British Prime Minister David Cameron apologised to a former imam for “any misunderstanding,” weeks after he accused the Muslim cleric of supporting the dreaded Islamic State terror group.
Cameron was criticised last month after he accused London’s newly elected mayor Sadiq Khan of sharing a platform with Suliman Gani, claiming the ex-imam was a supporter of the Islamic State.
“Sulaiman Ghani, Mr Khan has appeared on a platform with him nine times. This man supports IS,” Cameron said during the London mayoral campaign.
“In reference to the Prime Minister’s comments on Suliman Gani, the prime minister was referring to reports that he supports an Islamic State. The Prime Minister is clear this does not mean Mr Gani supports the organisation Daesh and he apologises to him for any misunderstanding,” a Downing Street spokesman said on Wednesday.
Cameron’s apology came after Defence Secretary Michael Fallon also said sorry to Gani, a former Tooting Imam who threatened legal action against him for repeating Cameron’s accusations in a radio interview.
A spokesman for Fallon told the ‘Mirror’ he had simply quoted BBC presenter Andrew Neil and was ‘unaware of the clarification’.
“Had he been aware, he would not of course have quoted him and as soon he became aware he put the record straight. He naturally apologises for this inadvertent error,” the spokesman said.
Gani, a Conservative supporter, has stressed that he ‘openly condemned the barbarity and monstrosity of Isis’. He said he had never supported IS and now fears for his family’s safety in light of the untrue accusation.
He also said he had already been subjected to verbal abuse by strangers in the street, who shouted “terrorist supporter” at him.
“In relation to David Cameron saying in Parliament that I support IS, I understand that he can do this despite it being untrue and at the same time avoid any legal implications by relying on Parliamentary privilege,” Gani tweeted.