Urth Caffe Responds to Motion to Strike Its Lawsuit Countersuing Muslim Women for Trespass

Soondus Ahmed, one of seven Muslim women who claims staff at Urth Caffé in Laguna Beach had police remove her group from the eatery on April 22nd not, as the restaurant claims, for overstaying, but because many in the group were wearing hijabs, speaks outside of the Orange County Central Justice Center in Santa Ana on Tuesday. ///ADDITIONAL INFO: LB.Urth.0504 - 5/3/16 - PHOTO BY JOSHUA SUDOCK, STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER - Seven Muslim women and their attorneys held a joint press conference outside of the Orange County Central Justice Center in Santa Ana on Tuesday. The women claim they were asked to leave Urth Caffé in Laguna Beach on April 22nd because they were wearing hijabs, traditional headwear. The group is filing a discrimination lawsuit against the restaurant and are seeking punitive damages. The restaurant claims the women had been squatting on a table for several hours -- in violation of a policy posted on signs around the eatery. The women claim they'd only been in the place for, roughly, an hour and point out that the duration rules indicate that they would only be enforced if the restaurant was busy, and that there were actually many empty tables on the evening in question. They also claim that other patrons had been there longer and were not asked to leave. Picture made outside of the Orange County Central Justice Center in Santa Ana, California on Tuesday, May 3, 2016.Yesterday, the Urth Caffe in Laguna Beach filed its brief and evidentiary proofs supporting its lawsuit countersuing seven Muslim women for trespass.  The trespass claim followed on the heels of a lawsuit filed by the seven women claiming they were subjected to religious discrimination when the Urth Caffe asked them to leave because the women refused to abide by the café’s seating policy.  The women later made the fraudulent claim that they were evicted from the café because they wore hijabs—Islamic head coverings worn by some Muslim women.

The Urth Caffe brief was filed by the American Freedom Law Center (AFLC), a national public interest law firm retained by Urth Caffe.

David Yerushalmi, AFLC co-founder and senior counsel, issued the following statement:

“The underlying lawsuit claiming religious discrimination is a fraud and a hoax on the courts and the media.  It is nothing short of an abuse of process to extort public apologies and other accommodations from my client, Urth Caffe.”

Yerushalmi went on to explain:

“Urth Caffe did not discriminate against the women who have filed this fraudulent lawsuit.  The claim that these women were asked to leave the café because they were wearing hijabs is laughable.  That night, as every Friday night, a large number of young people, including a majority of whom are Muslim and of Arab descent, make up the base of Urth Caffe’s customers.  Not surprisingly, many of these customers are women wearing hijabs.  None of these other Muslim women was asked to leave.  The women who now claim victim status were not asked to leave, but only to abide by the café’s policy to give up their high-demand outside patio table after 45 minutes to allow other customers, including those wearing hijabs, to enjoy the experience.  The women refused to abide by the policy and began causing a scene and disrupting other patrons.  The police were called and only after 45 minutes passed did the women finally leave.  This is trespass plain and simple.”

The trespass countersuit, which was filed under oath as a verified cross-complaint, demonstrates that the seven women now claiming victim status were in fact the aggressors and guilty of trespass.

Yerushalmi added:

“Several key facts demonstrate the contrived and abusive nature of the women’s ‘discrimination’ claims.  First, one of two owners who manage the Urth Caffe is herself a Muslim woman.  Jilla Berkman, a co-owner of the Urth Caffe with her husband, was the one who actually authorized the call to the police after the women now claiming victim-status were loud and abusive to the Urth Caffe employees and refused to give up their table per the stated policy.  Second, the lead plaintiff in the frivolous lawsuit is Sara Farsakh, a college-age activist for Palestinian causes who self-promotes her involvement in radical organizations, at least one of which calls for the destruction of Israel.  Third, the organization behind the scenes of this fraudulent lawsuit is CAIR, or the Counsel on American-Islamic Relations.”

Robert Muise, AFLC co-founder and senior counsel, explained:

“CAIR, currently named a terrorist organization by the UAE, was previously named as an unindicted co-conspirator and Muslim Brotherhood-Hamas front group by the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the successful prosecution of a terrorist funding cell organized around one of the largest Muslim charities, the Holy Land Foundation (HLF).  HLF raised funds for violent jihad on behalf of Hamas, and top CAIR officials were part of the conspiracy.”

Muise added,

“It is not surprising that the FBI has publicly terminated its outreach activities with CAIR.  Moreover, this fraudulent lawsuit is what the Muslim Brotherhood itself describes as ‘civilization jihad.’  In other words, this lawsuit is being waged to use our anti-discrimination laws not for equal protection, but to attain special protection and rights for sharia-adherent Muslims who reject America and the Judeo-Christian values it stands for.”

AFLC has a history of successfully defending law-abiding Americans and American businesses against CAIR-induced lawsuits and represents five former CAIR clients, three of whom are Muslim, suing CAIR in federal court in the District of Columbia for fraud.  Recently, a federal court in Florida dismissed a CAIR lawsuit against a gun store owner in Florida, and a court in Michigan ordered a CAIR client to pay thousands of dollars in sanctions for issuing abusive subpoenas.

Yerushalmi remarked:

“This case will be no different.”