Friday, January 15, 2016

Court Dismisses Defamation Suit Because Accusations Require Religious Determination

Yesterday's New Jersey Law Journal reports on a Jan. 6 decision by a Bergen County trial court dismissing a defamation action brought by Raghd Alashaal Faisal Alhusaini who lives in Saudi Arabia against her half-sister, Malak Alshaal Faisal Alhusaini.  Plaintiff claimed her sister defamed her in social media postings by accusing her of having had sexual relations with multiple men under a marriage arrangement known in Sunni Islamic law as "Misyar,"  The court held that it lacks jurisdiction to decide whether accusing someone of engaging in Misyar is defamatory because that is a non-secular issue. Plaintiff also objected to a statement that her father had "disowned" her.  The court held that this is merely a non-actionable statement of opinion.