May 2, 2019
Issue: Fighting Bigotry
Judge Sides with Muslim Commentator in Landmark Defamation Lawsuit Against Founder of Neo-Nazi Website
WASHINGTON, DC — Yesterday, in a significant legal victory, a federal court entered judgement for the plaintiff in a lawsuit filed by American Muslim Dean Obeidallah, comedian and host of SiriusXM radio’s The Dean Obeidallah Show, and invited Mr. Obeidallah to establish how much he should be awarded in damages. Mr. Obeidallah had filed suit against the publishers of neo-Nazi and white-nationalist website the Daily Stormer, including its founder, Andrew Anglin, for publishing false and defamatory statements about Mr. Obeidallah. These statements included fabricated Tweets accusing Mr. Obeidallah of planning and executing the horrific terrorist attack that took place at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, United Kingdom in 2017.
In a ruling issued on Wednesday, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio agreed that Mr. Obeidallah’s allegations are true and found that he is entitled to monetary relief. The court will determine at a June 12 evidentiary hearing how much Mr. Obeidallah will be awarded.
“The goal of Anglin and the Daily Stormer’s smear campaign was not just to silence me but all others who dare to speak out about the evils of white supremacy,” said Mr. Obeidallah. “The hope is that this lawsuit sends a message that white supremacists and neo-Nazis will never bully us into silence and we will continue to wage our fight against hate.”
“We are extremely pleased that the court has validated the overwhelming evidence against Mr. Anglin. The judgment entered against him is a significant development that vindicates Mr. Obeidallah for the ordeal he has suffered because of the shameless smears against him,” said Sirine Shebaya, interim legal director of Muslim Advocates. “We look forward to the upcoming evidentiary hearing where we hope that Mr. Obeidallah will properly be compensated for the threats, emotional stress, and reputational damage he has suffered.”
Subodh Chandra, co-counsel for Mr. Obeidallah, added, “The message this victory sends is unmistakable: the contemptible lies that Anglin and his ilk disseminate to sow hate among us crumble before the rule of law. The fact that Anglin didn’t even try to defend his misconduct shows how much contempt he has for real American values like equality, decency, honesty, integrity, and justice.”
The case is captioned Obeidallah v. Anglin, et al., Case No. 2:17-cv-00720, and is before Judge Edmund A. Sargus. Jr. Sirine Shebaya and Juvaria Khan of Muslim Advocates; Abid Qureshi and Tyler Williams of Latham & Watkins LLP; and Subodh Chandra and Donald Screen of The Chandra Law Firm LLC represent Mr. Obeidallah.
Muslim Advocates is a national civil-rights organization working in the courts, in the halls of power and in communities to halt bigotry in its tracks. We ensure that American Muslims have a seat at the table with expert representation so that all Americans may live free from hate and discrimination.