The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Geller, Opposing Lawyer Claim Victory in Defamation Suit

By Robert Steinback on September 23, 2011 - 2:43 pm, Posted in Anti-Muslim

Omar Tarazi, the Ohio lawyer who sued anti-Muslim activist Pamela Geller a year ago for alleging he had links to terrorist organizations, withdrew his lawsuit this week in exchange for Geller taking down five blog posts containing her allegations against Tarazi. The settlement did not include any monetary damages.

Tarazi is the lawyer who represented the parents of Rifqa Bary, the 17-year-old Columbus, Ohio, girl who fled her Muslim parents in 2009 claiming fear of an “honor killing” by her father because she converted to Christianity. Her parents adamantly denied ever threatening their daughter. Geller plunged into the case on the girl’s side (“Rifqa Bary: Teenage Apostate in America,” Geller called her), and attacked Tarazi in the process. While Geller and numerous Christian activists rallied to Bary’s side, opposing critics accused them of exploiting, or even brainwashing, the teenager.

Both Geller and Tarazi hailed the closing of the case as a great victory. In a press release, Geller said, “This is a huge victory for the First Amendment, truth and the anti-Sharia movement in this country, which is exposing an insidious cancer that brings progressives and Islamic supremacists together in common cause to attack anyone who criticizes Islamic supremacism with the threat of lawsuits, actual lawsuits, or even worse, violence.” The day before, Geller’s chirped on her Atlas Shrugs blog, “Litigation jihad utterly defeated.”  She added that Tarazi “suffers stunning loss.”

On his own blog, Tarazi wrote, “Pamela Geller finally caved in and agreed to permanently take down all of her defamatory posts regarding me to settle the lawsuit. This case for me was never about money, it was about standing up for myself. If she had only been willing to take down her defamatory posts regarding me a year ago, she would not have wasted thousands of dollars in litigation costs fighting me. I am very confident that I would have won the case in the end. The facts were on my side no matter how Pamela Geller tried to twist them.”

So who really won?

That’s a bit like asking whether the sun rises behind the mountain or sets behind it – it all depends on which side of it you’re standing. By forcing Geller to back down – something she absolutely loathes having to do – Tarazi certainly can lay claim to a victory. He was, however, the one who asked for the settlement, agreed to have it settled with prejudice – meaning he can’t legally bring up the matter again – and, according to David Yerushalmi, Geller’s lawyer, was rebuffed by her refusal to keep the terms of the settlement private. Geller’s bloviated claim of having achieved some great First Amendment victory against “litigation jihad” is rather vacuous, considering she had to withdraw her post. Also, both Geller and Yerushalmi have threatened others with defamation lawsuits of their own.

Tarazi also sued Rifqa Bary’s attorney, John Stemberger for defamation. That suit was settled in August, with the parties agreeing to keep the terms private.

A court ultimately ordered Rifqa Bary to return to Ohio, but allowed her to stay in foster care. She turned 18 without having reconciled with her parents.

  • Shadow Wolf

    Okay..OK Ruslan! You made your point. Thanks for the clarification.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    One killing? That’s all? That is also not specifically what an honor killing is, You see in places with feudal type relations, where dowries are involved, a family arranges a marriage and they expect to get some decent money for their daughter. According to Islam, this is actually forbidden; a husband is to give a gift to the wife herself, not her family. But in the reality of places with such relations(for example Eastern Turkey), it doesn’t work that way. Obviously the parents want to choose a husband whose family can offer a healthy sum. If a woman does not marry that man, they lose out. That is the main reason for honor killings. The same practice occurs among non-Muslim peoples, and has even occurred among Christians in various places, such as Albania prior to the Communist revolution.

  • Shadow Wolf

    Not quite “non-existent” according to this most recent case of “honor killings”:

    http://articles.cnn.com/2009-1.....s=PM:CRIME

    An Iraqi father runs down his daughter and her friend here in AZ. Because according to him, they have become–”too westernized”.

  • CM

    Bottom line: Taking the offending posts off her blog is at least a tacit admission by Geller that she had made accusations she could not back up with real evidence. I wonder how many more of her outrageous claims she would have to drop if she were somehow forced to provide proof.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Honor killings in the US, by any religion, are rare enough to be called non-existent. The US doesn’t have feudal relations and blood codes…yet.

  • Shadow Wolf

    Damn, I really typed up my first post way too fast, hence the typos. Mr. Armirkhanov, you’re probably right. Both religions are oppressive at one point or another. This is why I belong to neither religion. Then again, “Honor Killings” by Christians in the U.S. is rarely or virtually unheard of. Instead, they are generally interpreted as murders, sometimes in the first degree. If the husband commits a murder on his significant other. But it does not mean its an “Honor Killing”. Its murder.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Honor killings have nothing to do with Sharia, nor are they exclusive to Islam. They have existed among Christian societies as well. Honor killings are tied to feudal relations and particularly relations in places were there isn’t a strong state or rule-of-law.

  • Shadow Wolf

    Well, in any case, I wish Rifga Bary good luck on her new path into adulthood, and the responsibilities that come with it. Sharia law is brutal beyond belief, where “honor killings” of a blood relative(female siblings) is permitted in such households, that follows these savage laws. Bary does not deserve to die regardless of what she believes in. I think she should follow her heart and lead a productive life, without worrying what her father will do to her. Because in this country, she has right. And that’s what living in a country with Democracy is all about.