Tuesday, March 14

Through the Looking Glass

"Pundita, Re your March 12 post on the deleted [UK] Sunday Telegraph article by Dr. Sookhdeo:

A possible reason why removal of the article genuinely might be "for legal reasons." There was a statement in the Telegraph recently (read it in the print edition; unable to find online so far):

"The Sunday Telegraph acknowledges that Dr Sookhdeo's remarks did not refer to The Noble Qur'an, A Rendering of its Meaning in English, but to a completely different translation. The Sunday Telegraph apologises for this mistake and for any offence caused by it."

In other words, there could be a very good legal reason for removing the article.

Free speech, etc. notwithstanding if Sookhdeo, Palmer or the article editors confused titles, the Telegraph could be looking at a very nasty lawsuit if it kept the article up.

BTW I agree with the article argument; it looks like it's an unfortunate victim of the sloppy fact-checking common in newspapers here (which is odd, when you think about; it given how restrictive libel law is in England, you'd think they'd be really scrupulous about verifying facts).
John in UK"

Dear John
Thank you for news about the Telegraph apology. Pundita notes that Dr Sookhdeo very clearly wrote out the title of the book he referenced, which is not the same title that called forth the Telegraph apology. Thus, Pundita suspects that the Telegraph editor had to leap through the Looking Glass in order to scare up an excuse to delete the piece.

This said, British libel laws are beyond restrictive; they are a universe unto themselves, as Rachel Ehrenfeld learned the hard way. So it's possible that a mere similarity of wording in a title might be enough to provoke suit. (Or, as you suggest, this could be one to blame on the fact checkers.)

Of course these observations have nothing to do with Sookhdeo's points, which the British government seems reluctant to discuss, let alone debate, in public. The question is whether the government is reluctant to see the points debated in any public forum under the control of British law. (Or should we say,"British and Sharia" laws?)

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