Another Judge Will Hear Mosque Suit
A Tulsa Muslim suing his mosque will have to find another judge to hear the case. Judge Tom Thornbrugh recused himself, saying he's already formed an opinion on the suit. The plaintiff in the case is Jamal Miftah. News On 6 anchor Omar Villafranca reports the Muslim man says a 2006 letter to the editor, condemning Islamic terrorists, made him a target at his own mosque.
Jamal Miftah is disturbed by Muslims killing in the name of Islam. He wrote an op-ed piece in 2006 calling Al-Qaeda leaders cowards for using young Muslims to attack others. Some members at his mosque praised him. Others were not so pleased.
"And I was shocked. I said ‘Why?' He said you have written bad things about Muslims in your article and you can't say anything bad about Muslims in front of non-believers," said Jamal Miftah.
Miftah later filed suit against the Islamic Society of Tulsa and almost a dozen other people for assault, defamation and inflicting emotional distress. Miftah says members of the mosque made threats to him, taking off their shoes and waving them at him.
In the suit, he also says they called him a traitor, anti-Muslim and anti-Islamic. Mosque leaders say they didn't threaten him, but were trying to quiet him down since he was being loud in the Mosque. More than a year after the case was filed, Miftah's feelings haven't changed.
"I'm more determined now to expose them than ever," said Jamal Miftah.
"I've always felt that Jamal did the right thing and that the people of Tulsa would reward him for his courage. I've got great faith in the people of Tulsa. Today didn't change that opinion," said Kent Felty, Miftah's attorney.
Miftah says he didn't feel safe going back to the mosque. Islamic Society of Tulsa leaders said Miftah could return if he apologized for being loud during prayers. Jamal Miftah is unapologetic.
"If you do something wrong, and you realize it, you should admit it. There is no harm for admitting it in public. But, what they are now doing is in private. They are admitting they have done it wrong and have done harm to me, but in public, they are saying, well, we didn't do anything wrong," said Jamal Miftah.
The News On 6 contacted Dean Luthey who is one of the attorneys representing the Islamic Society of Tulsa. He declined to comment on the case.