The Mail On Sunday has apologised for publishing an "offensive" article on a Muslim crime gang, after it was revealed there was no evidence to prove the perpetrators of an attack on immigration enforcement vehicles were Muslim.
The national newspaper issued a letter saying it "intended no disrespect to the Muslim religion", after printing a story which claimed Islamic youths were behind the "disturbing" vandalism of three Home Office vans and a single un-marked car on Saturday.
Days after the original article was published, the Mail On Sunday's managing editor admitted that the criminals' religion had only been identified because of unverified tweets, sent by a supposed Muslim Twitter account, and after one witness claimed: "I think they were local Muslim hoodies."
In its climb-down letter to Miqdaad Versi, a management consultant who complained about the story, the paper admitted it had no evidence to prove it's factually stated "Muslim gang" criminals were followers of Islam.
The article, as it was published, on 25 July 2015
Mr Versi, who received a letter of apology from the paper on Thursday, branded the article's headline "incendiary" and criticised the piece as Islamophobic.
Writing on behalf of his paper, John Wellington defended the story, claiming it had been neither inaccurate nor misleading, stating: "The immigration enforcement vehicles appear to have been targeted because the attackers considered themselves to be, in some way, defending their community and the community is largely Bangladeshi and largely Muslim."
But, he added: "However I have spoken with the journalists concerned and explained your concerns to them.
"We apologise again for any offence that was cause".
Read the full letter below