Maajid Nawaz Wins Defamation Suit

Maajid Nawaz
Maajid Nawaz

Counter-extremism campaigner Maajid Nawaz has won a defamation suit against Thomas Reuters World Check. World Check had designated Nawaz, along with many others, as a “terrorist.”

This is despite the fact that he has advised multiple British Prime Ministers on the government’s approach to tackling extremism. Nawaz is a former Islamist who was a leading member of Hizb ut-Tahrir, an organization which seeks to unite Muslim countries under one global caliphate as a system of government and implement sharia as state law.

He turned his back on his former beliefs and now works to defeat the ideology he used to espouse.

The subscription list is made available to companies who use it to check they are fulfilling their legal obligations to fight financial crime. Analysts compile the list from publicly available data.

“Mr. Nawaz’s World-Check profile had included him in the “Terrorism” category and we accept that this categorisation was made in error,” Thomas Reuters said in a statement. “We corrected this error on 27th April 2016 and removed Mr. Nawaz from that category. We have apologized to Mr. Nawaz for the error and apologize to our subscribers for any misunderstanding.”

World Check bills itself as selling “risk intelligence data for due diligence.”

The website informs customers “World-Check gives you the tools you need to help meet your due diligence obligations, including meeting your requirements under Know Your Customer anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing legislation; and anti-bribery and corruption customer and counterparty due diligence and screening.”

The service is used by businesses worldwide to screen potential clients.

Nawaz’s presence on the database was revealed last year in an investigation by Vice.

This is not the only defamation suit Nawaz is involved in. He is currently suing the Southern Poverty Law Center for listing him as an anti-Muslim extremist.

However he has also received good news. On Wednesday, Nawaz won the 2017 PinkNews Broadcaster of the Year Award for his LBC radio show.

“When I saw that 0% of British Muslims surveyed believed that being gay was ever morally acceptable, when I saw that 52% of British Muslims wanted homosexuality to be criminalised, when I saw that the only 10 countries in the world that punished being gay with death were all Muslim-majority, I was ashamed, infuriated, outraged, and angry all at the same time,” Nawaz told the crowd on accepting the award. But I knew Muslims who were gay, and so I realised that these results were also due to fear of speaking out.

It requires leadership. The sort of leadership that the British Muslim Mayor of London provided here tonight. The sort of leadership that Imam Muhammad provided here tonight by offering prayers for everyone here. And that’s the sort of leadership I, and my producer Sandra, wanted to offer through my LBC show. My show aims to be a home for you all. Thank you for this great honour in being able to speak out on your behalf.”

He received the award at an event attended by British Prime Minister Theresa May, leader of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.

 

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Elliot Friedland
Elliot Friedland is a research fellow at Clarion Project.