Hot Air audio: How one wealthy jihad supporter is using UK courts to kill American free speech

posted at 7:30 am on August 2, 2007 by Bryan

It’s difficult to overstate the importance of this story. The Chronicle of Higher Education (sub. required) on Wednesday published an article about Khalid bin Mafouz, a wealthy Saudi banker, and his successful effort to persuade the Cambridge University Press to halt the publication of four books that detail how Saudi citizens use their wealth to finance global terrorism. One of those books, Alms for Jihad, was once on sale at Amazon and elsewhere, but it has been pulled from sale and copies of it are now being pulped. Cambridge has even sent out letters to libraries that stock it and the other three books, asking for their return so that they too can be pulped, meaning they will soon disappear, burying the details they contain on how terrorism finance works and who is behind it.

Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld of the American Center for Democracy is one of the authors whose books have been subject to judicial attack by Khalid bin Mafouz. I interviewed her about the case of the censorious jihad financier, and Cambridge Press’ cowardly capitulation to him. She is the author of Funding Evil: How Terrorism is Financed and How to Stop It. She is the only author to date who is fighting back.

More background on this story here, and follow the links.

Update: NRO’s Stanley Kurtz, whose post yesterday (linked above) inspired this interview, links here today and observes:

I continue to be struck by the potential significance of this story, and also by the extent to which a resolution now depends upon the blogosphere. Ultimately, I think the resources of the mainstream press will have to be mobilized in order to resolve the questions at issue here. But there is much the blogosphere can do–above all, generate the sort of publicity that will protect Ehrenfeld and others, and that will force the mainstream press to investigate. And the sort of legal expertise the blogosphere can provide clearly needs to be brought to bear here. There are important and fascinating issues of free speech and national sovereignty at stake, and resolving the legal complexities is well above my pay grade. But that this is a story worth pursuing seems certain.


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Just got my copy on eBay.

MikeZero on August 2, 2007 at 8:00 AM

Scary stuff.

Pay attention, people. This is an insight into the truly insidious nature of the enemy that we are facing.

Great job, Bryan.

hillbillyjim on August 2, 2007 at 8:06 AM

Alms for Jihad is on eBay? Hmmmmm…

PBoilermaker on August 2, 2007 at 8:10 AM

Great interview Bryan. I put it up on Free Republic. You should send it to Charles at LGF and Ace to get it wider distribution. People need to hear this…

TheBigOldDog on August 2, 2007 at 8:30 AM

P.S. More details from the esteemed Robert Spencer, via The Washington Times.

hillbillyjim on August 2, 2007 at 8:42 AM

Alibris.com has a copy for sale through a private seller but it is way beyond me. I hope someone buys it and puts it out, through pdf file or html or however someone can, for everyone to see. This type of action must not stand. This just proves to me that every assertion made against this pumped up ape is true.

marianpaul on August 2, 2007 at 9:03 AM

Will it be possible for another publisher to print the books? I can’t believe they can just “disappear” books like this.

LakeRuins on August 2, 2007 at 9:08 AM

maybe the simile (sic) I should have used is “jumped up ape.” “Pumped up ape” makes him sound like a body building (We going to pump you up) ape. This evil nasty old man is probably wizened, arthritic and as shriveled as his soul is.

marianpaul on August 2, 2007 at 9:14 AM

Send emails to newyork@cambridge.org asking where you can get a copy of the book, just to make them unhappy that they threw all that money away.

From her website:

“PLEASE NOTE: Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld is not a signatory of the 911Truth.org. She has asked several times to have her name removed from the list, but the organization failed to comply.”

Heh.

Kevin M on August 2, 2007 at 9:18 AM

I hope she can find a new US based printer, and shame on Cambridge Press for grabbing their ankles like that.

Bad Candy on August 2, 2007 at 9:28 AM

Khalid Bin Mafouz needs to be taken down right now. Bin Mafouz was the financial backing for Bin Laden’s Khartoum base in the Sudan.

I think he’s probably on the protected list from MI6. I doubt Bin Mafouz’s letter was all that threatening to Number 10. It was probably like this.

Dear Number 10,

You know who I am. You know what I know. Make these books disappear or else.

Your Dearest Friend,

Khalid

Bin Mafouz makes Adnan Khasshoggi look like a GI Joe cartoon.

gabriel sutherland on August 2, 2007 at 9:30 AM

Wow!!! They(Saudis)are really afraid of the truth. What they don’t seem to realize is that the pull of banned books is greater than if they had just let the subject drop. They seem to be so used to having things their way that they’ve lost any perspective or common sense.Their actions just confirm rather than deny the premises in those books. I hope someone here picks up the copyright if possible. And….what on earth has happened to common sense in the UK. They’ve gone mad!!!!

jeanie on August 2, 2007 at 9:30 AM

jeanie on August 2, 2007 at 9:30 AM

Excellent observation. Great post.

TheBigOldDog on August 2, 2007 at 9:44 AM

The Saudis are suing to get out ahead of these books. They’re establishing a legal precedent to employ at later times to silence other critics. The book “Forbidden Truth” authored by a couple of French writers that track intelligence circles in France was banned in Switzerland as soon as it was published.

The protesters of the publication? Saudi bankers.

gabriel sutherland on August 2, 2007 at 9:57 AM

I wasn’t really interested in reading them but because someone dare say I can’t I’ll be damed if they are going to stop me from finding a copy or few and buy them.

Those people have no right to trample on my rights to buy and read what I want to. Its going to far and we need to stop this madness now.

Rena

ThinkingForMyself on August 2, 2007 at 10:13 AM

Jeanie,

Its not just happening in the UK its happening here as well, very slowly… just take the Koran case as an example… they are working their way to controlling everything we do.

Its like the analogy of the frog and boiling water… if you put him straight in boiling water he will jump out, but if you slowly warm it up he stays cozy till its to late… we are headed in the same direction with this issue and many others where our nation will no longer be democratic and great but oppressed and third world.

TFM

ThinkingForMyself on August 2, 2007 at 10:16 AM

I’ll be damed if they are going to stop me from finding a copy or few and buy them.

Damn, I can’t find a copy anywhere.

tlynch001 on August 2, 2007 at 10:29 AM

I did a search for Alms for Jihad on eBay but it appears all the current coppies have been snapped up. I did however find a couple on half.com (another eBay site)

http://search.half.ebay.com/alms-for-jihad_W0QQmZbooks

bigskinny on August 2, 2007 at 10:38 AM

TFM “…it’s happening here…slowly…” I have been reading this too. One of the tactics they are said to be using is “political correctness”. The PC police are getting out of hand, but it’s hard for me to attribute this to JUST wealthy Muslims(not to let them off the hook,many are pure poison)and Islamic PACS. My(not too imaginative)take on this is the old Pogo phrase “We have met the enemy and he is us”. But, I think there are signs that this may be slowly changing. The “citizen” politics of the blogs is having a lot to do with this. It allows us to talk with one another in a way never before available. There are fewer and fewer places to hide. It remains to be seen how this will fall out.

jeanie on August 2, 2007 at 10:59 AM

This self-censorship began with the Dutch in 1990, when they bowed to Islamic pressure and removed a book from their stores (in “the most liberal country in the world”, take note) critical of the demographic and ideological assault by Mohammeedans on Holland entitled: “The Downfall of the Netherlands: land of the naive dupes” (“De ondergang van nederlands; land van de naive dwazen” by “Mohammad Rasoel”, a nom de guerre).

Can’t be critical of those lovely “protected minorities”.

Until they reach critical mass.

Then it’s too late.

Which is the plan.

(The Dutch work is available now [bootlegged?] online in English.)

profitsbeard on August 2, 2007 at 11:30 AM

Here’s THE DOWNFALL OF THE NETHERLANDS.

profitsbeard on August 2, 2007 at 11:34 AM

I couldn’t find ALms For Jihad at ebay, amazon, half, or any of the usual outlets, it’s all ‘discontinued’. I did find it at Tower.com, and pretty cheap too!

bikermailman on August 2, 2007 at 11:35 AM

I wasn’t really interested in reading them but because someone dare say I can’t I’ll be damed if they are going to stop me from finding a copy or few and buy them.

Rena

Damn straight. We need a clearinghouse for this sort of publication, and a way to get it on the web for everyone to see.

TinMan13 on August 2, 2007 at 11:36 AM

Khalid bin Mafouz: The censorious tyrant Ibrahim Hooper hopes to become.

eeyore on August 2, 2007 at 11:50 AM

Well I just learned that the French authors of “Forbidden Truth” apparently learned that their work was false. As a result, they issued an apology to bin Mahfouz and his family and retracted everything they had written in “Forbidden Truth”.

gabriel sutherland on August 2, 2007 at 11:55 AM

… the pull of banned books is greater than if they had just let the subject drop….I hope someone here picks up the copyright if possible.

jeanie on August 2, 2007 at 9:30 AM

That copyright’s probably locked up tighter than Fort Knox. However, the publishing world is a strange and cutthroat place. Last year I updated a new edition of a book by a retired professor. The prof self-published the book and apparently sent out some samples. Before he was able to deliver the full inventory, one of the samples had been stolen and the book is now being mass-printed in China – and selling briskly in Europe. And the author? Goes without saying – not a penny.

RushBaby on August 2, 2007 at 12:09 PM

Just goes to show you what can happen when you don’t choose to do your business with an American company.

Gooch on August 2, 2007 at 12:21 PM

I couldn’t find ALms For Jihad at ebay, amazon, half, or any of the usual outlets, it’s all ‘discontinued’. I did find it at Tower.com, and pretty cheap too!

bikermailman on August 2, 2007 at 11:35 AM

Thanks for that link to tower. I snagged my copy already. If it doesn’t get picked up by an American distributor, I’m going to scan it to PDF and put it on Bitorrent to keep it out there.

The truth will not be silenced.

wearyman on August 2, 2007 at 12:36 PM

I work with a publisher who would gladly publish this and would laugh in the face of anyone who attempts to intimidate them. If the rights are available, I’m game.

Gregor on August 2, 2007 at 1:33 PM

From a poster at FR:

Here is another very disturbing article on this from the NY Sun. IMHO, this is very, bad, folks:

http://www.nysun.com/article/59706

“Libel Suit Leads to Destruction of Books”
By GARY SHAPIRO
Staff Reporter of the Sun
August 2, 2007

Small excerpt:

[A professor at Emory University, who won a libel suit in Britain brought against her and Penguin, Deborah Lipstadt, likewise told The New York Sun that this action by Cambridge University Press was a “frightening development.” She said that it seemed to her that the Saudis were “systematically, case by case, book by book” challenging anything critical of them or anything that linked them to terrorism. She said that she could not think of any publisher that would now accept a manuscript critical of the Saudis. “This affects not only authors but readers,” she said, adding that “ideas are being chased out of the marketplace.”]

TheBigOldDog on August 2, 2007 at 1:42 PM

Gabriel:

If Forbidden Truth is the book I’m thinking of, Mahfouz was the guy who sued them.

I think we need to coin a verb here: to Mahfouz an author is to silence criticism by aggressive libel litigation.

I would think that the “chilling effect” that Dr. Ehrenfeld describes about 3/4ths of the way through –publishers who not only pull existing books, but don’t greenlight new ones on jihad financing because they’re scared.

see-dubya on August 2, 2007 at 1:45 PM

I’ll be damed if they are going to stop me from finding a copy or few and buy them.

Damn, I can’t find a copy anywhere.

tlynch001 on August 2, 2007 at 10:29 AM

I got one on Half.com or whatever its called… for $22.00… seems they are getting hard to find… and I ordered Funding evil from Amazon which I should get in a couple days.

ThinkingForMyself on August 2, 2007 at 1:51 PM

It is worth while reading some of the Amazon reviews at Amazon, read “Libel laws in the internet zone” for an understanding why the attack on the book was filed in England.

From reading the other reviews, I will read Douglas Farrah’s book (a Counterterrorism Blog contributor) first.

desertdweller on August 2, 2007 at 1:56 PM

I work with a publisher who would gladly publish this and would laugh in the face of anyone who attempts to intimidate them. If the rights are available, I’m game. -
Gregor

Gregor, there is another book , pulled from publication for different reasons, that may be interested in your offer.

Ali Sina recently published “Understanding Muhammad: A Psychobiography of Allâh’s Prophet” but ran into some difficulty with the publisher and pulled the book. Last I checked he was looking for a new publisher. I have a copy of the first run and highly recommend this book.
As Robert Spencer states about Ali Sina’s book:

“A blisteringly honest, thoroughly documented, and piercingly insightful investigation of the root causes within Islam of the fanaticism and violence that today threatens the entire world. Should be required reading at the State Department and the White House.”

The final statement he made on the explanatory post says:

The book will be re-released as soon as I find a new publisher. It should not take long.

He takes comments on this post here.

******

Here’s THE DOWNFALL OF THE NETHERLANDS.-
profitsbeard

THANK YOU! Bookmarked.

heroyalwhyness on August 2, 2007 at 2:55 PM

This is way to important as Bryan states
Censorship by Saudi deep pockets is allowed to get away with this to satisfy the PC crowd is too scary. Please let us know how the suit turns out.

Kini on August 2, 2007 at 3:05 PM

heroyalwhyness on August 2, 2007 at 2:55 PM

Thank you for the info. I’m checking into this.

Gregor on August 2, 2007 at 3:12 PM

I don’t believe me–I never post this often!!! In a round about way this is the sort of practice that might actually unite much of this country. I suspect that most of the folks in the USA would literally die fighting Shari’a Law if it came to that. I know I would. The Constitution means too much to too a lot of people to let it go—ever.

jeanie on August 2, 2007 at 3:16 PM

Well, it seems to me that a boycott of Cambridge University Press is warranted.

Henry Bowman on August 2, 2007 at 3:44 PM

Maybe I spoke too soon. Now I need to contact the authors or “Forbidden Truth”. They issued their apology in 2006 to bin Mahfouz and family, but since then, in early 2007, a French Intelligence assessment apparently confirming the bin Mahfouz connection to terror financing was made public.

gabriel sutherland on August 2, 2007 at 4:04 PM

This scary tale has NOTHING to do with Pace U Korans in loo. To say otherwise is to trivialize the former. C’mon now, Bryan. Think it through.
Randy

williars on August 2, 2007 at 4:56 PM

aren’t these suits perfect for demanding “disclosure” by the Saudis? Kind of like the same way “Anti-CAIR” fought the CAIR lawsuit by demanding they disclose all ties to Saudi Arabia and all financial records of donations from overseas. CAIR quickly dropped the lawsuit. Makes me wonder what they are hiding…

BadBrad on August 2, 2007 at 5:02 PM

More evidence that demonstrates that the Saudis are our enemies.

Tantor on August 2, 2007 at 5:30 PM

Why are we selling arms to these guys, anyway?

Attila (Pillage Idiot) on August 2, 2007 at 6:22 PM

We are probably selling arms to them to ensure the flow of oil and that another 1970s oil embargo will not happen again. Also, I think that Arabia wants to have influence over Iraq and is competing with Iran who wants to end the Saudi monarchy (this frightens the Saudis, of course). So since Arabia is our power piece (for lack of a better) to off set Iran, we arm them. If the Saudis fall, then we really have trouble! Yes, I know that the Saudis are to be viewed with great suspicion (remember the fund raising for survivors of suicide bombers, for example?)but this is the type of Middle East chess game that seems that we must play.

The False Dervish on August 2, 2007 at 9:07 PM

Just bought a couple copies of Dr Ehrenfeld’s book for the friends and family.

AZ_Redneck on August 3, 2007 at 11:15 PM

I need to find a copy of this book.

It seems that censorship is the only effective response islamist sympathizers have when they can’t just blow people up, or saw off their heads.

USA, all the way!

ValhallaMike on August 9, 2007 at 4:05 PM