London: Qari Asim – a British Pakistani Imam and British government advisor on Islamophobia, has won the defamation case against popular British newspaper –The Daily Mail.
Qari Muhammad Asim who is a senior Imam at Leeds Makkah Mosque and Chair of Mosques & Imams National Advisory Board was falsely accused of supporting Tehreek-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP) leader Khadim Rizvi’s November 2017 Faizabad sit-in demanding the capital punishment for Pakistani Christian woman Asia Bibi.
The Daily Mail, in an article titled, Revealed: government advisor on Islamophobia and cleric who called for hanging of Christian’ – published on 6 April, accused Mr Asim of supporting TLP leader Khadim Hussain Rizvi’s call for execution of Asia Bibi – a Pakistani Christian women who was acquitted on blasphemy charges by Supreme Court of Pakistan.
Mr Asim challenged the false claims of The Daily Mail in court, which ruled in his favour and the newspaper has been ordered to issue an official apology, pay due damages and Mr Asim’s legal expenses.
An apology has been published on MailOnline, MailOnline App, and in the print edition of the Mail on Sunday as part of the settlement.
“On 6 April 2019, we alleged that Mr Qari Asim MBE, through his support of a protest led by a number of individuals including an extremist cleric, Khadim Rizvi, supported the proposed hanging of a Christian woman (Asia Bibi) for blasphemy. We now accept that Mr Asim does not support the hanging of Asia Bibi. We are happy to make the position clear, and apologise to Mr Asim for any distress caused.”
Speaking to a private news channel, Qari Muhammad Asim, expressing his views on the verdict stated,
“I shared the statement which called for peaceful resolution of Faizabad sit-in to avoid loss of lives. I didn’t support Khadim Rizvi or his demands and have never supported him. I have always worked for peaceful coexistence in the UK and for the projection of Holy Prophet’s (Peace Be Upon Him) message of peace, religious harmony and human fraternity. What the Mail article said was opposite to what I stand for. The allegations were shocking, baseless and damaged my reputation.”
“I am pleased with the outcome of the case against Mail on Sunday. The allegation made against me in the Mail on Sunday was fundamentally incorrect. There is no one single statement of myself supporting Mr Khadim Rizvi’s extreme views,” he added.
Qari Muhammad Asim is a commercial lawyer, his parents are originally from Sialkot. Asim’s father Professor Hafiz Fateh Muhammad had taught at Islamic University Islamabad and University of Leeds – UK.