The leader and ex deputy leader of Britain First have agreed to pay “substantial damages” to settle a libel claim after they falsely accused the Halal Food Authority of funding terrorism.
Paul Golding and Jayda Fransen made the false claims in two videos which were published to their followers on social media platforms in February 2017.
They made similar “wholly untrue and defamatory” allegations about Salahudeen Kara, a former auditor and technical manager for the HFA, and Tanveer Parkar, who was the head of market development and customer relations.
Both men and the HFA sued Golding and Fransen for libel and breach of the Data Protection Act, and the case was settled after the pair agreed to pay damages.
In a statement, Ben Gallop, representing the HFA, Mr Kara and Mr Parkar, told Justice Matthew Nicklin at the High Court in London on Monday: “This matter concerns two videos which were published by the defendants on various social media platforms on 2 and 6 February 2017. The first of these videos conveyed a wholly untrue and defamatory allegation about the second and third claimants (Kara and Parkar), accusing them of being engaged in clandestine funding of Islamic terrorist organisations such as ISIS. Both videos conveyed the same false and defamatory allegation about the HFA.
“This caused real distress for Mr Kara and Mr Parkar, both of whom feared for their safety as a result of the publication of the videos to a very substantial number of the defendants’ followers. This incident had a detrimental impact on their personal lives and their integrity was questioned by family and the members of the wider community…
“The defendants offered no defence to the claim and the matter was settled after the defendants consented to judgment being entered against them for substantial damages. The defendants gave undertakings to the court not to repeat their untrue allegation that the claimants are involved in the funding of Islamist terrorism, or any similar allegation..
“There was never any basis for the defendants’ allegations, and their unequivocal capitulation in the face of the claimants’ claim puts that beyond doubt. Mr Kara and Mr Parkar have been vindicated and have achieved all of their objectives in bringing the claim.”
Reaction to the news, Muslim group MEND said: “Such allegations stand amidst widespread sensationalism around the halal food industry intended to stoke animosity against the Islamic faith and minority communities.
“Attacks against the halal food industry under the guise of animal welfare; bans on halal slaughter; various ‘boycott-halal’ campaigns and allegations of connections to extremism all form part of the minefield of systematic attempts by the global Islamophobia industry. These attacks not only undermine the halal food industry but stir up religious hatred against an already marginalised community.”
In 2018, both Golding and Fransen were convicted of religiously aggravated harassment. Golding was jailed for 18 weeks and Fransen for 36 weeks.