Sanctions Sought Against ‘Clock Boy’ for ‘Islamist Lawfare’ Defamation Claims

Attorneys with the American Freedom Law Center (AFLC) filed a motion requesting the court dismiss the Center for Security Policy (CSP) and Jim Hanson from a defamation lawsuit filed by Mohamed Mohamed, father of Ahmed Mohamed, the teen better known as “Clock Boy.”

The Motion to Dismiss Pursuant to the Texas Citizens’ Participation Act also seeks that the court will sanction Clock Boy’s father, the Plaintiff in the defamation lawsuit, “in an amount sufficient to deter the filing of similar suits in the future,” according to the document. AFLC also asks the court to reimburse their legal fees.

Jim Hanson, a CSP senior vice president, former member of the U.S. Army Special Forces, and counter-terrorism expert was one of the defendants named in a defamation lawsuit Mr. Mohamed filed individually and on behalf of his son, against media companies and personalities including The Blaze, Glenn Beck, Fox Television Stations, LLC, Texas resident Ben Ferguson, Ben Shapiro, and City of Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne. Mohamed seeks general and special damages.

According to AFLC, Hanson noted during an appearance on Glenn Beck’s show that Clock Boy’s father orchestrated an intense media campaign with the local chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which the U.S. government has formally linked to the Muslim Brotherhood and to the designated terrorist organization Hamas in several formal court filings in federal terrorism cases. Hanson also indicated the entire affair had the look and feel of a typical “influence operation,” the standard operating procedure of what the Muslim Brotherhood calls its ‘civilization jihad’ against the West.”

AFLC co-founder and senior counsel David Yerushalmi explained the type of lawsuit against his clients is called a Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPP), which intends to censor, intimidate, and silence critics by saddling them with the cost of a legal defense until they surrender their criticism or opposition.

The motion states the 2011 Texas Citizens Participation Act (TCPA) intends to protect citizens “from retaliatory lawsuits that seek to intimidate or silence them on matters of public concern.”

TCPA affords Texans targeted with a SLAPP to file a motion to dismiss a lawsuit. In a press release, Yerushalmi stated: “Islamists use the progressive mainstream media to label any public criticism of a sharia-centric, jihad driven Islam as ‘Islamophobic’ and they add fear and financial ruin to the equation by utilizing the legal system to file SLAPP actions.”

Yerushalmi likened this type of legal battle to “lawfare.” He said: “This lawsuit by Clock Boy’s father is yet another example of Islamist lawfare, which is a component of the Muslim Brotherhood’s civilization jihad.”

“AFLC was formed in large measure to take on Islamists like CAIR who use and abuse the legal system with their cynical form of lawfare to undermine our constitutional liberties — notably free speech. We have confronted these lawsuits across the country in federal and state courts and have defeated CAIR and its minions at every turn. When appropriate, we have won sanctions. This lawsuit will be no different,” added AFLC’s other co-founder and senior counsel Robert Muise.

The motion maintained Mohamed and his son became “all-purpose public figures” following Ahmed’s arrest last year, a status that has continued to the present day” because “Ahmed and his family voluntarily pursued publicity…” and then sought to “silence” others on a “matter of public concern.”

On September 14, 2015, high school freshman Ahmed Mohamed brought to class a homemade digital clock-in-a-box that resembled a “hoax bomb.” Irving school district administrators and police initially detained him but no charges were ever filed once the situation sorted itself out. He served three days of suspension. His family then withdrew him from school.

Two days after Ahmed Mohamed’s arrest, CAIR Dallas Director Alia Salem spoke to news media asserting the teen was targeted based on religious and racial identity. She hosted a press conference on the Mohamed family’s Irving residence’s front lawn, with the traumatized Ahmed. She introduced her “civil rights advocacy group” as “helping to get Ahmed’s story out.” Constitutional Law Center for Muslims in America lawyer Linda Moreno, spoke to the media on his behalf, although before month’s end denied she represented the boy or his family. Yahoo News reported that Ahmed’s father Mohamed Mohamed served pizza to news media.

In the ensuing months, Ahmed Mohamed and his father remained in the public eye. CNN promoted a fundraiser for him. TIME named him one of 2015’s top 30 most influential teens. He visited Google. He met Turkey’s Islamist Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and Sudan’s Islamic genocidal leader Bashir. The Saudi government funded his Mecca pilgrimage and tour of Education City, a gift from the Qatar Foundation, and he met President Obama. Ahmed tweeted his every move. News crews met him when vacationing in Irving this summer. Even his father spoke to the press.

Last year, the family demanded $15 million – $10 million from the City of Irving and $5 from the Irving Independent School District through a different set of lawyers. In August 2016, the Mohameds filed a discrimination lawsuit in federal court against the Irving school district, the MacArthur High School Principal, and the City of Irving, claiming the teen’s civil rights were violated at the time of his arrest.

AFLC filed the motion on December 5 in Dallas federal court.

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