Channel 4 News presenter Cathy Newman has apologised for “any misunderstanding” after CCTV footage proved she had NOT been ushered out of a mosque as she had claimed in a tweet to her 78,000 followers.
Newman hit the headlines after she tweeted on Sunday saying that she was “ushered out of” the South London Islamic Centre in Streatham. The tweet led to several days of Islamophobic commentary on social media with Muslims once again behind placed under the spotlight.
It also completely overshadowed Visit My Mosque day which was supposed to bring communities together in the wake of the deadly Paris attacks.
CCTV footage obtained by the Huffington Post from the mosque shows Newman leaving on her own. She is shown speaking to someone inside the mosque, then appearing to look confused as she leaves on her own.
Newman said in a statement that she had visited the wrong mosque, turning up at the South London Islamic Centre – which she said has had death threats following coverage of her visit – “in error.”
Newman said in a statement: “As the primary purpose of Visit My Mosque day was to increase understanding of Islam, I was horrified to hear the mosque I visited in error has had death threats. I’m sorry for any misunderstanding there has been. I would be happy to pay a private visit to South London Islamic Centre once again.”
The South London Islamic Centre chair of trustees Mohammed, Aslam Ijaz, said that having looked into the matter the centre thought a man who is shown pointing Newman away from the building thought she had said she was looking for a church.
He therefore gestured towards a neighbouring Christian church two doors down called The English Martyrs.
However, Ijaz said that despite the misunderstanding and the centre receiving a threat, which local police had looked into, Newman was welcome to make a return visit.
He denied that Newman’s suggestion earlier in the week that she might not have been allowed in because it was a men-only centre and said he hoped that the media would print “the truth” so “we are not made a target … We’ve been at this centre since 1978 and never had any threats
Following the Huffington Post expose Newman has been castigated on social media. She has been branded a liar, a bad journalist and she has been blamed for instigating Islamophobia.