The Council on American Islamic Relations is once again using the American legal system to go after one of its critics. The Muslim advocacy group is suing conservative blogger and outspoken CAIR opponent Debbie Schlussel in federal court, alleging trademark infringement for incorporating groups with similar names.
U.S. District Court Judge Avern Cohn will hear arguments in Detroit, Michigan Monday to determine whether CAIR will be granted a temporary restraining order against Schlussel that will prevent her from using the names she incorporated.
The lawsuit CAIR filed Wednesday alleges that Schlussel violated their trademark when she registered www.cairmichigan.com — a website identifying Schlussel as the executive director and linking to anti-Islamic extremist websites.
Dawud Walid, CAIR-Michigan executive director, said the group fears that her website has mislead CAIR supporters into donating money to her site thinking it was going to CAIR.
“There are people in our community who contacted our office thinking she actually was named executive director of CAIR Michigan,” Walid said.
Schlussel argues that CAIR-Michigan was never registered as an entity until she created CAIR-Michigan, Inc, which she has made clear is an organization separate from CAIR proper. Schlussel believes this is an attempt to silence her.
“[I]t is clear that this is all about–and ONLY about–silencing me and my First Amendment speech rights and harming my law practice, and I will have to fight this on my own behalf,” Schlussel wrote on her blog. “This is clearly a SLAPP–a Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation. I look forward to defending myself and fighting this in court.”