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British TV news anchor turned away from London mosque

Cathy Newman tweeted she was ushered out of the mosque despite being “respectfully dressed.”

Published: Updated:

A British television news anchor was turned away from a London mosque as she attempted to mark the nationwide Visit My Mosque Day, UK newspaper The Telegraph reported.

Sunday’s Visit My Mosque Day was organized by the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) to help improve relations with the community.

Cathy Newman, presenter of Channel 4 News, tweeted she was ushered out of Streatham mosque, in South London, despite being “respectfully dressed.”

She tweeted: “Well I just visited Streatham mosque for #VisitMyMosque day and was surprised to find myself ushered out of the door.”

“I was respectfully dressed, head covering and no shoes but a man ushered me back onto the street. I said I was there for #VisitMyMosque but it made no difference.”

But she later wrote on Twitter that she received a warm welcome at a nearby mosque, the newspaper added.

The event saw a number of mosques across the country throw their doors open to the general public offering tea and cakes, as well answering questions about the Islamic faith.

"Mosques will also be inviting inter-faith leaders as well, and all will be invited to come together to demonstrate unity and solidarity during what has been a tense time for faith communities," the MCB said at the time of organizing the day.

The initiative came three weeks after the attacks in Paris, perpetrated by Islamist extremists, which left 17 people dead.

But the British government sparked widespread anger following the attacks when it wrote to mosques saying imams should do more to prevent radicalization in their own communities.

“You have a precious opportunity, and an important responsibility: in explaining and demonstrating how faith in Islam can be part of British identity,” said the letter from Communities Secretary Eric Pickles.

“There is a need to lay out more clearly than ever before what being a British Muslim means today: proud of your faith and proud of your country,” it added.

But Pickles’ comments sparked anger within the Muslim community and the MCB accused him of insensitivity and stoking Islamophobia by appearing to make a distinction between religious and national identities.

Muslims are said to make up about 4.4 percent of the British population - with 2.8 million people claiming they were Muslim in the country’s 2011 census.

Streatham mosque had not been listed as one of those that was opening to the public.