Sunday Express pays damages to Islamic school

A west London school and its director today accepted libel damages over a newspaper claim that it had been infiltrated by Islamic fanatics.

The King Fahad Academy and Dr Sumaya Alyusuf sued over story which appeared in the Sunday Express in June last year.

The article wrongly stated that the Acton day school, which has more than 500 pupils aged from three to 18, taught an extremist form of Islam, and some readers may have understood it to suggest it had been infiltrated by dangerous fanatics, Clare Kissin, for the school and Dr Alyusuf told Mr Justice Tugendhat at the High Court.

"The King Fahad Academy does not teach an extreme form of Islam, nor does it teach its students anti-Semitism or any form of racism, and it has not been infiltrated by Islamic fanatics," she told the judge.

In fact, the school had changed from providing a Saudi-based curriculum taught in Arabic to an international curriculum in English, with Arabic being taught as a subject alongside others, she said.

The school had opted to be inspected by Ofsted and its latest report said that its ethos promoted respect and harmony between different cultures and beliefs.

Kissin said Express Newspapers had apologised and agreed to pay damages and costs.

Dr Alyusuf said later: "I am very pleased that the newspaper has withdrawn and apologised for these allegations.

"The school can now concentrate on its mission to provide a world class international education to students through a well-balanced curriculum which aims to produce citizens who appreciate the multicultural world in which we live."

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