Islamist groups file lawsuit in an attempt to silence Joe Kaufman
October 28, 2007
Islamic groups sue man, seek libel damages
By MITCH MITCHELL
Star-Telegram staff writerKaufman
ARLINGTON -- Islamic organizations in North Texas are seeking libel damages in a lawsuit against Joe Kaufman, leader of the Florida-based Americans Against Hate.
Kaufman visited Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington on Oct. 14 to lead a protest against Muslim Family Day, an event celebrating the end of Ramadan, a period of holy days on the Islamic calendar marked by fasts and prayer.
The lawsuit, filed Oct. 12, asked a judge to prohibit Kaufman from threatening, harming or inciting violence against anyone associated with the outing, in addition to libel damages, according to court records.
Area Islamic organizations were granted the temporary restraining order against Kaufman. They have also asked a judge to make a determination of libel against Kaufman. The organizations charge that Kaufman's Web site was used to paint all Muslims participating in Muslim Family Day as radical fanatics who used the event to spread anti-American hatred.
"He has scrawled JIHAD (in red that appears to be dripping in blood) over a map of the state of Texas, centered of Arlington and Six Flags," and placed it on the Americans Against Hate Web site, according to the lawsuit.
A hearing in the case has been set for Monday, a court official said. Whether Kaufman will appear at the hearing is unclear. Kaufman said he and his attorneys will decide whether his appearance is necessary.
"I'm going to fight this thing," Kaufman said in a telephone interview Thursday. "This whole case against me was filed to stop my freedom of speech and freedom of assembly rights."
Kaufman asserts that the group that sponsored Muslim Family Day, the Islamic Circle of North America, supports terrorist organizations overseas. Seven North Texas Islamic organizations are named as parties bringing the lawsuit, but the Islamic Circle of North America is not one of them.