The Islamophobic media personality Katie Hopkins has been forced to apologise to Finsbury Park Mosque in London after falsely linking the masjid to a violent incident in May.
The mosque brought legal action against Hopkins after she tweeted footage of five men attacking Met police officers, implying wrongly that the perpetrators were members of the mosque’s community.
Although she deleted the tweet the mosque was told by Hopkins that she would be unable to pay damages if she lost in court, having already applied for insolvency in 2018 after losing a costly libel case to the food writer Jack Monroe.
The mosque then pressed for an apology. A period of negotiations resulted in Hopkins saying on Monday that she was “genuinely sorry for any hurt or offence felt by Finsbury Park mosque” for making “a clear factual error.”
This is her apology in full:
Following our recent correspondence, I am happy to correct the inaccuracies contained in my Tweet of 8 May 2020. On that date I retweeted a video of a violent scene, of five men attacking the Metropolitan Police, with the comment:
“Finsbury Park mosque just after 8pm. Officers attacked. 5 representative of the Religion of Peace arrested. Zero media coverage.”
Having now been informed of the factual inaccuracies of that tweet, I am perfectly happy to correct the record to reflect the fact that the incident was not occurring outside Finsbury Park Mosque but was two streets away in Blackstock Road.
I am genuinely sorry for any offence or hurt felt by Finsbury Park Mosque for this clear factual error and I am happy to put the record straight.
Furthermore, it could be inferred from my Tweet that the aggressors in this altercation with the Metropolitan Police were members of the Finsbury Park Mosque. I offer my sincere apologies to the Mosque for this incorrect inference and the offence or hurt felt by it.
In the course of my correspondence with the solicitors for Finsbury Park Mosque, it has been brought to my attention that the mosque has involved itself with the following charitable works especially during the Pandemic:
- Distributed meals to NHS staff in local hospitals and provided thousands of pieces of PPE equipment to London hospitals;
- Provided food parcels to the most vulnerable in the local community and have set up a helpline for counselling and bereavement support; and,
- Initiated a campaign in the Finsbury Park area including Blackstock Road to educate the community about the importance of social distancing.
I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the contributions made by the mosque to society.
The mosque said it accepted Hopkins apology, and that it had been stunned to find itself linked to the incident and the culprits.
It said: “On the 8th of May, an incident occurred in the Finsbury Park area after which Police took decisive action. Finsbury Park Mosque was therefore stunned to find that media commentator Katie Hopkins had tweeted an image from the CCTV clip, and falsely claimed that the incident and the culprits were somehow linked to the Mosque.
“Upon instructing our legal representatives, Ms. Hopkins removed the tweet, which by then had been retweeted, liked and seen thousands of times. Ms. Hopkins then moved to issue an apology to the Mosque, which we have accepted.
“Finsbury Park Mosque wishes to reiterate its focal role of establishing harmony, positive relationships and prosperous networks, throughout the area of London which it resides, and which is renowned for its multi-cultural, multi-faith and diverse nature.
“Over the past 15 years, Finsbury Park Mosque has won numerous awards pertaining to community work, community cohesion, diversity and multi-culturalism, thanks to its population of several thousand worshippers, friends and supporters from across the religious, cultural and racial spectra.
“At a time of deep division within our society and the prominence of hate, suspicion and fear due to an array of reasons, Finsbury Park Mosque wishes to remind everyone of our personal and collective responsibility to not only speaking truth, but doing all we can to bridge those divides and to bring our people and our communities closer.”