UK Blog Threatened with Libel Action from British Muslim Initiative President

Things are hotting up in the spat between Mohammed Sawalha, President of the British Muslim Initiative, and UK liberal hawk blog Harry’s Place:

Last Friday, in the wake of a closely argued debate about whether Mohammed Sawalha, the President of the British Muslim Initiative, had used the phrase “Evil Jew” or “Jewish Lobby” in a speech, Harry’s Place received a letter. The letter is from Dean and Dean, a firm of solicitors who are acting for Mr Sawalha… We have responded to Mr Sawalha’s solicitors, through Mishcon de Reya, who are acting for us.

The dispute over the translation received wide attention; I blogged it here.

Dean and Dean have had a number of prominent clients; according to an old report in the Times,

clients have included the Saudi royal family, the King of Morocco, David Khalili, the wealthy Iranian art dealer, Nadhmi Auchi, the Iraqi-born billionaire, and the Hinduja brothers.

Mishcon de Reya, meanwhile, recently handled the McCartney-Mills divorce, and the firm previously acted for Princess Diana. Its partners include Anthony Julius, who represented Deborah Lipstadt when the Holocaust denier David Irving attempted to sue her for libel.

Unless Sawalha backs down, costs are likely to be eye-watering…

(PS – as an aside, Nadhmi Auchi is also worth keeping an eye on, for reasons unconnected with the above: as well as using Dean and Dean, he also retains the services of Carter-Ruck, with the inevitable result that a number of stories and profiles have recently disappeared from the websites of various newspapers.)

Orombi Fears “Killer” Gays

The Kampala New Vision reports:

Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi yesterday said he fears for his life because of the campaign he has waged against homosexuals.

“Nowadays, I don’t wear my collar when I am in countries which have supporters of homosexuals,” he said while addressing Christians at Kitunga archdeaconry, West Ankole diocese in Ntungamo district.

“I am forced to dress like a civilian because those people are dangerous. They can harm anybody who is against them. Some of them are killers. They want to close the mouth of anybody who is against them.”

I can see the problem: a black man wearing a clerical collar walking down a street in the USA or UK is bound to be identified as Bishop Orombi and then attacked by murderous homosexuals.

In fact, of course, being gay in Uganda is rather more dangerous than being an African cleric in countries with “supporters of homosexuals”. Doug Ireland noted in 2006:

The police in Jinja, Uganda’s second largest city, have “launched an operation to repress the gays, who were on the verge of winning the heterosexual generation of the district,” announced the September 7 issue of the popular sex-and-scandal tabloid daily newspaper Red Pepper under the screaming headline, “JINJA COPS HUNT FOR GAYS.”

The newspaper called on the public to cooperate in tracking down “sodomites” to prevent them from “polluting” the general population, published the photo of a young gay man who was said to have intimate links to a man already imprisoned in for homosexuality — which is punishable with life imprisonment in Uganda — and urged its readers to help track down the young man.

Meanwhile, in the UK, a Ugandan lesbian named Prossy Kakooza is seeking asylum after being raped by Ugandan police. However, Orombi denied there was a problem when he spoke recently to journalists at GAFCON:

HO: If you were for the Shogah in Kampala a few weeks ago the gay demonstrated in the country and they were not arrested. The gay led a press conference and they were not arrested.

And as for the Kazooka case:

HO: I would not believe a thing like that is done in the public knowledge of the people of Uganda because the gay people who are Ugandans are citizens of the country and we would cherish the fact that we would want to send it our people. For some of those things probably you get information in England and we may not even get information, I don’t know how they get their information.

At VirtueOnline, David Virtue complained that this was an “isolated” case raised by a “whiny” journalist. Whereas of course Orombi’s “fear for his life” claim isn’t whiny at all…