Last week, the Guardian published an article in which the author, Delwar Hussain, named a number of prominent British Muslims who have been associated with war crimes in the Genocide of East Pakistan in 1971.
We discussed the article on the Spittoon, in which we expressed our expectation that the Guardian was bound to get sued by Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin for publishing Delwar’s piece:
Being an extremely litigious sort of individual, published reports which recounted these allegations have almost always been silenced by a swift libel notice from Mueen-Uddin’s lawyers and it is very likely that the Guardian might also be forced to retract that article in a similar manner.
Harry’s Place made a similar assertion:
Mueen-Uddin usually responds to these reports by instructing Carter Ruck to fire off a letter before action. Perhaps he won’t this time, and is now content to be described as a war criminal and the murderer of Bangladeshi patriots. If not, I hope that the Guardian stands its ground when the letter before action comes flying.
Well that is exactly what has happened.
Following a “legal complaint”, the Guardian has been forced to remove all references to Mueen-Uddin from both the article from all comments below the line. The article on CiF now shows this message:
• On 13 October this article was changed following a legal complaint.
This was one of the sections that was expunged from Delwar’s article:
A Channel Four documentary from 1995 made allegations of involvement by British Bangladeshis in the genocide. Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin, director of Muslim Spiritual Care Provision in the NHS, who was until recently vice-chairman of the East London Mosque and London Muslim Centre and was involved in setting up the Muslim Council of Britain, is one of the most prominent people to be accused of having carried out war crimes.
Mueen-Uddin is alleged to have been part of a group that abducted and “disappeared” people. Witnesses at the time describe seeing him kidnapping a university professor and a journalist in Dhaka during the war. Mueen-Uddin told the documentary makers “all the accusations being made against me are … utterly false and malicious, and either politically motivated or instigated otherwise”.
Having left the newly created country of Bangladesh for London, Mueen-Uddin, along with other members of JI set up Islamic Forum Europe, an avowedly Islamist organisation connected to the East London Mosque.
This is a shocking and disgraceful tactic from one of Britain’s more notorious resident-Islamists. Mueen-Uddin is simply taking full advantage of British defamation laws which are strongly weighted in favour of claimants and against freedom of expression.
Following closely in the heels of the Trafigura gagging order, this is yet another example of the Guardian being silenced at the wave of a chequebook. But the Trafigura incident did demonstrate to us how e-activism on twitter can be used as pressure-tool to reverse and withdraw gagging orders.
Those who are in favour of freedom of expression and justice in Britain must counter this despicable underhand move by Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin.
Harry’s Place picks up the story.
Thanks to the efforts of judges like Mr Justice Eady, and England’s claimant-friendly law of Defamation, activists connected to Jamaat-e-Islami and the Muslim Brotherhood routinely instruct their solicitors to fire off letters before action, claiming that their poor client’s reputations have been sullied, whenever blogs or newspapers report on their clients’ words, deeds, or the politics of the organisations to which they belong. Harry’s Place receives these sorts of letters all the time.