The legal jihad continues., and the list grows longer. Just Yesterday I posted about two Saudi writers who were issued a fatwa calling for a death sentence. Today, the tentacles of Wahhabism reach halfway around the globe to choke out the free speech rights of an American citizen.
Her modest midtown Manhattan apartment is filled to the ceiling with books, most having to do with global terror networks and Mideast conflict. Sitting at her desk, she gazes out at the Hudson River. She says she has a hard time placing her work. She says she has been blacklisted. If she travels to England, she fears she will be arrested.
"I feel like a leper," she said. (...or a kaffir.)
Ehrenfeld faces a $225,000 judgment obtained in a British court in a libel suit brought by a former banker to the Saudi royal family, billionaire Khalid bin Mahfouz. "That's the Damocles sword effect. He's holding it above my head to intimidate me and others," she said.
The source of the trouble is Ehrenfeld's book, "Funding Evil: How Terrorism is Financed and How to Stop It," published by Bonus Books. In it, she named bin Mahfouz as a financier of Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda. Bin Mahfouz responded by suing Ehrenfeld -- not in the U.S., but in England, which is friendlier to libel claims.
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Ehrenfeld calls bin Mahfouz a "libel tourist" who has used British law to try to halt her investigative work. She has the support in written court filings of Amazon.com, PEN American Center, the American Society of Newspaper Editors and others who worry that litigants such as bin Mahfouz have a chilling effect on American publishers who sell books globally.
The New York Legislature seems to agree. The state Senate last month passed a bill to enable New York writers and publishers to block enforcement of any British libel judgment. The state Assembly is taking up the legislation.