A UK think-tank has announcement that it has defeated a libel action brought against it by a London mosque over the publication of its report “The Hijacking of British Islam.” According to the announcement by the Policy Exchange:
Policy Exchange is pleased to report that the libel action brought by the North London Central Mosque (NLCM) against it over its report The Hijacking of British Islam has now ended, following the dismissal of NLCM’s appeal against the order of Mr Justice Eady. NLCM has paid a substantial contribution towards Policy Exchange’s costs. A statement agreed between the parties appears on our website here. Policy Exchange has not apologised to NLCM for the publication of its report. In September 2008, the North London Central Mosque sought to sue Policy Exchange for libel over claims made in its report The Hijacking of British Islam. Policy Exchange denied that the claims were libelous. On 26 November 2009, Mr Justice Eady struck out NLCM’s claim on the grounds that the NLCM lacked the capacity to sue in respect of the report. NLCM sought the Court’s permission to appeal. This was twice refused. It was granted by Lord Justice Sedley on 21 April 2010 on the third time of asking. Lord Justice Sedley nevertheless emphasised that he did not believe there was a realistic prospect of NLCM overturning Mr Justice Eady’s ruling. In the meantime, in February 2010 the trustees of the mosque abandoned their individual claims in libel against Policy Exchange in respect of the same report and paid a substantial contribution to Policy Exchange’s legal costs. In October 2010 NLCM discontinued its appeal and paid a substantial contribution to Policy Exchange’s legal costs. Following that agreement the appeal was dismissed by the Court of Appeal on 5 October 2010. Policy Exchange agreed to publish the statement which appears here. Policy Exchange has not apologised to either the mosque or the trustees for the publication of the report. The case is now closed. A spokesman for Policy Exchange said: ‘We are delighted that this case has now been brought to a satisfactory conclusion.’
The Policy Exchange investigation found that radical material, much of it from Saudi Arabia, was available in 25% of the mosques visited including some of the most important mosques in the U.K. According to the report summary:
On the one hand, the results were reassuring: in only a minority of institutions – approximately 25% – was radical material found. What is more worrying is that these are among the best-funded and most dynamic institutions in Muslim Britain – some of which are held up as mainstream bodies. Many of the institutions featured here have been endowed with official recognition. This has come in the form of, official visits from politicians and even members of the Royal Family; provision of funding; ‘partnership’ associations; or some other seal of approval. Within the literature identified here, a number of key themes emerge – many of which focus around the twin concepts of ‘loyalty’ and ‘enmity’. Simply put, these notions demand that the individual Muslim must not merely feel deep affection for and identity with, his fellow believers and with all that is authentically Islamic. The individual Muslim must also feel an abhorrence for non-believers, hypocrites, heretics, and all that is deemed ‘un-Islamic’. The latter category encompasses those Muslims who are judged to practise an insufficiently rigorous form of Islam. Much of the material is thus infused with a strident sectarianism, in which many Muslims – particularly the very large number of Sufis in this country and around the world – are placed beyond the pale. More widely, Muslims are urged to separate themselves from people and things that are not considered Islamic; a separation that is to be mental, emotional, and at times, even physical. Western society, in particular, is held to be sinful, corrosive and corrupting for Muslims. Western values – particularly concerning the position and rights of women and in the realm of sexuality generally – are rejected as inimical to Islam.
The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), an umbrella organization heavily dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood, responded to the report by stating:
The Hijacking of British Islam’ plumbs new depths in the ongoing and transparent attempts to try and delegitimise popular mainstream Islamic institutions in the UK and replace them with those who are subservient to neo-conservative aims. The report cultivates an insidious programme of generating sectarianism amongst British Muslims by preferring some traditions of Islam over others.
Many of the mosques identified in the Policy Exchange report are members of the MCB.
(Note: A video exchange between a Policy Exchange official and head of the MCB can be seen here.
The British Muslim Initiative (BMI), a U.K. Muslim Brotherhood organization claimed that the report itself was “wildly fabricated.”and called on the Conservative Party to “reconsider their close relationship with Policy Exchange.”