AN academic accused by a Muslim newspaper of being a “closet” Qadiani has today accepted substantial undisclosed libel damages.
So what’s a Qadiani?
According to this Islamhouse definition, it’s a follower of a “false” branch of Islam concocted by cunning British colonialists to impose obedience on Muslims in India. The head of the sect was Mirza Ghulam Ahmad al-Qadiani (1839-1908 CE) – described as “the main tool” of the movement.
Says Islamhouse, in a no-holds-barred hatchet-job:
He came from a family that was well known for having betrayed its religion and country, so Ghulam Ahmad grew up loyal and obedient to the colonialists in every sense … He was chosen for the role of a so-called prophet, so that the Muslims would gather around him and he would distract them from waging jihaad against the English colonialists.
Ghulam Ahmad was known among his followers to be unstable, with a lot of health problems and dependent on drugs.
The man accused by The Muslim Weekly three years ago of being a Qadiani was Dr Taj Hargey, chairman of the Muslim Educational Centre of Oxford (MECO).
According to this report, Hargey’s advocate, David Price told Mr Justice Eady at London’s High Court that his client was a committed Muslim and was “deeply hurt and offended” by the May 6 article.
The article also claimed that Dr Hargey was sacked from his post teaching Islamic studies at the University of Cape Town as a result of the fact that he was a closet Qadiani.
He spoke and lectured widely about Islam and had at no stage misled the public or represented himself as anything other than a committed mainstream Muslim, Price said.
The court heard Dr Hargey was well known as a passionate believer of orthodox Sunni Islam.
Price said he was not dismissed from his post in Cape Town, where his academic responsibility was history and not Islamic studies, but had left at the end of his fixed-term contract to take up a better research position elsewhere.
Price claimed the article risked damaging his client’s pioneering scholarship and community work in building up the burgeoning reputation of MECO over the past decade.
Muslim Media Ltd and Ahmed Malik apologised over the article and agreed to pay Dr Hargey substantial damages and his legal costs.