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Last Updated: Tuesday, 3 August, 2004, 20:52 GMT 21:52 UK
British Council anti-Islam probe
The British Council has suspended a press officer in an investigation into allegedly anti-Muslim newspaper articles.

Harry Cummins has denied writing a series of opinion columns in the Sunday Telegraph under the pseudonym Will Cummins.

Muslim groups had protested to the newspaper's editor about the articles.

They said the author had described Muslims in derogatory terms and said Islam had a "black heart".

'Deeply offensive'

The British Council has moved swiftly to distance itself from the articles.

The organisation, which celebrates its 70th anniversary this year, was set up to develop closer cultural relations between the UK and other countries.

A spokesman, Christopher Wade, said the organisation disassociated itself from the "deeply offensive" content of the articles.

"The purpose of the British Council is to build mutually beneficial relationships between people in the UK and other countries on the basis of trust and mutual understanding," Mr Wade said.

Mr Wade has also written to a Muslim group which asked the British Council to investigate the allegations against Mr Cummins.

The Muslim Association of Britain said it welcomed the steps taken by the British Council but was awaiting the outcome of the investigation.


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