Ummah Welfare Trust trustees receive apology over false terrorist link allegations

Express Newspapers joins in statement in open court

Four Trustees of the Amanat Charity Trust, a charitable organisation more commonly known as the Ummah Welfare Trust, have today received an apology from Express Newspapers over false allegations linking them to terrorism and extremism.

The Trustees, Idris Atcha, Mohammed Idris, Zaker Patel and Muhammad Ahmad Seedat, had each worked for many years for the Ummah Welfare Trust, which has an annnual charitable expenditure of around £4.5m.

An article was published on the Defendant’s website from 27 December 2009 until 19 January 2010 entitled “Jet Bomb Ordered by 9/11 Spiritual Leader” which carried a series of false and defamatory allegations about the Ummah Welfare Trust.

The article alleged a link between the Ummah Welfare Trust and Anwar al Awlaki, the Al Qaeda commander who is said to have been the spiritual leader of those responsible for the terrorist attacks in the United States on 11 September 2001 and who apparently ordered the attempt to blow up an aeroplane over the United States on Christmas Day 2009. The claim was made that al Awlaki was one of the Charity’s “favourite speakers”.

The joint statement in open court, read before Mr Justice Eady, recorded that in fact the Charity did not have any connections with Anwar al Awlaki, the Claimants had never met him and did not support or condone his extremist views or objectives. The Charity had never hosted a speech or sermon by al Awlaki nor had it invited him to speak at any of the Charity’s events.

That allegation, and others made in the article, were withdrawn by Express Newspapers, which apologised to the trustees for the severe hurt and embarassment caused.

The statement recorded that the Defendant had agreed to pay the Claimants a substantial sum in damages, which the Claimants proposed to apply to the Charity’s funds.

Jacob Dean acted for the Claimant trustees, instructed by Carter-Ruck.

The Trustees of UWT v Express Newspapers