Policy Exchange admits NLCM clear of any wrong-doing

Policy Exchange admits NLCM clear of any wrong-doing

Following NLCM win right to appeal, Policy Exchange's offer of out of court settlement accepted

On 27 October 2007, the Policy Exchange published a report entitled “The Hijacking of British

Islam” in which they named the North London Central Mosque Trust as one of a number of

mosques in the UK which they alleged were purveyors of extremist and hate literature.

As is well known, the Trustees and management of the NLCM have worked hard since the

take-over in 2005 to cleanse the Mosque from the violence, extremism and intolerance that

it was linked with previously during the time it was controlled by people such as Abu

Hamza. The ethos of the Mosque is to be embracing of all individuals regardless of their

race, religion or gender, to work for social cohesion and to encourage Muslims to play a

leading role in British society. The Management take-over was a pivotal event in the

community which involved local Muslim community and organizations alongside the

Government, the local Authorities, the Police and Members of Parliament. The allegations

contained in the Report were therefore not only offensive and defamatory but undermined

the huge and important efforts by all who were involved in the take-over.

The Mosque trustees and management have always emphatically denied the claims

contained in the Report. Moreover, the Report appeared to be based on highly suspicious

methods of research and the evidence on which the Mosque was named was entirely

dubious as exposed by the Newsnight excellent investigative report by Richard Watson. The

failure of Policy Exchange to sue Newsnight over Watson's report, despite explicitly

threatening to do so in front of millions of viewers, is telling how shaky the grounds Policy

Exchange stands on regarding their report, the report they took off their website completely

after settling with another mosque similarly accused in the report.

In 2007, a claim by NLCM was issued against the Policy Exchange, and the author of the

Report, Denis MacEoin, for defamation. At the first stage in the High Court, the claim was

struck out, not on the basis of its merit, which we maintain was strong, but on the technical

capacity of unincorporated charities not being able to be claimants in defamation cases in

their own right, a loop in the law we believe legislators should look at. In April of this year,

the Court of Appeal, after hearing legal argument from the Mosque regarding charities and

defamation law, gave us permission to appeal against the decision striking out our claim. The

case would potentially have had far-reaching implications for unincorporated charities all

across the UK. The appeal was listed for October 2010. We were confident of our chances of

success; however, being trustees of a charity, we had to act in the best interests of the

Mosque and decided that rather than continuing the risks of litigation, we would accept a

request by Policy Exchange to settle out of court after we won the right to appeal. In the

circumstances, the Policy Exchange has now published on their website the following

statement:

In our Report’ The Hijacking of British Islam’, published in October 2007, we stated that

the North London Central Mosque was one of the mosques where extremist literature was

found. Policy Exchange has never sought to suggest that the literature cited in the Report

was sold or distributed at the Mosque with the knowledge or consent of the Mosque’s

trustees or staff.

We are happy to set the record straight.

 

The Mosque is now cleared of any false accusations of being a purveyor of extremist

literature.

We trust that no allegations of this nature will be repeated.

The Board of Trustees

03/11/2010

For more information please contact:

Mohammed Kozbar (Trustee) 07956546178

 

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