Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 18 February 2020

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque preacher sues 19 Twitter users

The dispute began last year after comments made by Waseem Yousef

Dr Waseem Yousef pictured before appearing on a Dubai television channel in 2011. Antonie Robertson/The National
Dr Waseem Yousef pictured before appearing on a Dubai television channel in 2011. Antonie Robertson/The National

A preacher at Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi is taking more than a dozen Twitter users to court, claiming they defamed him.

Waseem Yousef, who is also a well-known TV personality in the UAE, said the “bullying” attacks had begun on social media last year.

The alleged insults came after comments he made about Sahih Al Bukhari, one of six major collections of sayings and actions of the Prophet Mohammed.

Mr Yousef claimed not everything in the book should be taken as the “ultimate truth”, prompting criticism online.

On Monday, 19 defendants who Mr Yousef had accused of defaming him on social media appeared at Abu Dhabi’s Court of Misdemeanour.

Mr Yousef did not attend the hearing in person but his lawyer appeared on his behalf.

Lawyers initially asked for a lengthy adjournment to better prepare their case but this was denied by the court.

Instead, judges took the decision to delay proceedings until Thursday for 16 of the cases. Verdicts for the remaining three will be given on January 26.

Mr Yousef previously said he believed those who attacked him had overstepped the mark and should be held to account.

“I was very patient but they overdid it,” he wrote on Twitter. “They bullied me and used bad manners and swear words.

“Therefore, I swear to God I will not give up on my right … and justice will stand between us.”

Updated: January 21, 2020 10:33 PM

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