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Posted in: Islamic Gender & Religious Apartheid, Culture Wars & Censorship

Published on Nov 16, 2007 by Phyllis Chesler

Written for Pajamas Media

The Case of the Closeted Saudi Sheikh

His Relentless Campaign to Silence Free Speech in the West, and The Case that May Finally Bring His Libel Tourism to an End


Yesterday, the indomitable Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld had her day in court. This time, the New York State Court of Appeals heard her case. Ehrenfeld was sued by the ever-litigious billionaire, Sheikh Khalid Bin Mahfouz, who sued her in London for writing a book (Funding Evil) which was published in America where Ehrenfeld, an Israeli-American citizen, resides.

Ehrenfeld chose not to appear in the London courtroom and Mahfouz won a default judgment. Instead, she counter-sued Mahfouz here. Ehrenfeld is arguing that New York should have jurisdiction to decide whether such a judgment is enforceable in New York State where, after all, authors enjoy a First Amendment right to publish their views.

Ehrenfeld is doing the heavy lifting for us all. She is doing so on her own. A new, brief video about her important First Amendment/Libel case has just been released in both English and Arabic. PRESS HERE TO VIEW IT.

Indeed, western publishers are increasingly reluctant to publish work, however well documented or timely, if it exposes the Islamist funding of terrorism and the influence of the Saudi and Palestinian Lobbies. Publishers fear that they will be sued or bombed or that they, too, may have to pulp an already published book as Cambridge University Press has recently done to the book Alms for Jihad.

Thus, Free speech and academic freedom are indeed under siege in the West–not because of western government censorship but because Islamists like Sheikh Khalid Bin Mahfouz either sue authors and publishers or influence intellectual points of view by funding academic Institutes, organizations, and conferences.

In an era where fatwas have been issued against those who have exited and/or who criticize fundamentalist Islam (Salman Rushdie, Taslima Nasrin, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Flemming Rose, Lars Viks all immediately come to mind), an era in which countless authors and news media have written letters of apology to bin Mahfouz in order to avoid costly lawsuits, author Rachel Ehrenfeld's principled stand is highly commendable.

My most recent work about Islamic religious and gender Apartheid (The Death of Feminism), has, for the first time, been unable to find a European publisher, including one in the UK–no matter that my publisher, based in both London and New York, submitted the manuscript to a grueling and careful review by a prominent First Amendment lawyer.

My circumstance is far from unique. I have written an Introduction to a cutting edge book by Dr. Nancy Kobrin, which explores the psycho-analytic roots of Islamic suicide terrorism. At the last moment, Dr. Kobrin's American publisher backed out of the contract; they said that they could not afford to pay to protect their employees.

All people who care about freedom of thought and speech will either have to pay the high price such liberties exact or be prepared to lose them.

Yes, in case you were wondering: The video makes the rather sensational claim that Mahfouz has moved his young male lover into an exclusive mansion in Mayfair. He can do so in London; regrettably, if this is true, his life would be endangered in Saudi Arabia.


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