The Herald says sorry to Abu Bakar Alam

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Abu Bakar Alam and his father Sher Alam were joined by members of the Afghani community at the Doveton mosque for the cheque handover. Picture Joe ArmaoFAIRFAX Media has reached a settlement with the young man wrongly identified in a photograph as part of its coverage of the police shooting of Numan Haider in Melbourne.

As part of the settlement, and in an effort to support the Muslim community in the area, the proposed Afghani mosque in the Melbourne suburb of Doveton has received a significant funding boost.

The mosque project was given a cheque for $20,000 by The Age on Monday.

Last September, Melbourne newspaper The Age published a photograph of Mr Abu Bakar Alam on its front page.

The Age’s editor-in-chief, Andrew Holden, said the newspaper had immediately accepted that it had made a terrible mistake, removed the photograph from its website and had no hesitation in apologising to Mr Alam.

‘‘I have met with Mr Alam and he is an impressive young man,’’ Mr Holden said.

‘‘There is no question that he and his family had no association with Haider, or any terrorist activities. On behalf of The Age, I apologise again for the error that we made.

‘‘It is a mark of the Alam family that, in reaching a settlement with The Age , they wanted their local community to benefit, and The Age is pleased to be able to support them in this way.’’

The Afghan mosque project will be able to hold up to 600 people during festivals. The current mosque is shared by a number of different communities and its facilities are unable to cope with demand.

Mr Alam said: ‘‘Being wrongly identified as a terrorist was devastating and extremely hurtful to me and my family.

‘‘I am happy and relieved that Fairfax has acknowledged it made a grave error and hope that such a mistake will never happen again.

‘‘While I have suffered personally, I am pleased that some goodwill came out of what has happened to me through funds being provided for a new mosque.”

A number of other Fairfax websites and papers, including the Newcastle Herald, also carried the wrong image, and have apologised to Mr Alam.