Then, the Mensch Sunday Sun column included an item accusing both the HuffPost UK and Guardian of lying, telling the management of Streatham Mosque that they should apologise to Ms Newman for a second time, and that the HuffPost was “taking a disturbingly extremist activist approach to Islamic issues”, such was her verve in defending Ms Newman. Today has shown that that verve was sadly misplaced.
Because Cathy Newman has, unlike Louise Mensch, decided not to indulge in another exhibition of freestyle Olympian wobbler throwing, but to ‘fess up. “I have written to South London Islamic Centre and offered my sincere apologies for Tweets sent in haste after I visited there in error … I accept my Tweets were inappropriate and regret the use of the word ‘ushered’”. That was the word that got Ms Mensch so worked up.
Ms Newman goes on: “My language was poorly chosen and has caused a great deal of offence. I deeply regret that this happened … I shall now be taking a break from Twitter”. And thus she has Done The Right Thing, simply and honourably. Her editor at Channel 4 News, Ben de Pear, has sent the Mosque an unreserved apology and expressed his disappointment to Ms Newman over her actions.
That should have been the end of the matter, but nothing is ever over until the fat ego sings. And oh, did it sing: “I stand by every word I said about Cathy Newman. Her use of the word ‘usher’ was correct in every way and the mosque behaved appallingly … They should apologise to her again immediately. I would never set foot in that mosque; somebody might usher me to the door too”.
There’s more: “Imagine, CCTV shows a man telling a woman to leave as she removes her shoes. Disgusting. I've no doubt organised bullying caused this … And the ‘go to church’ when somebody states they are visiting your mosque is dire ‘open day’ or not. No church would do that to a Muslim”. Those who are still awake will recall that the Mosque’s CCTV did not have any sound, so what was said to Ms Newman is mere conjecture.
But she’s away with the fairies: “I know who looks bad here, and it surely isn't Cathy Newman. The bullying behaviour will rightly put other Christians off reaching out … Stretham [sic] Mosque, bow your head in shame for the way you treated a woman visitor”. Sometimes you make the wrong call. Digging yourself in yet deeper does not make that call right. Cathy Newman has understood this, and fair play to her.