A Superior Court judge ruled yesterday that a defamation suit brought by the Islamic Society of Boston against media and Jewish rights organizations can go forward.
The suit alleges that the Boston Herald, Fox25, The David Project, Citizens for Peace and Tolerance, and others orchestrated a media campaign to stop the Islamic Society's attempts to build a mosque in Roxbury. The suit alleges that stories in the Boston Herald and on Fox Television in 2004, which asserted links between society officials and terrorist groups, were aimed at halting the project.
The nonmedia defendants, who have continually denied those assertions, argued the suit should be dismissed under a 1994 statute designed to protect private citizens who bring suits against developers.
Judge Janet L. Sanders ruled that the statute does not apply to the defendants in the defamation lawsuit. The ruling is a major victory, said Howard Cooper, attorney for the Islamic Society.
"For many months since my clients simply sought to file a lawsuit and redress their rights in court, all we heard was that we were attempting to intimidate people and we would end up having to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in attorneys' fees," he said. "The court has now rejected the defendants' arguments in their entirety and ruled that the ISB filed its lawsuit appropriately."