PHILADELPHIA - The Legal Project of the Middle East Forum announces its support of Robert Spencer and the Young America's Foundation (YAF), the latest victims of what appears to be a targeted intimidation and defamation campaign by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) designed to silence critics of its organization.
Spencer, a well-respected author and the director of www.jihadwatch.org, spoke today for YAF on "The Truth about CAIR" on the campus of George Washington University. As a consequence of this invitation, YAF's president Ron Robinson received a threatening and possibly defamatory letter written by CAIR's acting attorney, Joseph E. Sandler, of the law firm Sandler, Reiff & Young, P.C.
Sandler's letter (available in pdf format here) accuses Mr. Spencer, without offering any factual support, of being a "well-known purveyor of hatred and bigotry against Muslims," with "a history of false and defamatory statements." Sandler goes on to "demand that YAF cancel the subject session or else take steps to ensure that false and defamatory statements are not disseminated," and states an intention to pursue a "legal remedy" against YAF, should CAIR deem statements made by Spencer at the session "false and defamatory."
CAIR's letter appears to be aimed at maliciously harming Spencer's reputation, interfering in his lawful employment, and aimed to discourage both Spencer and YAF from exercising their fundamental rights to free speech and assembly. Furthermore, the letter wrongfully implies that YAF has an independent duty to censor Spencer, and that it may be subject to suit for allowing Spencer to speak on private property. It is our opinion that CAIR's pre-emptive accusations are without merit, without any legal basis, and that CAIR has yet to prove any of its statements as true.
Therefore, the Legal Project hereby gives CAIR and its attorneys notice that it, too, will pursue "every available and appropriate legal remedy to redress any false or defamatory statements that are made" or have been made by CAIR and its attorneys against Spencer. We advise CAIR's staff to govern themselves accordingly.
The Legal Project, established by the Middle East Forum in June 2007, is dedicated to safeguarding the democratic liberties afforded by the Constitution to U.S. citizens, namely the rights to free speech and free assembly. The Legal Project protects researchers and analysts working on the topics of terrorism, terrorist funding, Islam, and Islamism against those who seek to silence them through intimidation, defamation, and predatory lawsuits.
For more information: John Matthies, (215) 546-5406, ext. 16, or Matthies@MEForum.org