates’ port of choice; or worse for the people of Britain, the chance for freebooters to claim asylum in the UK.

Last month, Britain’s Foreign Office instructed the Royal Navy not to return pirates to jurisdictions sporting Islamic law for fear that their human rights might be violated. It has even been discouraged from capturing pirates, because they might demand asylum in Britain, a request with which the UK might have to comply under international human rights law.

It isn’t that bad in the U.S. — yet — but things are getting worse. Welcome to the brave new world of “lawfare,“ the soft jihad that uses international organizations and treaties, but especially the courts, in an effort to undermine the ability of the West to fight Islamofascism; directly by making military action and law enforcement more difficult, and indirectly by suppressing free discussion of ideas that are crucial to understanding and confronting the Islamist threat.

The Organization of the Islamic Conference, for instance, has recently called on the United Nations to help stifle criticism of Islam and has announced it will be stepping up legal efforts to deter what it terms the “defamation” of Islam, i.e., discussion of the Koran, Islamic law, and the roots and nature of jihad.

Particularly active domestically is the Council on American Islamic Relations. CAIR is, to say the least, controversial. It has been named as an unindicted co-conspirator in a federal criminal case involving the Holy Land Foundation “charity,” a Hamas front; a number of its founders had connections to terrorist organizations; and at least three of its employees have been convicted for terrorism-related activity.

CAIR claims to be merely an advocacy organization for Muslims. And Hannibal Lecter is a meat-eater. Twice true. But of more interest and relevance is that both are predators, with CAIR using threats and intimidation, as well as the legal process, to undermine law enforcement and whitewash the Islamists’ true vocation.

Especially with shadowy backers, CAIR knows the power of strong arm legal jihad.

Last August, CAIR attempted to prevent Jihad Watch’s Robert Spencer from speaking at a YAF student conference by sending a lawyer’s letter threatening to sue organizers. Their claims were baseless; their tone menacing; their purpose merely to bully.

The same MO was employed last year in response to a NYPD report on Muslim radicalization. CAIR organized opposition to the report, insisted that it not be shared with other law enforcement agencies before its “misconceptions and errors” were corrected and demanded to know follow-up policing policies.

When it’s handy, CAIR pursues its goals with charges of discrimination and ethnic intolerance, couched in the rhetoric of civil rights and human decency toward which Americans are instinctively deferential. When that doesn’t work, it lays siege to individuals and organizations by creating a sense of legal or other danger and by using smears that make those favoring the quiet life think twice before speaking or acting.

In fact, none of CAIR’s charges of defamation has been successfully pursued to conclusion. It has lost or backed down in cases involving, among others, Congressman Cass Ballenger, who called the organization “the fundraising arm for Hezbollah”; Canada’s National Post; and the “Anti-CAIR.net.org” website.

CAIR was also behind the attempt of the “Flying Imams” to intimidate – by a law suit — those who would report suspicious behavior, and its website invites complaints about alleged discrimination by airlines as well as law enforcement personnel.

An organization that often protests its concern for the safety of Americans has assailed lengthy naturalization proceedings and encouraged lawsuits. In 2006 it joined a lawsuit to curtail the National Security Agency’s electronic intercepts of terrorist suspects’ communications. And it has provided the FBI and other law enforcement agencies, as well as airports, with what can only be a tendentious “sensitivity training” that undoubtedly compromises their work.

But CAIR isn’t alone making use of lawfare’s bespoke subversion.

In Canada, writer Mark Steyn has been summoned to appear before two “human rights commissions” on charges of “Islamophobia” and encouraging “hatred and contempt” for Muslims, following publication in Macleans magazine of an excerpt from his book, “America Alone.” The action was instigated by the Canadian Islamic Congress pursuant to European-style “hate laws” that prohibit the general kind of speech that would be protected in the U.S.

In Britain, absurdly strict libel laws allow forum shoppers to force books from shelves around the world. Cambridge University Press, for example, was sued for publishing a book connecting a wealthy Saudi, Khalid bin Mahfouz, with “charitable” organizations supporting jihad. Even while the book was published in Britain, a court ordered it removed from print and every last copy pulped — wherever found.

Fortunately, those who courageously refuse to buckle increasingly have access to legal assistance provided by organizations like The Middle East Forum. In New York State, the “Libel Terrorism Protection Act” has been introduced to protect authors from meritless libel suits filed by plaintiffs taking advantage of foreign jurisdictions.

Still, many are deterred from exercising their First Amendment rights. They don’t want to get involved. The dread, the unknowns, and the mud.

A chill descends. The virus of dhimmitude infects non-Muslim countries. A healthy understanding of Islamofascism, sharia and jihad is replaced by ignorance or the Islamofascist line of a benign Islam and sharia, and skepticism about the terrorist threat — as it has in Europe and Britain.

In the U.S. lawyers haven’t yet forced our Navy to coddle pirates. A sense of reality remains that is not always shared by our European brothers and sisters.

But organizations like CAIR are increasingly using lawfare to pursue an agenda that stifles necessary analysis and discussion or otherwise compromises national security. The mischief continues, and the potential in our litigious society to advance Islamofascism through legal jihad is ultimately even greater than it is in Europe.

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