LONDON: The Daily Mail, a British tabloid newspaper, apologised on Monday to a Muslim family in the UK for untrue allegations made towards them. A columnist Katie Hopkins, in 2015 asserted in a column that US Homeland Security had rightfully prevented Mohammed Tariq Mahmood and Mohammed Zahid Mahmood from visiting America, as their “excuse” to go to Disneyland was fake. The December 23, 2015 article – titled “Just because Britain’s border security is a Mickey Mouse operation you can’t blame America for not letting this lot travel to Disneyland – I wouldn’t either” – also accused the brothers of having ties with notorious terrorist group Al Qaeda. Moreover, a subsequent opinion piece by Hopkins published on December 29 claimed that Mohammed Tariq Mahmood’s son Hamza Mahmood was the face behind an extremist page on social networking website Facebook. Daily Mail was forced to pay £150,000 (almost $186,000) to the family. Hopkins also issued her apology in a tweet.
The publication also cleared up the false declarations made against the Mahmood family, specifying that the two brothers were travelling to the US to meet a sibling and visit Disneyland, none of the family members had ties to the terrorist organisation, and that Hamza Mahmood wasn’t related to the certain Facebook page whatsoever. The official statement posted on the website reads, “We and Katie Hopkins apologise to the Mahmood family for the distress and embarrassment caused, and have agreed to pay them substantial damages and their legal costs.” Carter Ruck, the two brothers’ lawyers who finally dragged the case out of misinformed perception and fear of Islamophobia, commented that “there was absolutely no basis for suggesting that any of the Mahmoods were or are extremist, and the family were simply going on holiday,” The Guardian reported.