September 14, 2007
McFarland and Garner on terrorism tort claims
Robert McFarland and Donald Garner of Faulkner University have posted a paper on SSRN suggesting that American law supports viable tort claims against Saudi Arabia for certain terrorist acts. The paper -- Suing Islam: Tort, Terrorism and the House of Saud -- is forthcoming in the Oklahoma Law Review. Here's the abstract:
This paper examines the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's vital role in propogating Wahhabism, a peculiarly intolerant form of Islam justifying violent jihad, and argues that Saudi Arabia is liable for the resulting harm.
The Kingdom's role in creating terrorism is a subject of great national concern. The need for reform in Saudi Arabia's Wahhabist religious establishment is frequently discussed in the Congress. This paper argues that the federal judiciary, in addition to Congress, has a vital role to play, not only in generating compensation for terrorism victims, but also in winning the ideological war on terrorism. 9/11 and other contined manifestations of terrorist jihad are causally intertwined with the Sunni Wahhabism practiced and promoted by Saudi Arabia. Upon that understanding we build our tort theories and upon that understanding America can more thoughtfully defend itself in the ideological war on terror.
Part I discusses Saudi Arabia's historic and continued committment to Wahhabism. Part II argues that American tort law supports two viable causes of action against the Kingdom for harm inflicted by Wahhabi jihadists: (1) negligent incitement of terrorism; and (2) special relationship liability. Finally, in Part III, the question of Saudi Arabia's sovereign immunity is discussed with special attention given to the analysis of Saudi Arabia's immunity in the 9/11 litigation.
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