The UK’s High Court has dismissed a case against Muslim campaigner Fiyaz Mughal after he accused Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper of libel.
Mughal, who heads the ‘anti-Islamophobia’ group TellMAMA, is known for threatening legal action against people who have publicly disagreed with him and his organisation’s research methods.
The Press Gazette reports that on June 1st 2013, the Sunday Telegraph criticised the way TellMAMA logged attacks on Muslims. At the time, TellMAMA claimed there had been a serious increase in ‘Islamophobic’ attacks after the murder of soldier Lee Rigby, but they were questioned as to the inclusion of anonymous tweets as racially or religiously motivated ‘attacks’.
Mughal said the Sunday Telegraph gave the impression he was a “Muslim extremist… more extremist in his views and actions than the far-right extremists in the English Defence League” and a “hypocrite” who “falsely portrays himself as being anti extremist”.
But in a decision that will no doubt haunt Mughal and TellMAMA, Mr Justice Tugendhat quoted the principle under article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights that there is “little scope … for restrictions on political speech or on debate on questions of public interest.”
He also said that former Daily Telegraph editor was entitled to criticise Mughal’s views without impugning his character.
TellMAMA has received hundreds of thousands of pounds in government funding, though this was famously axed after questions about the organisation’s direction and output. It was revealed that TrendingCentral website that the organisation’s legal representation is the same as that of controversial Member of Parliament George Galloway and hate preacher Daud Abdullah. The lawyer in question is called Farooq Bajwa, who has threatened various individuals with legal action about what his firm calls “libellous tweets”., but it was revealed on the
A Telegraph Media Group spokesman said: “The Telegraph is pleased with today’s judgement. The column by Charles Moore was an editorial comment piece written in the aftermath of the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby and contained no defamatory element or allegation against Fiyaz Mughal, as supported by today’s verdict.
“This case followed an unsuccessful Press Complaints Commission complaint brought against The Telegraph on a different topic.”