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Suing Islam: Tort, Terrorism and the House of Saud

59 Pages Posted: 23 Aug 2007 Last revised: 25 Mar 2008

Robert L. McFarland

Faulkner University - Thomas Goode Jones School of Law

Donald W. Garner

Faulkner University - Thomas Goode Jones School of Law

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 continued 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 commitment 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.

Keywords: Tort, Terrorism, Saudi Arabia, Sovereign Immunity

JEL Classification: K13, K33

Suggested Citation

McFarland, Robert L. and Garner, Donald W., Suing Islam: Tort, Terrorism and the House of Saud. Oklahoma Law Review, Vol. 60, p. 223, Summer 2007. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1008966

Robert L. McFarland (Contact Author)

Faulkner University - Thomas Goode Jones School of Law ( email )

5245 Atlanta Highway
Montgomery, AL 36109
United States

Donald W. Garner

Faulkner University - Thomas Goode Jones School of Law ( email )

Montgomery, AL 36109
United States

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