BBC apology and £45k damages to Muslim leader

The BBC has apologised and paid £45,000 in damages to the secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain over comments made about him by former Daily Telegraph editor Charles Moore on Question Time.

The BBC issued its apology to Dr Muhammad Abdul Bari at the high court in London this morning and agreed to pay damages and legal costs.

The court heard that during the BBC1 Question Time programme on 12 March a member of the public asked the panel: “Should these protests we saw last week when the Royal Anglia Regiment came to Luton be banned?”.

It was a reference to protests organised by a group of Muslims targeting the British troops.

In response to the question, Moore suggested that despite having been asked many times to condemn the kidnapping and killing of British soldiers, the Muslim Council of Britain had failed to do so and so implicitly condoned such acts.

He further suggested that the leadership of the MCB believes the kidnapping and killing of British soldiers to be a good and Islamic thing.

Although Bari was not mentioned by name, his lawyers Carter Ruck argued that by talking about the “leadership” of the MCB, Moore had libelled Bari in his capacity as leader and chief spokesperson of the MCB.

His solicitor Adam Tudor said in court today: “My Lord, I am pleased to say that the defendant accepts that these allegations about the claimant are untrue.

“The claimant does not condone the kidnapping and killing of British soldiers and does not believe this would be a good or Islamic thing to do.

“In fact in 2007 the claimant said publicly that the killing of British troops in Iraq was unacceptable.”

Bari has said he will pay the damages to charity.

The BBC said that it “apologises unreservedly to the claimant for the allegations broadcast on Question Time and is pleased to set the record straight”.

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