Daily Telegraph pays ‘substantial damages’ to UK mosque leader for defamation


Mosque leader Mohammed Kozbar sued after Telegraph published story claiming he holds extremist views

The Daily Telegraph, a widely circulated UK media outlet, paid more than $40,000 in damages on Wednesday as part of a defamation settlement to Finsbury Park mosque leader Mohammed Kozbar.

Kozbar sued the Telegraph for defamation after it published a story critical of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s relationship with the mosque leader that claimed he holds extremist views.

The court ruled in favour of Kozbar, prompting the Telegraph to take down the article and issue a retraction.

“The Daily Telegraph has accepted an offer to settle the claim by payment of substantial damages and his costs to be agreed,” it read.

In a statement, Kozbar and his lawyer Jonathan Coad said: “I am delighted with the result but regret the lengthy and attritional process that was required to reach to this point rather than the newspaper simply apologising and admitting fault.

“The Daily Telegraph has been forced to pay substantial damages. However, I felt that a defamation claim was the only option in order to protect my community at the Finsbury Park Mosque from continuing Islamophobic media coverage,” it added.

“It was not just myself who was the target of this article, it was Jeremy Corbyn,” said Kozbar in a Guardian article on Wednesday.

“The aim was to damage the reputation of Jeremy and make his progress with the Labour party more difficult,” he added.

The libellous article said Kozbar advocated violence between Palestinians and Israelis as well as blaming the UK for the rise of the Islamic State (IS) group.

As part of the released statement, Coad said the article “should have never been published”.

“These legal proceedings should never have been necessary,” he said.

Source: Middle East Eye