Court Date Set for Massachusetts Lawsuit Seeking to Block Teaching of Genocide

BOSTON–A hearing date on whether or not to consider an Assembly of Turkish American Associations backed lawsuit to compel the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to include denialist material in their Armenian Genocide curriculum resource materials has been set for September 18th–reported the Armenian National Committee of Eastern Massachusetts.

US District Chief Judge Mark Wolf scheduled a hearing for oral argumen’s on the Commonwealth of Massachusetts motion to dismiss the lawsuit–filed by the ATAA–two teachers and a student.

"We welcome the scheduling of a hearing date and look forward to the court taking this opportunity to dismiss this clearly unfounded and deeply flawed lawsuit," said ANC of Eastern Massachusetts Chair Sharistan Ardhaldjian. "The authors of this suit – in acting as effective surrogates for Armenian Genocide deniers in Ankara – have committed a grave disservice to the truth–to the cause of tolerance–and the growing worldwide movement to prevent genocide."

The ATAA lawsuit calls for the inclusion of their website in a list of educational sources for teachers–as part of a teacher’s guide on genocide education provided by the State. The ATAA lawsuit also calls for the addition of other websites–including that of the Embassy of the Republic of Turkey–which the ATAA had lobbied to include in the guide–but were disqualified because they denied the Armenian Genocide–in direct contravention of the Massachusetts statute requiring the teaching of the Armenian Genocide.

Soon after the lawsuit was introduced–the Massachusetts District Attorney’s office had filed a motion to dismiss the case. The Armenian Bar Association joined with the Armenian National Committee of America–Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action–the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)–and Irish Immigration Center–in filing a friend of the court brief in March 2006–in support of the dismissal–arguing that inclusion of Genocide denial materials in the curriculum would fly in the face of repeated Massachusetts proclamations and State Resolutions properly characterizing the Armenian Genocide as ‘genocide.’ The collective brief may be read at: http://www.armenianbar.org/amicus/BriefofAmiciCuriae.pdf

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