LONDON: London’s Finsbury Park Mosque has told Arab News that it welcomes the apology of British media provocateur Katie Hopkins for falsely suggesting on Twitter that members of its congregation had been involved in a violent altercation with police in May.
Hopkins, who has since been banned by the platform for breaching its “hateful conduct” policy, tweeted video footage of five men attacking officers from the Metropolitan Police, linking them to the mosque.
The footage was accompanied by the caption: “Finsbury Park mosque just after 8pm. Officers attacked. 5 representatives of the Religion of Peace arrested. Zero media coverage.”
The mosque took legal action against Hopkins, who had been left insolvent after losing a libel case in 2018 to the author Jack Monroe.
She told the mosque’s legal representatives that this meant she was unable to afford to pay damages.
She deleted the tweet and issued an apology via social media platforms Instagram and Parler, saying she was “genuinely sorry” for the “clear factual error.”
Hopkins said in a statement: “The incident was not occurring outside Finsbury Park mosque but two streets away in Blackstock Road. Furthermore, it could be inferred from my tweet that the aggressors in the altercation with the Metropolitan police were members of the Finsbury Park mosque.”
She added: “I offer my sincere apologies to the Mosque for this incorrect inference and the offence or hurt caused by it.”
As part of the settlement with the mosque, Hopkins also drew attention to its many charitable endeavors in the local community, including distributing free meals and protective equipment to health care workers during the coronavirus pandemic.
“We welcome Katie Hopkins’s apology to the mosque and its community for a false tweet posted in May,” its Chairman Mohammed Kozbar told Arab News.
“Finsbury Park Mosque has a zero-tolerance policy on hate and divisive speech, and is proud of its 15-year track record on community cohesion, collaboration and diversity,” he said.
“We won’t hesitate to take legal action to protect our mosque and community from any false allegations and to preserve our reputation.”
In a statement, the mosque said: “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 bring our communities closer.”
In a far-right terrorist attack in 2017, one person was killed and 12 were injured when a man drove a van into worshippers leaving the mosque.