Interesting Muslim academic Joel Hayward wins libel case against Mail on Sunday and Daily Mail

Former RAF Dean Professor Joel Hayward, a Muslim, secures substantial libel win against Associated Newspapers

Associated Newspapers pays 'substantial' libel damages to professor it branded 'Ayatollah of the RAF'

The former Dean of RAF College Cranwell has won ‘substantial’ libel damages from the Mail on Sunday over as story which branded him the “Ayatollah of the RAF”.

He filed a libel claim last year about the August 2011 story which said he was a “Muslim convert who has criticised NATO air strikes in Libya, claimed Nazi gas chambers were British propaganda and compared Churchill to Mohammed”.

He also sued over an online version of the piece and over a follow-up article in the Daily Mail.

The Daily Mail has agreed to pay legal costs and published an apology which said: “On 7 and 8 August 2011 we suggested that the beliefs of Dr Joel Hayward, then the Dean of the RAF College Cranwell, prevented him from fulfilling his duty of impartiality and fairness as a teacher in the RAF by causing him to show undue favouritism to Islamic students and spend too much time on Islamic activities. We now accept that these allegations are untrue. We apologise to Dr Hayward and have paid a substantial sum to him in damages.”

The Daily Star last year published an apology over similar allegations.

Professor Hayward said: “It was completely devastating for me to read the false allegations that were published by Associated Newspapers and by the Daily Star, and to be attacked for my deeply-held religious beliefs. It was even more devastating to know that my family, friends and colleagues had read them.

“Although the matter was dragged out for over a year by Associated Newspapers, which I often felt was using its financial muscle to intimidate me, I am hugely relieved and pleased that they have now done the right thing and settled the case by apologising, and paying me damages and costs.

“More generally, I can only hope that my case and others like it may result in a more balanced and fair portrayal of Muslims and the Islamic faith in certain sections of the British press in future.”
Abu Dhabi university professor wins libel suit against British tabloid

ABU DHABI // A professor at an Abu Dhabi university has won a libel claim against a British newspaper that called him the “Ayatollah of the RAF”.

Dr Joel Hayward, a defence and securities expert who teaches at Khalifa University, successfully sued the Mail on Sunday over the article from 2011.

At the time, Prof Hayward – a Muslim convert – was the head of studies at the Royal Air Force (RAF) pilot training college in the UK.

The article, which has since been removed from the Mail Online website, claimed Prof Hayward encouraged students to take a “softly-softly line” when writing about Islamist terrorism, according to the New Zealand-born academic.

He took legal action to set the record straight.

“I just felt like there was enough of this Islam-bashing,” he said.

“Islam is a beautiful religion, it’s a wonderful thing. The characterisation by the Mail of my faith was just so inaccurate. It presented Islam as something so extreme and dark.
“I thought that if I let this pass, they’ll continue to attack everyone who embraces Islam.”

Prof Hayward moved to the UAE to work as director of the Institute of International and Civil Security and the Chair of the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at Khalifa University.

He said the environment here was much more friendly toward Muslim converts.

“It’s quite difficult to live as a Muslim in Britain, unless you live close to a mosque,” he said. “Here there’s a mosque on every corner.

“Here the Islam that’s practised is gentle and moderate. It’s a beautiful experience to live as a Muslim in the UAE. It’s liberating and wonderful.”

Prof Hayward said he won “substantial damages” from Associated Newspapers, the publisher of the Mail on Sunday, in the action pursued by legal firm Carter-Ruck. He declined to say exactly how much.

“It’s not enough to place me in any rich list but I hope it’s enough for the Mail to think twice about doing something similar in future,” he said.

“I hope that eventually a better portrayal of Islam and Muslims will appear in the British press. At the moment it’s an unbalanced one, because of 9/11 and 7/7.

“Hopefully that will change as Muslims continue to contribute to British society in a positive way, and those prejudices just slip away.

“If my case has helped speed up that process, I’d be very happy.”

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بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
It must be said that the DM and most other British newspapers make no real secret of their Islamophobia. You only have to take a brief look at the Daily Mail in particular to see this, with its lurid portrayals of Islam 'taking over' and masses of immigrants swamping the country.