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High Court determines meaning of “Challenging Hateful Extremism” report, in libel claim.

Chowdhury Mueen-Uddin v Secretary of State For The Home Department [2021] EWHC 269 (QB)

Related Member(s):
Ben Silverstone
Related Practice Area(s):
Media and Information Law

This is a libel action, coupled with a data protection claim. The Claimant is a British citizen, originally from Bangladesh (at that time East Pakistan), who is a senior and prominent member of the Muslim community in the UK and who helped to set up the Muslim Council of Britain and served as the vice chairman of the East London Mosque. The claims arise out of the report entitled “Challenging Hateful Extremism” which was published in hard copy and online on or about 7 October 2019 by the Commission for Countering Extremism. The purpose of this hearing is to determine meaning.

Held: the Hard Copy Report means that the Claimant:

  • was one of those responsible for war crimes committed during a 1971 War of Independence in South Asia; and
  • has committed crimes against humanity during a 1971 War of Independence in South Asia.

Meanings (i) and (ii) are allegations of fact, which are defamatory of the Claimant at common law. The words complained of in the Online Report mean the same as in the Hard Copy Report and that meaning is defamatory of the Claimant at common law.

Mr Ben Silverstone was involved in this case.