Imam Wins Landmark Battle Against 'Muslim McCarthyism'

April 8, 2009

Author: Tom Whitehead

Source: Telegraph

Dr Taj Hargey won substantial damages from the Muslim Weekly newspaper in a High Court libel case after it accused him of not being a true Muslim.

Dr Hargey, who previously backed a school's legal battle over its refusal to let a pupil wear the niqab in class, claimed the attack reflected tactics by the "Muslim Establishment" to smear those who question their authority.

In what is believed to be the first case of its kind in the UK, Dr Hargey sued and won a five-figure sum from the newspaper.

Dr Hargey said: "This historic case highlights the right to freedom and dissent within the British Muslim community and represents a crushing defeat for Muslim McCarthyism in this country.

"Just as US politicians terrorized the American electorate by unfairly labelling their foes as communists or communist sympathisers, the Muslim clergy uses the same intimadatory tactics to impose theological uniformity and cultural compliance in the community.

"Iconoclastic thinkers, liberals and non-conformists who dare to challenge this self-assumed religious authority in Islam by presenting a rational or alternative interpretation of their faith are invariably branded as apostates, heretics and non-believers."

Dr Hargey, chairman of the Muslim Educational Centre of Oxford (MECO), had brought proceedings in London's High Court against the publisher and editor-in-chief of The Muslim Weekly, a leading newspaper within the community.