In this Case Study, we summarise a recently commenced defamation action for our client, the Australian National Imams Council, which has been the subject of false and defamatory statements by one Moustafa Rashed claiming to be “the only elected Grand Mufti of Australia”

Birchgrove Legal’s defamation department was recently briefed by the Australian National Imams Council (ANIC), who held grave concerns over several targeted and highly inaccurate internet publications.

The publications were purportedly made by Moustafa Rashed, who claimed to be the only elected Grand Mufti of Australia and the Chairman of the ‘World Federation of Muslims for Peace’ – an entity which Mr Rashed claims is the only organisation registered in Australia for Muslim Imams. While claiming to be a professor of Islamic law from Al-Azhar University, it has been reported that Mr Rashed has previously passed a number of ‘fatwas’ (Islamic rulings) which have been unanimously rejected by the wider body of mainstream Islamic scholars, including those from Al-Azhar University. According to reports, Al-Azhar University has also denied any affiliation with Mr Rashed and vehemently refuted claims he is a professor at the University. Some of Mr Rashed’s reported past ‘fatwas’ have included declarations that fasting during the month of Ramadan is not obligatory for Muslims and that the consumption of alcohol is not strictly forbidden in Islam.

Once instructed by ANIC, our team of defamation experts commenced with a thorough analysis of Mr Rashed’s purported publications to collate a list of all potentially defamatory imputations carried by them. In doing do, it was quickly determined that the imputations carried in the publications warrant a cause of action in defamation against Mr Rashed. Our clients were advised of this and provided with a number of legal options to proceed with the matter.

ANIC has launched legal action against Mr Rashed asserting that Mr Rashed made a number of false and potentially defamatory imputations about the organisation and its constituent members.  ANIC asserts that Mr Rashed’s claims are clearly false and hold no factual bases.

 ANIC is the peak body for Muslim Imams in Australia, made up of more than 200 member Imams from each state and territory across the country. It is a validly registered charity and non-for-profit organisation that has always acted in accordance with its charitable aims and in line with Australian law.

If you feel like you have been made the subject of defamatory publications, please do not hesitate to contact our team for an obligation-free consultation to assess your legal options against the publisher.  

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