Islamic Charity Sues 6 Media Outlets

By: Andrew Grossman

(The Hollywood Reporter) A U.S.-based Islamic charity has sued ABC News and five other news organizations, alleging that news accounts defamed the group when they reported that the government had accused them of funneling money to Osama bin Laden. Others named in the suit were The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Associated Press, San Francisco Chronicle, and New York Daily News.

The group, Global Relief Foundation, is seeking $125 million in damages from the six operations in a complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. GRF objects to a report filed by Antonio Mora on “Good Morning America” on Sept. 24 in which he pointed to “a few of the charities accused of getting funds to bin Laden have operations in the U.S.,” including the Bridgeview, Ill.-based GRF.

In its suit, the GRF notes that ABC retracted its report, but only on its Web site, not on the air. “Most of the persons who saw the Sept. 24, 2001, broadcast were never told of the retraction,” the suit charges.

An ABC spokesman declined comment, saying that the company has yet to see the complaint.

GRF has denied it is part of any fund-raising network that supports bin Laden or al-Qaida or that it is in any way associated with any terrorist group. The charity says it has provided millions of dollars in relief to needy people worldwide.

GRF adds that it has continually condemned the Sept. 11 attacks and has no knowledge that its activities are the subject of any federal inquiry. GRF did ask the United States to stop the bombing in Afghanistan in order to give charitable groups a chance to bring supplies to victims of those attacks.

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