Islam Expo press release, 27 August 2010
On 15 July 2008, the Spectator website published an article by Stephen Pollard (editor of the Jewish Chronicle) entitled “Demos and Genocide”. That article unfairly and falsely referred to Islam Expo as a racist, fascist and genocidal organisation.
As is well-known, we at Islam Expo host exhibitions which explore a wide range of issues relating to Islam and Muslims and which seek not only to educate visitors about the positive and progressive aspects of this religion, but also to provide a neutral and all-inclusive platform in which people of all races, religions and viewpoints can gather to discuss topics relating to Islam without fear of reprisal or restriction. The Directors and organisers of Islam Expo had worked, and continue to work, hard to establish a good reputation for providing a venue where people can attend our events and debate openly, building an understanding and mutual tolerance. These events are also attended by a wide range of leading academics, politicians and journalists.
Islam Expo was therefore justifiably outraged and dismayed to learn that we had been referred to in this way. As neither Mr Pollard nor the Spectator agreed to our initial request for an apology, we had no option but to seek vindication via litigation.
We are pleased to report that the Spectator and Mr Pollard have now agreed to publish an apology on the Spectator website in the following terms:
“Islam Expo: Stephen Pollard and the Spectator apologise for the unintended and false suggestion in a blog published on 15 July 2008 that Islam Expo Limited is a fascist party dedicated to genocide which organised a conference with a racist and genocidal programme. We accept that Islam Expo’s purpose is to provide a neutral and broad-based platform for debate on issues relating to Muslims and Islam.”
This appeared on front page of the Spectator today:
In addition, the Spectator and Mr Pollard have undertaken never to repeat the allegations complained of and agreed to pay damages to compensate us for the damage done to our reputation by the article. They have also agreed to pay our legal costs.
Litigation was not and is not our preferred option and we prefer to deal with everyone on an open and amicable basis. However, when false and serious allegations are published that seek to discredit and damage the reputation of Islam Expo, and the publishers refuse to apologise, then we have no option but to take legal action. We are delighted with the eventual outcome in this matter.
We hope that in future third parties intending to write about us will attend our future events which remain, as ever, open and welcoming to all, and be fair and objective in their comments.
(On behalf of ISLAM EXPO DIRECTORS: Mohammad Sawalha, Ismail Patel and Anas Altikriti)