Former ISNA President Ingrid Mattson has dropped her own defamation lawsuit against Canadian counterterrorism expert David Harris after over a year of legal proceedings supported by the Lawfare Project.
During an October 2014 radio interview focusing on the threat from Canadian foreign fighters, Harris, a former chief of strategic planning for the Canadian Intelligence and Security Service (CSIS), referred to Mattson and other prominent Islamists as "radicals" and problematic figures in the battle against terrorism.
Harris pointed out the "problem of commending radicals like Dr. Ingrid Mattson and Siraj Wahhaj, as experts or Islamic scholars of use in counter-radicalization."
The interview also featured American Islamic Forum for Democracy founder Zuhdi Jasser, who described Mattson as "pro-Islamist" while criticizing the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM)'s "counter-radicalization handbook," United Against Terrorism. NCCM is the Canadian affiliate of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), an Islamist organization with a well-documented history of controversial and radical associations.
The use of the term "radical" apparently set Mattson off, leading her to file a lawsuit that challenged Harris' freedom of speech. Harris refused to offer any concessions or apologies.
Mattson was the ISNA president when the organization was designated an unindicted co-conspirator in the 2007 Holy Land Foundation trial, which involved U.S.-based Islamist groups and individuals funneling money to Hamas.
In announcing the lawsuit's end, the Lawfare Project speculated that Mattson dropped the case "likely fearing what a full legal-disclosure process would reveal."
Click here for more information on the case.
"There is a reason why freedom of speech is often called 'the first freedom,'" Harris said. "...In this era of terrorism and other national security challenges, constitutionally inappropriate inhibitions on this freedom – whether through government imposition, private machinations, personal self-censoring, or otherwise – undermine our capacity responsibly and efficiently to identify, define, and confront domestic and foreign threats."