The Telegraph has apologised and agreed to pay costs and damages to a husband and wife over an article that wrongly claimed they were responsible for an Islamist “Trojan Horse” plot at a primary school.
Nasim Ashraf and Hafizan Zaman were said to have plotted a “campaign of intimidation” to take over Clarksfield Primary School in Oldham with the “aim of imposing an aggressive and separatist agenda” on students.
The claims against the married couple were published in an article on the Telegraph website on 20 February, 2017 (pictured top).
In an apology published on Thursday, the Telegraph said: “We accept that such allegations are unfounded.”
Ashraf said: “We are very pleased that the Telegraph has apologised for what it accepts are completely false allegations.
“It is important that journalists report responsibly and not become ‘churnalists’, churning out any baseless accusation.
“In today’s times, as falsehood is spread quickly on the internet and accepted as true, this responsibility must be exercised with even greater care.
“Hafizan and I have done nothing but positively contribute in a society, which regrettably, finds many reasons to divide communities and it was therefore surprising to us that we had been targeted in this way.
“Whilst we are pleased and relieved that we have been cleared of any wrongdoing by the Telegraph, our struggle for justice shall continue until we have been vindicated by other media outlets who have also churned out similar defamatory allegations against us.”
The couple were represented in their claim against the Telegraph by Rahman Lowe Solicitors and Doughty Street Chambers.
The Telegraph apology in full:
“An article published on 20th February 2017 may have suggested that Mr Nasim Ashraf and Mrs Hafizan Zaman were responsible for a ‘Trojan Horse’ plot involving an Islamist campaign of intimidation to take over Clarksfield Primary School in Oldham with the aim of imposing an aggressive and separatist agenda on the students. We accept that such allegations are unfounded.
“We apologise to Mr Ashraf and Mrs Zaman for any distress caused and have agreed to pay them damages and costs.”