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Standard and Mail pay damages over suicide bomber slur to Muslim academic

Bomber: Omar Sharif had targeted a Tel Aviv bar in April 2003, with a fellow bomber who killed three people.

A teaching assistant at the London School of Economics accepted substantial undisclosed libel damages over claims that he had "groomed" a suicide bomber, the Press Association has reported. Reza Pankhurst brought proceedings at London's High Court over stories which appeared in the Daily Mail and the Evening Standard in January.

His counsel, Lucy Moorman, told Justice Tugendhat that they falsely alleged that the father of two had groomed Omar Sharif for his attempted suicide bombing mission in Tel Aviv in 2003. Moorman said that as an undergraduate at King's College, Pankhurst had limited contact with Sharif, the report said.

In 2003, he was in prison in Egypt, had been adopted by Amnesty International as a prisoner of conscience, and had had no contact with Sharif for at least eight years. She added that Pankhurst had never groomed anyone to carry out an act of terrorism and was committed to furthering the cause of Muslims in an exclusively non-violent way.

Moorman said that Associated Newspapers Ltd and Evening Standard Ltd had published apologies and also agreed to pay Pankhurst substantial damages and his legal costs.

According to Press Gazette, Pankhurst launched a libel action against the two papers over article which appeared in the Standard and the Mail on January 15 with the respective headlines “LSE’s Islamist teacher ‘groomed suicide bomber for Tel Aviv attack,” and “Revealed: Islamist preacher who lectures at top London university ‘groomed suicide bomber.” A third article headed “Teaching at a leading university ‘the mentor of a suicide bomber’” appeared in the Mail the following day.

Date posted: July 29, 2010 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 151