Australia’s grand mufti wins defamation case against Sydney Daily Telegraph

Australia’s grand mufti has said he hopes his defamation win against two News Corp articles will be “the first step towards improved harmony between Muslims and the media.”

Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohammed took legal action last year over two stories published in Sydney’s Daily Telegraph Newspaper, which attacked his response to the terrorist attacks in France 18 months ago.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the attacks around Paris in November 2015, killing more than 130 people.

The grand mufti alleged two stories, including a front page depiction of him as three “unwise” monkeys, wrongly implied he was an apologist for the incidents, and had sought to shift blame away from the perpetrators.

One of the articles in question included a front page depiction of Dr Mohammed with his ears, eyes and mouth covered. The accompanying words included “sees no problems, hears no concerns, speaks no English.”

The second article was headlined: “Even Hamas condemn the Paris attacks so why won’t Australia’s Grand Mufti Ibrahim Abu Mohammed?”

As the case returned to court on Friday, Justice Lucy McCallum was told the matter had been settled, in confidential terms. A verdict was recorded for the grand mufti, with no order as to costs. The case was otherwise settled confidentially.

In a statement released after the verdict, the National Imams Council welcomed the result.

“The Grand Mufti Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohammed holds the highest religious post for an Islamic scholar in Australia,” the statement said.

“He has dedicated his life to the pursuit of knowledge, justice and peace, and is proud to continue to represent the religious views of the vast majority of Australian Muslims.

“It is hoped that the outcome of the proceedings is the first step towards improved harmony between Australian Muslims and the media in the future.”

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