PRESS RELEASE: IHRC Statement regarding libellous articles in The Mail on Sunday (23rd July 2006) and The Sun (24th July 2006)

Islamic Human Rights Commission

24 July 2006

PRESS RELEASE: IHRC Statement regarding libellous articles in The Mail on Sunday (23rd July 2006) and The Sun (24th July 2006)

IHRC is deeply saddened by the libellous and malicious attacks on it and in particular its chair, Massoud Shadjareh in the Mail on Sunday newspaper yesterday and The Sun today. The latter article was based, it appears on the first, and no right to reply was afforded our organisation or Mr. Shadjareh.

As regards both articles, IHRC’s complaints involve the false portrayal of a briefing aimed primarily at press and policymakers that appears on our website as a ‘call’, ‘comments’ and an ‘outburst’ from Mr. Shadjareh to ‘his followers’ and ‘British Muslims’ to provide financial assistance to Hizbullah, and called on Hizbullah to occupy Israel and undertake ‘regime change’. In actual fact the briefing entitled, ‘The Blame Game: International Law and the Current Crisis in the Middle East’ which can be found at:
discusses the position of Lebanon and nation states in the current Middle East crisis and positions of nation states regarding Israeli failure to comply within resolutions on Palestine.

Both articles in the Mail on Sunday and The Sun suggested that Mr. Shadjareh and IHRC advocated terrorism and was set in the context of so-called concerns by security services in the UK at the possibility of terror attacks on Jewish, Israeli and British targets. It was maliciously implied that IHRC and Mr. Shadjareh were somehow connected to that threat. Neither Mr. Shadjareh or IHRC have advocated or supported terrorism and work with people across communities to oppose Israeli human rights violations, including in the current context, war crimes. IHRC has called for an immediate cease fire and called on the British government to be evenhanded in its dealings in the current crisis. This call was supported by a number of MPs, activists, academics and civil society organisations in a statement printed in the Times last Saturday, a day before the first of the libellous articles appeared in the Mail on Sunday.

The statement can be found on our website at:
Call for Ceasefire, and Call to British Government for Evenhandedness

There are various other complaints that are being raised regarding the articles, however it is pertinent to pint out that both articles imply that the wearing of the Hizbullah flag is somehow sinister or a symbol of a terrorist threat to the UK. Pictures of Rabbis with the Hizbullah flag were sent to The Mail on Sunday before the article was printed, however neither article saw fit to mention the incident or infer from it that Rabbis may be a terrorist threat. Had either reporter been present at the Stop the War rally in London on Saturday last, they would have seen many people from different confessions and none , sport the Hizbulah flag and heard messages of support for Hizbullah from non-Muslims voiced from the platform. Again neither article focussed on this but made misleadingly portrayed a briefing on international law as a call by and to Muslim ‘fanatics’ in the UK.

IHRC expects that both newspapers will print an apology to both Mr. Shadjareh and IHRC.

For more information please contact (+44) 20 8904 4222 or (+44) 7958 522196 or email

Notes to editors:

1. The Mail on Sunday article is entitled ‘MI5 fears Hezbollah terror attacks in Britain’ and is written by Jason Lewis.

2. The Sun article dated 24th July is entitled ‘Fanatic’s cash aid call’ and is written by Harry Macadam.

Islamic Human Rights Commission
PO Box 598
United Kingdom

Telephone (+44) 20 8904 4222
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