London school wins Sunday Express damages over Islam fanatics claim


The Sunday Express has apologized and paid damages to a London school it falsely claimed taught an extreme form of Islam, said a statement released by the school following a court hearing on Tuesday.

The King Fahad Academy, based in West London, took legal action against the Sunday newspaper for publishing an article in 2011 which suggested the Academy “had been infiltrated by fanatics and was teaching an extreme form of Islam and anti-Semitic and racist doctrines,” the statement read.

Northern & Shell’s Sunday title published the front-page story on 12 June, 2011, headlined “Spies in schools to hunt fanatics.” The article was also published on the Sunday Express website.

The Sunday Express apologized for the article and said it regretted the distress caused. The paper agreed to pay an undisclosed amount in damages and legal costs to the school.

When contacted by Al Arabiya English, Sunday Express spokesperson Mimi Turner said the newspaper would not be able to further comment on the case, adding that the amount of the damages shall remain undisclosed.

The Academy’s director, Dr. Sumaya Alyusuf said she was “pleased” the newspaper withdrew and apologized for the allegations.

“The school can now concentrate on its mission to provide a world class international education to students through a well-balanced curriculum which aims to produce citizens who appreciate the multi-cultural world in which we live,” Alyusuf said.

Meanwhile, Clare Kissin, counsel for the King Fahad Academy, said in a statement at the high court in London on Tuesday: “The King Fahad Academy does not teach an extreme form of Islam, nor does it teach its students anti-semitism or any form of racism and it has not been infiltrated by Islamic fanatics.”

In fact, the school had changed from providing a Saudi-based curriculum taught in Arabic to an international curriculum in English with Arabic being taught as a subject alongside others.

The school had opted to be inspected by Ofsted and its latest report said that its ethos promoted respect and harmony between different cultures and beliefs.