In a press release dated Tuesday 26 June 2018, the Australian National Imams Council (ANIC) announced that Sheikh Shady’s defamation action against News Corp has been settled.
Sheikh Shady Alsuleiman, the current President of ANIC commenced defamation proceedings on 16 June 2017, against the publishers of The Daily Telegraph and Courier Mail regarding a series of articles published in June 2016.
Sheikh Shady stated that the matter has now been resolved on confidential terms. The articles that concerned him have been removed from the internet.
He thanked Barrister Sue Chrysanthou and the Birchgrove Legal team for their outstanding work in taking this matter to a successful conclusion.
Sheikh Shady, 40 is Australian born and amongst the first homegrown Imams serving the diverse Muslim community in Sydney.
Justice Geoffrey Flick, a Federal Court judge had earlier ordered that newspaper articles that Sheikh Shady Alsuleiman claimed were defamatory of him, be removed from several News Corp websites.
Justice Geoffrey Flick also criticised News Corp, the parent company of Nationwide News Pty Ltd, which published the defamatory articles, for tardy action over a motion to tender a new affidavit by an expert witness, as well as change some particulars pleaded.
“This case has not been conducted by the respondent in a way that covers them in glory” and when it concluded “will be a model of how not to conduct litigation”, Justice Flick said.
He ordered that costs of the court’s proceedings be paid by News Corp.
Earlier last year in April 2017, the former Grand Mufti of Australia, Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohammed, had won a defamation case against Nationwide News regarding an article published in the Daily Telegraph on 18 November 2015.
It is hoped that with such successful actions by Australian Muslim leaders, the culture of blameless, inaccurate, irresponsible, bigoted and damaging reporting within Nationwide News and News Corp will be brought to an end.
Sheikh Shady’s lawyer filed the case with the federal court on Wednesday 14 June 2017 claiming that he had been “brought into hatred, ridicule, and contempt” by the articles, which “gravely injured his character and reputation” and caused him hurt and embarrassment.
The defamation case has been brought against Nationwide News, publisher of the Daily Telegraph and the Courier Mail.
It mentioned three articles that were published after the Iftar dinner, the prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, hosted at Kirribilli House to break the Ramadan fast on 16 June 2016 inviting prominent Muslims to the event from all over Australia.
Sheikh Shady was invited to the Kirribilli dinner in his position as President of the Australian National Imams Council.
After being hounded by the Murdoch media, Mr Turnbull said he regretted inviting Sheikh Shady to the Iftar after being told of homophobic sermons delivered by Sheikh Shady.
The articles mentioned in the defamation case included an online article that ran on several News Corp websites on 16 June 2016 titled “Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull dines with hate preacher”, a column by Peta Credlin in the Daily Telegraph on 19 June 2016 called “Islam threat ignored with gay abandon”; and a column by David Penberthy published in the Courier Mail on the same date, titled “Plateful of hate on the menu”.
The defamation case alleged that the Courier Mail article defamed him by suggesting he “preaches hatred of homosexuals, women, and people who have sex outside marriage”, “advocates and espouses despicable views, namely that women should hang by their breasts in hell if they dare to look at men, that adulterers should be stoned to death, and that homosexuality is a crime for which AIDS is a divine punishment”, is “a barbaric troglodyte,” and “incites violence against women”.
Sheikh Shady Alsuleiman was born in Sydney, Australia to an Arab-Palestinian family that migrated to Australia in the late 1960’s. He completed his school certificate in Sydney before embarking on an eight-year journey to seek knowledge in the Muslim world including Pakistan and Syria.
He is a Hafiz Quran, having memorised the whole of Quran, mastered Arabic language and specialised in Islamic Sciences. He holds Bachelor and Masters degrees in Islamic Studies.
Sheikh Shady currently lives in Sydney with his wife and two children and is heavily involved with the Muslim community. He is the founder of the United Muslims of Australia (UMA) that operates an upmarket popular Islamic Centre in Padstow with a gym, sports complex, prayer hall, cafes and classrooms attended by hundreds of young people on a daily basis.