(John D McHugh/AFP/Getty)
The institute that the imam founded preaches that women should not wear the niqab, or face-covering, and that men should not wear beards
Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent
A progressive Muslim imam from Oxford has won a libel action against a Muslim newspaper in what he claims is a “watershed moment” in the battle between liberal and extremist Muslims in Britain.
Dr Taj Hargey, who provoked controversy last year when he invited the first ever woman to lead and preach at Friday prayers in Britain, has been awarded a “substantial” five-figure sum in libel damages against the Muslim Weekly, which takes a conservative line on community issues.
In its latest edition, the newspaper urges the Government not to play a “divide and rule” policy over the Muslim Council of Britain. The Government has threatened to cut ties with the council after it refused to sack its deputy leader, Daud Abdullah, who signed a pro-Hamas declaration at a conference on Gaza in Istanbul.
Dr Hargey, who is originally from South Africa, describes himself as a “thorn in the side of the Muslim hierarchy” as a result of his liberal theology and his “integrationist, non-sexist views.”