Australia’s grand mufti has won a defamation case against The Daily Telegraph newspaper over claims that the scholar failed to condemn the 2015 Paris attacks that left more than 100 people dead.
The Sydney-based tabloid, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s Newscorp, published the articles about Dr. Ibrahim Abu Mohamed in November last year, depicting him in a front-page spread as the proverbial three wise monkeys, calling the scholar the “unwise” mufti.
The publication lead to widespread condemnation and outrage in Australia’s Muslim community.
“The Grand Mufti is pleased to announce that the matter has now been resolved, and the Supreme Court of New South Wales has recorded a verdict in his favour,” The Australian National Imams Council said in a statement on Friday.
“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,” the statement added.
‘Lesson for the media’
Speaking to Al Jazeera from Sydney, Moustafa Kheir, the mufti’s lawyer, said the details of the settlement will not be made public.
“We are pleased the matter has settled and that a verdict has been entered in favour of the mufti,” Kheir said.
The Egypt-born cleric, Australia’s highest ranking Sunni Muslim, condemned the Paris attacks and sent his condolences to the families and friends of those killed before the tabloid published its controversial articles.
Mohamed argued in court that the articles suggested he had failed to condemn the deadly attacks.
In one of its front page articles, the paper used three photographs of the Muslim leader, based on the famous “see no evil, hear no, speak no evil” proverb. But the paper replaced the words with “sees no problem, hears no concerns, speaks no English.” The article was headlined: “The unwise Mufti.”
In a second publication, the tabloid run an article headlined: “Even Hamas condemn the Paris attacks so why won’t Australia’s Grand Mufti Ibrahim Abu Mohamed?”