Telegraph apologises to Nasim Ashraf and Hafisan Zaman over “unfounded” ‘Trojan Horse’ allegations
Categories: Latest News
Friday February 16 2018
The Telegraph has issued an apology to Nasim Ashraf and his wife Hafisan Zaman acknowledging that their article, published on the 20th of February 2017, made unfounded allegations against the two.
The article – no longer available on The Telegraph’s website – was written by Henry Bodkin and ran with the headline: “Second Islamist ‘Trojan Horse’ scandal feared after Oldham headteacher reports death threats.
The article was accused of implying that Mr. Ashraf and Mrs. Zaman were instigating a ‘Trojan Horse’ plot to take over Clarksfield Primary School in Oldham.
Rahman Lowe Solicitors, having successfully represented Mr. Ashraf and Mrs. Zaman, have said that both are “extremely pleased” by the result.
Mr. Ashraf has said: “We are very pleased that The Telegraph has apologised for what it accepts are completely false allegations. It is important that journalists report responsibly and not become “churnalists”, churning out any baseless accusation. In today’s times, as falsehood is spread quickly on the internet and accepted as true, this responsibility must be exercised with even greater care.”
“Hafizan and I have done nothing but positively contribute in a society, which regrettably finds many reasons to divide communities, and it was therefore surprising to us that we had been targeted in this way”.
“Whilst we are pleased and relieved that we have been cleared of any wrongdoing by The Telegraph, our struggle for justice shall continue until we have been vindicated by other media outlets who have also churned out similar defamatory allegations against us”.
The apology reads: “An article published on 20th February 2017 may have suggested that Mr Nasim Ashraf and Mrs Hafizan Zaman were responsible for a ‘Trojan Horse’ plot involving an Islamist campaign of intimidation to take over Clarksfield Primary School in Oldham with the aim of imposing an aggressive and separatist agenda on the students. We accept that such allegations are unfounded. We apologise to Mr Ashraf and Mrs Zaman for any distress caused and have agreed to pay them damages and costs”.
The ‘Trojan Horse’ scandal began from a letter being sent to Birmingham City Council, claiming that schools were being targeted by “Islamists” to make them align more on Islamic principles, which resulted in a case being opened.
The authenticity of the letter was however questioned later when various errors within it were highlighted. Many people believe that the letter was a forgery designed to divide communities and stir controversy.
A Parliamentary Select Committee that was set up to investigate the claims also found “no evidence of extremism or radicalisation” and “no evidence of sustained plot”.
Of the 100 who were investigated only the former acting head of Oldknow academy faced disciplinary charges.