IN THE CIRCUIT COURT FOR THE CITY OF VIRGINIA BEACH
COUNCIL ON AMERICAN-ISLAMIC
ANSWER, GROUNDS OF
DEFENSE, AND COUNTERCLAIMS
Comes now the Defendant, Andrew Whitehead (“Defendant” or “Mr. Whitehead”)
by counsel, and hereby files his Answer, Grounds of Defense and Counterclaims
to the Motion for Judgment of Plaintiff filed herein as follows:
Defendant denies the allegations in Paragraph 1 of the Motion for Judgment.
Defendant admits he is a resident of the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Defendant denies the allegations in Paragraph 3 of the Motion for Judgment.
Defendant admits making the statements alleged in Paragraphs 4(a), (b),
(e), (f), (g) and (h) of the Motion for Judgment. The Motion for Judgment
does not contain Paragraphs 4(c) or 4(d). Defendant denies that these
statements constitute “libelous defamation” of the plaintiff’s character,
for, among other things, they are true.
Defendant denies the allegations in the first sentence of Paragraph 5 of
the Motion for Judgment. Defendant admits that the Council on American-Islamic
Relations, Inc. (“CAIR”), its officers, directors, and certain of its employees,
knowingly provide, conspire to provide and/or assist others in providing,
material support to terrorist organizations. The allegation that such
material support is a felony under 18 U.S.C. § 2339B(a)(1) calls for
a legal conclusion; Defendant neither admits nor denies, and leaves Plaintiff
to its proofs.
Defendant denies the allegations in Paragraph 6.
Defendant admits the allegations in Paragraph 7 of the Motion for Judgment.
Defendant denies the allegations in Paragraph 8 of the Motion for Judgment.
Defendant denies the allegations in Paragraph 9 of the Motion for Judgment.
Defendant denies the allegations in Paragraph 10 of the Motion for Judgment.
Defendant denies the allegations in Paragraph 11 of the Motion for Judgment.
Defendant denies the allegations in Paragraph 12 of the Motion for Judgment.
Defendant denies the allegations in Paragraph 13 of the Motion for Judgment.
Defendant admits the allegations in Paragraph 14 of the Motion for Judgment.
Defendant denies the allegations in Paragraph 15 of the Motion for Judgment.
LIBEL, Per Se
Defendant repeats Paragraphs 1 – 15.
Defendant denies the allegations in Paragraph 17 of the Motion for Judgment.
Defendant repeats Paragraphs 1- 17.
Defendant denies the allegations in Paragraph 19 of the Motion for Judgment.
GROUNDS OF DEFENSE
1. Plaintiff lacks capacity
to sue, for: (a) it is presently in violation of its corporate charter and
the requirements of the Corporations Code of the District of Columbia, and
not in good standing as required by law, for it was not operating for a
lawful purpose; (b) it does not do business in the Commonwealth of Virginia;
and (c) it is not registered to do business in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
2. Plaintiff’s claims are
barred by laches, waiver, and estoppel.
3. Plaintiff’s claims are
barred by the applicable statute(s) of limitations.
4. Plaintiff has failed
to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.
5. Plaintiff’s reputation
has not been injured by Defendant’s statements, and/or it has suffered no
6. The challenged statements
were Defendant’s opinions, and cannot form the basis for a libel or defamation
7. Defendant’s statements
were true, or substantially true, as a matter of law.
8. Plaintiff is a “public
figure”, and Defendant’s statements were neither known by him to be false
when made, nor made with reckless disregard for the truth.
Counter-Plaintiff Andrew Whitehead, a twenty-year United States Navy veteran,
is a resident of the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Counter-Defendant is the Council on American-Islamic Relations (“CAIR”).
CAIR was formed in or about 1994 by Omar Ahmad (“Ahmad”) and Nihad Awad
(“Awad”), then officers of an organization known as the “Islamic Association
for Palestine” (“IAP”).
IAP is, and was at all times relevant, a radical Islamic fundamentalist
organization that believes Islam is in conflict with “Western Civilization.”
IAP is dedicated to the destruction and overthrow of the State of Israel,
which it deems an impermissible Western intrusion in the Muslim world. IAP’s
ideology is presented on its website as follows:
[T]he real nature of the conflict is a civilizational conflict waged between,
on the one land (sic) Islamic Civilization with its divinely inspired laws
and mission to create on this earth the society of justice and freedom which
has been ordained by God; and on the other hand, Western Civilization with
its materialistic culture, worship of ethnicity and the state, and denial
of God's supremacy. The existence of a Jewish state in the heart of
the Muslim World…is symbolic of the weakness of the Muslim Ummah and Muslims'
own straying from the path of Islam in embracing imported ideologies…the
Blessed Lands of Palestine do not belong to the Palestinians or Arabs alone
but to all Muslims, and only when the Muslim's (sic) return to their faith
and see the conflict in its real terms can they liberate Palestine as was
done in the 12th Century by Salah al-Din Al-Ayyubi who, while not an Arab,
knew his Islamic responsibility in undertaking the civilization struggle
against the West…
IAP was founded in or about 1982 by Musa Abu Marzook (“Marzook”).
Upon information and belief, Marzook was IAP’s ideological leader and controlling
director from the date of its founding until shortly after his deportation
from the United States in 1997. At all times relevant, Marzook was
an operative of, and/or affiliated with, the “Harakat al-Muqawamah al-Islamiyyah,”
In 1998, the director of the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation
(“FBI”) counter-terrorism unit stated IAP was “a Hamas front…(that is) controlled
by Hamas, it brings Hamas leaders to the US, it does propaganda for Hamas.”
Hamas is responsible for the murder of hundreds of innocent civilians, including
Americans, and has been designated a terrorist organization by the United
The Hamas charter calls for the creation of an Islamist theocracy, with
Christians and Jews under Muslim domination. The Hamas charter states that
the Freemasons, the Lions Club, and the Rotarians all secretly “work in
the interest of Zionism,” and that any Muslim who leaves “the circle of
struggle with Zionism” is commiting “high treason” and should be “cursed.”
The Hamas charter states any land conquered by Muslims at any time (such
as Spain or the Balkans) is “consecrated to the Muslims till the Day of
Judgment.” The Hamas charter also states: “Jihad is not confined to
the carrying of arms…The effective word, the good article, the useful book,
support and solidarity…all these are elements of Jihad for Allah’s sake.”
Upon information and belief, Marzook, Ahmad, Awad, and other presently unidentified
persons, conspired, combined, and agreed to establish what the United States
government has termed “front organizations” to support and advance the interests
of Hamas and radical Islam in the United States.
IAP And CAIR
At all times relevant, CAIR and IAP were closely and intimately connected.
Among other things, IAP provided CAIR with employees, funding, operational
expertise, and ideological guidance.
CAIR Executive Director Awad, one of CAIR’s “founders,” served as the IAP's
public relations director. Awad openly praised the notorious Ayatollah
Khomeini. At a 1994 Barry University forum, he admitted being a supporter
of “the Hamas movement.”
CAIR founder and Board Chairman Ahmad, also a former IAP official, was captured
on FBI surveillance tapes at Hamas meetings in the United States during
1993 explaining that the IAP could not, for political reasons, admit its
support for Hamas, and then discussing how the Hamas agenda could be cloaked
Rafeeq Jaber, a founding director of CAIR, is or was IAP’s president.
Mohammed Nimer, who directs CAIR's Research Center, was on the board of
the United Association for Studies and Research, a Hamas front founded by
Douglas Hooper, a/k/a “Ibrahim” Hooper (“Hooper”), CAIR's Director of Communications,
also worked for the IAP before joining CAIR. He has stated:
“I wouldn’t want to create the impression that I wouldn’t like the government
of the United States to be Islamic sometime in the future…” Hooper has defended
payments of bounties to the families of suicide bombers who kill Jews.
Since its founding in 1994, CAIR and its employees have combined, conspired,
and agreed with third parties, including, but not limited to, IAP, the Holy
Land Foundation for Relief and Development (“HLF”), the Global Relief Foundation
(“GRF”), and foreign nationals hostile to the interests of the United States,
to provide material support to known terrorist organizations, to advance
the Hamas agenda, and to propagate radical Islam.
CAIR, and certain of its officers, directors, and employees, have acted
in support of, and in furtherance of, this conspiracy.
Consistent with Hamas ideology, CAIR has served as a conduit for the distribution
of materials and funds from foreign nationals to groups and institutions
within the United States for the purpose of promoting radical Islam and Hamas
ideology, and attacked Islamic clerics and scholars who reject radical Islam
and the Hamas agenda.
Consistent with Hamas ideology, CAIR has knowingly, intentionally, and willfully,
funneled funds to groups that support terrorism. For example, beginning
on or about September 13, 2001, and continuing through September 24, 2001,
the CAIR website contained a section titled “What you can do for the victims
of the WTC and Pentagon attacks” that solicited contributions for “the NY/DC
Emergency Relief Fund.” The “NY/DC Emergency Relief Fund” did not exist;
instead, the link in question led directly to the HLF website.
On or about September 25, 2001, the “NY/DC Emergency Relief Fund” link disappeared
and was replaced with direct links to HLF and GRF. These links
were available on the CAIR website through the end of November 2001.
At all times relevant, however, CAIR knew HLF was a Hamas front group; on
December 4, 2001, the United States froze all HLF assets. In announcing
the freeze, United States President George W. Bush stated HLF funded Hamas
propaganda and terrorist recruitment efforts. United States Treasury Secretary
Paul O’Neill stated HLF “masquerade(d) as a charity, while its primary purpose
(was) to fund Hamas.”
CAIR termed the closing of HLF unjust, and suggested the United States’
action was evidence of anti-Muslim bias.
At all times relevant, CAIR knew GLF funded terror. According to the
United States, GRF, a/k/a “Fondation Secours Mondial”, and its officers
and directors, were connected to, and provided support for, Usama bin Ladin
(“UBL”), Al-Qaida, and other known terrorist groups.
According to the United States, GRF published Arabic newsletters and pamphlets
advocating armed jihad. One 1995 GRF pamphlet reads “God equated martyrdom
through JIHAD with supplying funds for the JIHAD effort.” Another
GRF newsletter requested donations “for God’s cause – they [the donations]
are disbursed for equipping the raiders, for the purchase of ammunition
and food, and for their [the Mujahideen’s] transportation so that they can
raise God the Almighty’s word. . . .”
According to the United States, a set of photographs and negatives discovered
in 1997 in a trash dumpster outside of GRF’s office in Illinois depicted
large shipping boxes displayed under a GRF banner. The boxes were full
of sophisticated communications equipment, including approximately 200 handheld
radio transceivers, long-range radio antennas, and portable power packs.
Other photographs depicted fighters armed with automatic rifles, a sand bagged
bunker with a radio antenna mounted outside, and mutilated corpses with the
name “KPI” (Kashmir Press International) printed alongside. Yet another
photograph displays two dead men with the caption “Hizbul Mujahideen,” the
name of a known terrorist organization operating in the Kashmir region.
On the reverse side of the photograph was handwritten in Arabic, “two martyrs
killed by the Indian government”.
According to the United States, Rabih Haddad (“Haddad”), who co-founded
GRF and served as its president throughout the 1990s and in the year 2000,
worked for Makhtab al-Khidamat (“MAK”) in Pakistan in the early 1990s.
Upon information and belief, MAK was co-founded by Sheikh Abdullah Azzam
(“Azzam”) and UBL in the 1980s and served as the precursor organization
to Al-Qaida. Azzam, served as UBL’s mentor, and was also regarded
as a historical leader of Hamas.
According to the United States, GRF stocked and promoted audio tapes and
books authored by Azzam, which glorified armed jihad. GRF enthusiastically
promoted Azzam’s materials to the public: “His [Azzam’s] theology is
a sea, his words are jewels, and his thoughts are a light for those who are
holding the smoldering embers. He lived the Jihad experiences of the
20th century in Afghanistan . . . and Palestine, and produced a new theory
for saving the [Islamic] Nation from disgrace, shame, weakness, and submission
According to the United States, GRF provided financial and other assistance
to, and received funding from, individuals associated with Al-Qaida, including
Mohammed Galeb Kalaje Zouaydi (“Zouaydi”), a suspected financier of Al-Qaida’s
worldwide terrorist efforts, who was arrested in Europe in April 2002.
According to the United States, GRF also had multiple contacts with Wadih
El-Hage (“El-Hage”), UBL’s personal secretary when UBL was in Sudan.
El-Hage was convicted in a U.S. District Court in May 2001, for his role
in the UBL-directed 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
According to the United States, GRF also had contact with the Taliban in
violation of United States government sanctions.
When the United States froze GRF funds, CAIR complained that the United
States’ actions were evidence of religious discrimination against Muslims.
At all times relevant, CAIR, its employees, officers, and directors, were
aware of the true purpose, nature and activities of both HLF and GRF, and
acted in support and furtherance thereof.
CAIR Employees And Officials Support Terror
Senior CAIR employee Randall Todd Royer, a/k/a “Ismail” Royer (“Royer”),
pled guilty and was sentenced to twenty years in prison for participating
in a network of militant jihadists centered in Northern Virginia. He
admitted to aiding and abetting three persons who sought training in a terrorist
camp in Pakistan for the purpose of waging jihad against American troops
in Afghanistan. Royer’s illegal actions occurred while he was employed
CAIR's director of community relations, Bassem Khafagi (“Khafagi”), was
arrested by the United States due to his ties with a terror-financing front
group. Khafagi pled guilty to charges of visa and bank fraud, and
agreed to be deported to Egypt. Khafagi’s illegal actions occurred
while he was employed by CAIR.
On December 18, 2002, Ghassan Elashi, founding board member of CAIR-Texas,
a founder of the HLF, and a brother-in-law of Marzook, was arrested by the
United States and charged with, among other things, making false statements
on export declarations, dealing in the property of a designated terrorist
organization, conspiracy and money laundering.
CAIR board member Imam Siraj Wahaj, an un-indicted co-conspirator in the
first World Trade Center bombing, has called for replacing the American government
with an Islamic caliphate, and warned that America will crumble unless it
The U.S. Senate Hearings
In September 2003, the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology
and Homeland Security held hearings, titled “Two Years After 9/11: Connecting
the Dots,” focusing on Islamic extremism among Muslim political groups in
CAIR's Chairman Ahmad and Executive Director Awad were invited to testify,
but refused to appear.
During the hearings, evidence was provided showing that Saudi Arabia and
other foreign actors provide financial and ideological support for a network
of Islamic organizations in the United States, including CAIR, to act as
the defenders, financiers, and front groups for radical Islam and international
Evidence was also provided showing CAIR has solicited and received substantial
funding from Saudi Arabian supporters of radical Islam and from foreign
nationals hostile to the interests of the United States, including the World
Assembly of Muslim Youth, the International Islamic Relief Organization,
and the Saudi Arabian-controlled Islamic Development Bank (“IDB”). For example,
the IDB, which has funded and supported terrorist activities through its
“Intifada” and “Al-Aqsa” units, contributed a large sum of money to CAIR
for the purchase of CAIR’s Washington, D.C. headquarters.
Evidence was also provided showing prominent members of CAIR— specifically
to Nihad Awad and Omar Ahmed—have what Senator Charles Schumer called “intimate
links with Hamas.” Senator Schumer also stated “we know [CAIR] has
ties to terrorism.”
Senator Richard Durbin stated CAIR is “unusual in its extreme rhetoric and
its associations with groups that are suspect,” and requested that the committee
seek the testimony of mainstream Muslim groups in its place in the future.
CAIR Attacks Mr. Whitehead
Mr. Whitehead runs a website called “Anti-CAIR.”
Anti-CAIR was formed in March 2003, because Mr. Whitehead believed existing
anti-Islamic terror groups were not focused on the threat posed by CAIR’s
radicalism to the security of the United States.
Anti-CAIR supports the peaceful practice of all religions. Its website states:
“We are anti-Islamic terror and those organizations/individuals that support
Islamic terrorist groups or people. We firmly believe that Islamic
terrorists are religious perverts who are attempting to invoke the blessings
of their version of ‘god’ to commit heinous crimes. We are neutral
to all peaceful religions, including peaceful followers of Islam.”
The website further states that it is Anti-CAIR’s opinion “CAIR is not in
the United States to promote the civil rights of Muslims. CAIR is
here to make radical Islam the dominant religion in the United States and
convert our country into an Islamic theocracy along the lines of Iran.”
At all times relevant, Anti-CAIR posted articles, statements and “press
releases” regarding CAIR’s activities. These posts contained statements
of Anti-CAIR’s opinion, and links to news articles about CAIR.
In or about July or August 2003, Mr. Whitehead contacted CAIR via e-mail
and by phone seeking CAIR’s comment on two stories. He eventually reached
Hooper, who first asked Mr. Whitehead if he was with “a major news organization.”
When Mr. Whitehead explained his affiliation, Hooper hung up.
On or about January 6, 2004, an attorney and agent for CAIR wrote a “cease
and desist letter” to Mr. Whitehead. In this letter, he stated Mr. Whitehead’s
opinions were, as a factual matter, “sociopathic and xenophobic,” and advised
he had advised CAIR to file a defamation suit and seek punitive damages
that “cannot be discharged in bankruptcy.” CAIR’s agent further stated
that “if you persist in the publication of defamatory remarks about CAIR,
or if you elect to publish this personal and confidential letter to any
person, suit will be filed forthwith.”
On April 1, 2004, CAIR sued Mr. Whitehead for libel, and demanded over $1.3
million in damages.
(For Violation of
42 U.S.C. § 1985)
Counter-Plaintiff repeats paragraphs 1-50.
Counter-Defendant conspired, combined, associated, agreed, and/or worked
in concert with Awad and Ahmad, both acting outside the scope of their employment,
the IAP and its officers, and John Does 1-10, including foreign nationals
hostile to the interests of the United States, to willfully and maliciously
prevent or hinder Mr. Whitehead from performing a lawful act, specifically,
the posting of his opinions and news articles regarding CAIR. This
action was taken to prevent the exposure of CAIR’s role in the dissemination
of radical Islam and its support for the Hamas agenda, and to deprive Mr.
Whitehead, and others similarly situated, of constitutionally protected rights
The conspiracy was motivated by a class-based, invidiously discriminatory
animus. The targeted class included, among others, Evangelical Christians,
Jews, Zionists, and other persons opposed to the propagation, promotion
and practice of radical Islam. Mr. Whitehead is a part of the targeted
Upon information and belief, at meetings held in or about late 2001 or early
2002, the conspirators determined that in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks,
it was more important than ever for CAIR to pursue a long-term strategy
to tar and discredit Christians and others who opposed Hamas and radical
Islam by smearing them as “racists”, to do what they could to protect
HLF, GRF, and other front groups so that monies would continue to flow to
terrorist organizations, and to disseminate the message that the United
States’ support for “Jews and Zionists”, and/or their control of the government
thereof, led to attacks against Americans.
In furtherance of this conspiracy, Counter-Defendant attempted to silence
Mr. Whitehead by threatening litigation, by demanding that he keep secret
this threat, and by bringing a strategic lawsuit against public participation
(“SLAPP suit”) to punish him for expressing his opinions and exposing CAIR’s
As a direct result of Counter-Defendant’s actions, Mr. Whitehead has been
injured, suffering, among other things, emotional distress, worry, anguish,
and loss of sleep, and he has been deprived of the rights and privileges
due a citizen of the United States.
(For Common Law Civil Conspiracy)
Counter-Plaintiff repeats paragraphs 1-56.
Counter-Defendant engaged in the conspiracy described herein to accomplish
an unlawful purpose, or a lawful purpose by unlawful means, specifically
to chill and impair Mr. Whitehead’s right to free speech, to deny or interfere
with the exercise of his legal rights and privileges as a United States
citizen, and to cause him emotional distress.
As set forth above, Mr. Whitehead has been damaged as a result Counter-Defendant’s
actions taken pursuant to this civil conspiracy.
(For Intentional Infliction of
Counter-Plaintiff repeats paragraphs 1-59.
Counter-Defendant’s SLAPP suit, its attempt to chill and impair Mr. Whitehead’s
right to free speech, and the cease and desist letter were intentional actions.
CAIR’s actions, as set forth herein, offend generally accepted standards
of decency and morality.
CAIR’s actions, as set forth herein, directly caused Mr. Whitehead emotional
Mr. Whitehead’s distress, mental suffering, and embarrassment have been
severe, resulting in loss of sleep, anguish, and worry about financial devastation.
(For Violation of Va. Code
Counter-Plaintiff repeats paragraphs 1-64.
Mr. Whitehead has been the target of intimidation and harassment that is
motivated by Counter-Defendant’s religious and ethnic animosity, in violation
of Va. Code § 8.01-42.1.
Therefore, he is entitled to statutory and punitive damages, and attorney
(For Violation of Va. Code
Counter-Plaintiff repeats paragraphs 1-67.
On or about January 6, 2004, an attorney and agent for CAIR, acting within
the scope of his agency, wrote to Mr. Whitehead and called his opinions,
among other things, “sociopathic”.
In its usual construction and common acceptance, the epitaph “sociopathic,”
when used outside a clinical setting, is defamatory and slanderous, is construed
as an insult, and tends to lead to violence and breach of the peace.
According to Webster’s Dictionary, “sociopathic” is the adjective of “sociopath.”
A “sociopath” is “a person suffering from psychopathic personality, whose
behavior is aggressively antisocial.” A “psychopathic personality”
is: “a person whose behavior is largely amoral and antisocial and who is
characterized by irresponsibility, lack of remorse, shame, perverse or impulsive
(often criminal) behavior, and other serious personality defects.”
CAIR’s statement was false, as Mr. Whitehead’s opinions are not “sociopathic.”
CAIR’s statement was neither legally protected nor privileged, and CAIR
knew the statement was false when made, and/or made the statement with reckless
disregard for its truth or falsity. Finally, CAIR made the statement
with malice, consistent with its practice of smearing and attempting to
intimidate anyone who questions its activities, or opposes radical Islam.
Mr. Whitehead was insulted, humiliated, and offended by CAIR’s statement,
and is entitled to compensatory and punitive damages.
WHEREFORE, having fully answered, Defendant prays that the Court dismiss
Plaintiff’s Motion for Judgment and enter judgment on behalf of Defendant
on its counterclaims in the amount of One Million Dollars in compensatory
damages, and One Million Dollars in punitive damages, plus its costs, expenses
and reasonable attorney’s fees in this behalf expended.
Dated: April 30, 2004
GREENBERG TRAURIG, LLP
Reed D. Rubinstein (VBN 25011)
Washington, D.C. 20006