Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari awarded £45,000 in libel damages
THE BBC has today apologised and paid £45,000 in libel damages to the head of the Muslim Council of Britain over comments made against him by a panellist on Question Time.
Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari made his libel complaint following the broadcast of the flagship programme on 12 March.
During the broadcast, the panel was asked about the controversial protests in March against British troops who were parading in Luton on their return from duty in Iraq.
During the discussion that followed, a Question Time panellist suggested that despite having been asked many times to condemn the kidnapping and killing of British soldiers, the leadership of the MCB had failed to do so.
Adam Tudor, representing Mr Bari in the High Court, said that although his client was not mentioned by name “the ‘leadership’ of the MCB was referred to.”
He added: “As the BBC has now accepted, these statements would have been understood by viewers to suggest that the MCB and Dr Bari in fact condoned such atrocities. The panellist further suggested that the MCB leadership believed the kidnapping and killing of British soldiers to be a good and Islamic thing.”
In a joint statement issued at the High Court the BBC said they confirmed to Mr Justice Eady, sitting at the High Court, that the allegations were “untrue” and that “Dr Bari certainly does not condone such atrocities, nor does he believe that it is a good or Islamic thing to carry out such attacks.”
The BBC also issued an apology to Mr Bari on the Question Time website.
Speaking today Dr Bari, who will donate his libel damages to charity, said: “As the MCB and I had made clear even before the Question Time broadcast, we do not support attacks on British soldiers anywhere in the world. We are deeply saddened by the senseless loss of lives both amongst UK soldiers and the many thousands of civilians in both Iraq and Afghanistan. We are therefore pleased that the BBC has today set the record straight.”