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A Welcome Victory for Freedom of Expression and Thought
Today brings the welcome news that the Islamic Society of Boston has folded its cards in the middle of the discovery process, and dropped its defamation lawsuit against Steve Emerson's Investigative Project and several Boston-area news organizations.

Like CAIR and other groups before it who have brought law suits primarily aimed at silencing their critics through legal intimidation, the ISB found that, unlike Saudi Arabia and other Wahhabist/Salafist societies, there are still some principles underlying U.S. law that make bullying more difficult, whether the name of Allah is invoked or not.

It is an expensive proposition to defend oneself against the harassment lawsuits of the Islamists, and they have clearly figured that out. The threat of lawsuits, or real lawsuits that are frivolous in nature but costly to defend against, have become one of the new, favorite weapons of these groups.

Unfortunately, there is some effect. People get tired of the cost and the hassle and simply shut up.

Not so this time, where the IP and media outlets launched an aggressive and ultimately completely successful counterattack. The Islamist groups are used to bullying their way into the political dialogue, corridors of power and the media. They don't like push back. Every time it has come the groups have walked away because to proceed their true ties would be placed under public scrutiny, not something any of those groups want.

If history in these cases is any guide, the possible financial ties of the ISB and the mosque to individuals in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in the Gulf were not something they wanted disclosed in open court or entering the public record.

The root of the suit, filed in 2005, was the IP and media coverage of the building of the largest mosque on the East Coast by the ISB. Turns out the investigations turned up some interesting relationships to convicted terrorist financiers, hate-spouters and other such types to the ISB and the proposed mosque.

The ISB sued for defamation when the information became public. They will get not one penny or a retraction from anyone.

Maybe the ISB did not like to be reminded that convicted al Qaeda and Hamas financier Aburahman Alamoudi was a founder. Maybe they had a hard time with the promotional video Sheikh Youseff al Qaradawi, the Muslim Brotherhood's chief theologian and justifier of suicide bombings, made on behalf of the ISB mosque. Or maybe that he appeared on the organization's list of directors. (A clerical mistake, according to ISB).

Maybe they didn't like having to turn over financial records that could show extensive financial gifts from the Arab Peninsula while claiming to be largely funded by the Islamic community in the United States.

In the end, it doesn't matter. What matters is that the frivolous attempt at intimidation did not succeed.

"The ISB's abandonment of all of its claims against citizens and against journalists for not one dollar speaks volumes about the validity of the concerns expressed by the citizens and the accuracy of the articles published about the ISB,"
said Jeffrey Robbins , a lawyer for The David Project, one of the defendants.

Boston Herald Publisher Patrick J. Purcell issued a statement saying the newspaper's coverage was "detailed, well-researched, quality journalism."

"The First Amendment protects the rights of journalists to gather and disseminate news and today's dismissal of the lawsuits brought by the Islamic Society of Boston and others reinforces our conviction that we must stand fast against any erosion of the inherent right to report on important issues," Purcell said in the statement.
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