Legal Project

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The Legal Project, Source: Legal Project.org, screengrab

The Legal Project is an off-shoot from Daniel Pipes' organisation Middle East Forum.

History

According to right-wing news site Breitbart, it was reportedly established to 'protect the right in the West to freely discuss Islam, radical Islam, terrorism, and terrorist funding'.[1]

The Legal Project's website claims 'the Islamist movement has two wings, one violent and one lawful' and quotes Steve Emerson as saying: 'Legal action has become a mainstay of radical Islamist organizations seeking to intimidate and silence their critics.'[2]

Activities

According to its own website, The Legal Project works in four ways to 'counter the Islamist threat' as it sees it:

1) Fundraising for an Escrow account to supplement the court costs and litigation fees for victims of Islamist lawfare - all funds raised go directly to lawfare victims,
2) Arranging for pro bono and reduced rate counsel for victims of Islamist lawfare,
3) Maintaining an international network of attorneys dedicated to working pro bono in the defense of free speech and,
4) Raising awareness about the issue. Efforts include briefings by legal experts on how to avoid libelous statements, and consultations with libel lawyers before publishing on certain topics.[2]

Support for Geert Wilders and others

The Legal Project supported Dutch Party for Freedom leader Geert Wilders to appeal hate speech charges in 2010 and 11, as well as French anti-Muslim activist Christine Tasin with legal costs for a similar appeal.[1]

Daniel Pipes declined to reveal how much funding the Legal Project gave to Wilders (paid directly to his lawyer).[1]

Wilders expressed his appreciation in 2011,

Last June, I was acquitted of all charges by an Amsterdam court. The Middle East Forum's Legal Project ... was always there to help, advise and assist ... The importance of the MEF's Legal Project in reclaiming free expression and political discourse ... cannot be overestimated."
Geert Wilders, September 29, 2011 [3]

Another U.S.-based financial supporter of Wilders is David Horowitz.[4] Reuters reported that while former officials from Wilders' Freedom Party - which is not publically funded and therefore is able to operate less transparently than other Dutch parties - have said it relies almost entirely on foreign donations, both Horowitz and Pipes deny funding political activities in the Netherlands. The non-profit, tax exempt organizations they run are, under U.S. tax laws, forbidden from giving direct financial backing to any political candidate or party but may sponsor policy debates.[4]

Support for Fjordman over Breivik case

Affiliations

Notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Oliver Lane, COURT OF APPEAL OVERTURNS CONVICTION OF WOMAN PROSECUTED FOR INSULTING ISLAM, Breitbart News, 22 December 2014, accessed 3 February 2015
  2. 2.0 2.1 About, Legal Project, accessed 4 February 2015
  3. Geert Wilders Statement on MEF's Legal Project, Middle East Forum, accessed 6 May 2015
  4. 4.0 4.1 Anthony Deutsch and Mark Hosenball, Exclusive: U.S. groups helped fund Dutch anti-Islam politician Wilders, Reuters, 10 September 2012
[[Category: Hate Speech Cases]