By David Meir-Levi
June 28, 2011
The term “lawfare” is used today to describe a weaker side’s exploitation of a judicial system to advance the goals of conventional warfare in an asymmetric conflict. By means of lawfare, the weaker side can drain the greater power’s time and resources, and achieve public relations victories through the media coverage of the legal battle. In short, lawfare is the use of law as a weapon of war to pursue strategic aims through legal maneuvers, also known as “legal jihad.”
In the last decade, lawfare has been used in the West by Islamic organizations in order to constrain the free flow of public opinion about radical Islam. Muslim organizations have filed predatory lawsuits designed to intimidate, bankrupt, punish and silence those who criticize Islam in public discourse. Some have been successful, resulting in significant fines and expenses to the defendants. But the most important goal of Muslim lawfare is to put Western society on notice that the price of criticizing anything Muslim can be very high. Publishing houses and newspapers, in the wake of successful lawfare, have begun to reject important works on counter-terrorism out of fear of becoming the targets of future lawfare suits.