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12 February 2015updated 26 Sep 2015 7:01am

Cathy Newman makes half-hearted apology over “inappropriate” mosque claims

Apologises for tweets sent “in haste” about being “ushered” out of mosque, contrary to CCTV footage.

By Media Mole

Channel 4 News presenter Cathy Newman has tweeted that she “regrets” the “offence” caused by her claims that she was escorted from a mosque she mistakenly believed to be men-only:

Newman had arrived at the South London Islamic Centre (SLIC) in Streatham on 1 February as part of Visit My Mosque Day – a new annual event organised by the Muslim Council of Britain as part of a community outreach programme following heightened tensions after that the Paris terror attacks in January. The incident in question took place when Newman tried to enter the mosque, only to be (in her words) “ushered out the door” despite being “respectfully dressed, head covering and no shoes”. The SLIC is a mixed-gender mosque.

She then realised she should have been up the road at the Hyderi Centre (which, unlike the SLIC, was actually taking part in Visit My Mosque Day) where her camera crew had been waiting for her. Speaking to the Guardian, she said they found a “wonderful warm welcome” there. The SLIC issued an immediate apology, with its chair of trustees Aslam Ijaz saying that their staff were unprepared for visitors on an open day and it must have been a member of the congregation (60 per cent of whom speak no English) who turned her away, calling the situation a “mix-up”.

However, CCTV footage from the SLIC was released that clearly showed nobody ushered Newman out of the door. She enters, speaks very briefly (for less than five seconds) to a male congregant or member of staff who points towards the mosque entrance, and then Newman leaves – alone. Her exaggeration of the events of the day led to the mosque receiving threatening voicemails and online abuse, which Ijaz told the Huffington Post have been reported to the police.

After days of silence on the issue, Newman has now apologised for “inappropriate” tweets “sent in haste”, and that she “deeply regrets” causing “a great deal of offence”.

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