The Telegraph has been made to pay £30,000 in damages for falsely claiming that a Finsbury Park Mosque leader supported extremist violence.
The article, headlined: “Corbyn and the mosque leader who blames the UK for Isil”, was published in the Sunday Telegraph on 13 March 2016.
It claimed Mohammed Kozbar “blames Britain for Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant [Isil]” and had “called for the destruction of Israel and appeared to praise the recent wave of terrorist stabbings in that country”.
Kozbar issued a libel claim in relation to the article, written by Andrew Gilligan, and a UK court ruled that it had defamed him.
A statement, issued by Kozbar and his solicitor, was shared on Twitter by the Muslim Council of Britain’s Miqdaad Versi, who has himself challenged inaccuracies around Islam in the national press.
Kozbar said that he “regretted the lengthy and attritional process” rather than “the newspaper simply apologising and admitting fault.”
He added: “I felt that a defamation claim was the only option in order to protect my community at the Finsbury Park Mosque from continued Islamophobic media coverage.”
Kozbar claims he was “falsely portrayed by the newspaper as an individual who supported the use of violence in the Israel-Palestine conflict”.
He said: “I was also falsely described as someone who blamed the UK for Isil. The truth is that I abhor and condemn the use of violence in any situation.”
Kozbar’s lawyer, Jonathan Coad, said: “While there are many responsible elements of the press, the demonising of Muslims in some parts of it is incredibly destructive.”
In a correction statement issued by the Telegraph on 9 May, the newspaper said: “The Daily Telegraph has accepted an offer to settle the claim by payment of substantial damages and his costs to be agreed.”