Stop the Madrassa has filed a lawsuit for defamation per se in Kings County Supreme Court against Dhabah (aka Debbie) Almontaser based upon her statements to the press. (See New YorkTimes web log at http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/10/16/principal-of-citys-arabic-school-says-she-was-forced-out/.)
Stop The Madrassa's lawyer demanded on more than one occasion, the first time five months ago, that Almontaser "cease and desist" her defaming the members of Stop The Madrassa by accusing them of stalking her and of verbally accosting her with anti-Muslim hate speech, serious crimes in the State of New York.
With the recent release of a New York Times article "Principal of Arabic School Says She Was Forced Out," these defamatory remarks by Almontaser take on even greater visibility in that they are being re-published every day at the New York Times web-log and other Internet sites. Almontaser has left Stop The Madrassa members nowhere to turn but to New York Supreme Court in its attempt to undo the enormous damage her false charges of criminal behavior have caused.
Sara Springer, President of Stop The Madrassa Coalition, made it clear that "neither Stop The Madrassa nor any of its members have ever stalked Almontaser or even attempted to track her whereabouts."
Ms. Springer added, "Stop The Madarassa's interest was in getting basic information about the Khalil Gibran International Academy – information that the Department of Education was required by law to provide but refused. Any mention of Almontaser was based upon the fact that she was the one who planned and organized the school, created a religious advisory board of radical Imams and called for Shariah-compliant Halal food."
Stop The Madrassa Coalition members, Sara Springer, Irene Alter and Pamela Hall, have also explained they "have lived in abject fear that these allegations of criminal behavior could result in some prosecutor deciding to pursue the matter criminally."
The Stop The Madrassa complaint emphasizes that Almontaser has pursued these defamatory lies even in federal court by repeating them in the lawsuit she filed in the Southern District of New York against the Department of Education alleging she was illegally fired.
The Stop The Madrassa defamation lawsuit seeks compensatory and punitive damages plus legal fees and costs.
In a related matter, Stop The Madrassa Coalition's FOIL lawsuit against the Department of Education concluded with the court issuing an order demanding the Department of Education provide all the documents requested by the Coalition. The court's decision on the award of attorneys' fees and costs is pending.
According to Stop The Madrassa, even with the court order, the Department of Education has failed to turn over essential documents as required by statute.