Defence secretary Michael Fallon will pay undisclosed damages to a Muslim cleric for falsely claiming he supported Islamic State (Isis). Imam Suliman Gani was dubbed an Isis sympathiser by Prime Minister David Cameron in the Houses of Commons as the London mayoral elections heated up between Khan and the Conservatives' Zac Goldsmith in April 2016.
Khan was criticised by the PM for sharing a platform with extremists, like Gani, and a few days later a similar claim was made on the BBC during the London Mayoral Debate. Presenter Andrew Neil again described Suliman Gani as being a supporter of Islamic State, rather than a supporter of an Islamic state, that he says he intended.
Then, Fallon repeated the claims on 7 May, during BBC Radio Four's Today programme. Unlike Cameron, Fallon was not protected by parliamentary privilege and Gani brought legal proceedings.
Cameron and the BBC have subsequently apologised for their mistakes and on Thursday (23 June), Fallon published a letter on his website that the claims about the Tooting imam where "entirely untrue".
Fallon wrote: "I was made aware of the BBC's correction and apology a few hours after the broadcast and immediately issued a statement in an effort to put the record straight. I accept that you are entirely opposed to Daesh/Islamic State, that you regard it as incompatible with your religious and moral beliefs, and that you have spoken out publicly against it."
Fallon said he made the comments as the claims had been said previously on the BBC television programme and he had not realised the BBC had apologised to Gani. The apology continued: "I repeat my apology for the error that I made and for the distress that it caused to you and your family."
Fallon will also pay an undisclosed amount of compensation as well as covering Gani's "reasonable legal costs". In a statement Gani said that his "life had been turned upside down" by the claims.
"Immediately after the accusations, newspapers and media outlets began hounding me and experts 'popped' up to instil fear into the British public regarding me and Islam in general.
"As a result of the accusations, I was suspended from my employment. My strenuous denials were not believed by some, who believed the accusations were true.
"These accusations were repeated on 7 May by Defence Secretary Michael Fallon in public and by one other MP. I was viewed with much suspicion by people who knew me and not only became a victim of a whispering campaign but also endured abuse from random strangers who shouted at me in public and intimidated me as a result of these slanderous allegations.
"I felt afraid to go out in public even with my family in case I was attacked and more so, my family were as well. Finally, while I welcome the apology it is imperative that people in public positions verify their facts before making accusations – which leads to catastrophic consequences on innocent individuals."