January 13, 2014
Judge awards Claimants £45,000 each
Politician and businessman defamed by Urdu newspaper
Mohammad Asghar, a Member of the Welsh Assembly, and Abdul Rahman Mujahid, a businessman active in the South Wales Muslim community, have each been awarded £45,000 following a trial in the Cardiff District Registry to determine the quantum of damages due to them arising from libels published in the Urdu newspaper Nawa-i-Jang. The newspaper is widely read by Urdu speaking communities.
The newspaper made a number of serious allegations against both claimants in connection with a dispute concerning two mosques based in South Wales. Mr Mujahid had been challenged by an opposing group in regard to his position as a trustee of the mosques. Mr Asghar had interceded in order to try to settle the dispute.
The newspaper alleged, among other things, that Mr Asghar had breached the peace in a mosque, had sought to turn different groups of Muslims against each other and was involved in financial scandals and corruption. The allegations made against Mr Mujahid largely concerned his role as a trustee of the two mosques. It was alleged that he had taken ownership of the mosques for his own personal benefit. It was also alleged that he had been involved in various other dishonest activities in his role as a businessman.
A significant factor in the judge’s reason for awarding damages at these levels was the humiliation and damage to reputation suffered by each claimant within the South Wales Muslim community. The evidence before court focused upon the damage caused to the claimants within that community.