Owner of 'Taliban Toyota' Gets the Justice He Deserved

justiceLady Justice cheered today after a jury awarded Iranian-American car dealership owner Shawn Esfahani $7.5 million. His business in southwest Alabama was called "Taliban Toyota" by a nearby competitor who told their customers that purchasing a car from Esfahani would just give him money to send to the Taliban. The defendants implied to people that Esfahani was a terrorist who was helping fund Islamic insurgents. In reality, he has nothing to do with the Taliban, Afghanistan, nor wrongdoing whatsoever, and was rightfully offended by the slander. So he filed a lawsuit, and won.

Hopefully, this case will set an example.


There's a lot of anger in this country after 9/11, but using that horrible day to pray unduly on people's fears and to try and sell a four-door sedan is more than just disgraceful, it's un-American. Other businesses and persons who have been wrongly portrayed as terrorists should know now after Esfahani's case that they don't have to tolerate the abuse or aspersions.

Anyone who stoops to that level for any purpose, be it to sell cars or not, should be held accountable. While it's uncertain whether or not Esfahani will be given all the money he was awarded, the fact that he won in the courtroom might be enough for him. He told Reuters:

The feeling I received in the courtroom for the truth to come out was worth a lot more than any money anybody can give me.

And he might be right (though money never hurts, right?). This is an important case that has held the slanderous defendant accountable in a big way. Unfortunately, this nation has a dark past when it comes to civil rights and racism, but today's outcome shows that we're probably headed further away from that terrible time in history and closer to a new era. The fact that racist comments and judgements are still being made is by no means promising, but the fact that the guilty party was held responsible for their actions is very much so.

Do you agree?


Photo via dan4th/Flickr

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