UK Times pays libel damages to imam - iMediaEthics

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A 2010 Sunday Times (Credit: Flickr/PROHoward Lake)

Th UK Times reported that Imam Abdullah Patel “blamed the West and Israel” after a British policeman was killed.

Now, the Times is acknowledging the imam never said that and corrected other errors about him, as part of a libel settlement. The Times is also paying Patel damages.

Patel’s lawyer told iMediaEthics that the comments the Times said Patel made about the policeman were made by someone else and that Patel was only nine years old at the time of the incident.

Patel was in the news because he asked UK politicians during a BBC debate about Islamophobia. After his appearance during the debate, Patel was suspended from his job as a schoolteacher in Gloucester over his tweets about Israel and that women should “be smarter” to avoid assault and to not be “alone with a man,” according to the Guardian. Patel’s lawyer told iMediaEthics, “He was suspended as a matter of standard practice over the whole fiasco however, he then returned to work and remains there still.”

In a statement on his lawyer’s website, Patel is quoted as saying in part, “I will continue holding anyone, including politicians to task for stoking the flames of anti-Muslim sentiment”.

In a Dec. 11 correction, the Times said:

“In articles published in The Times on 20 June 2019 concerning Abdullah Patel, an Imam and teacher in Gloucester who appeared on a televised Conservative Party hustings, we stated that Mr Patel made a comment which blamed the West and Israel following the murder of a British policeman by a terror suspect. This gave the impression that he had expressed views which excused or explained acts of terrorism. We accept that he did not make any such comment. We also incorrectly stated that Mr Patel had taught at a Deobandi seminary in Bury and that the school at which he worked in Gloucester had been the subject of criticism by Ofsted for segregating parents at events. In fact, Ofsted’s criticism predated Mr Patel’s time working at the primary school. We apologise to Mr Patel for the distress caused and have agreed to pay him damages and costs.”

Patel’s lawyer, Zillur Rahman, told iMediaEthics by e-mail, ” The offending article suggested that our client had posted comments with respect to the death of PC Oake in Manchester in 2003 who was killed by a terrorist. The posts that were being relied on sought to condone the killing of the officer. These posts were of course not from our client and he was 9 years of age at the time. This shows just how shoddy the article was.”

Hat Tip: Reddit

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UK Times pays libel damages to imam

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