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The New Straits Times dated 2nd May 2012 published by us contained at page 6 an article entitled “Observer Under Scrutiny” with a sub-title “Impartiality Questioned: Anti-Islam Australian Lawmaker Comes Under Fire”. The Australian Lawmaker referred to in the article is Mr Nicholas Xenophon.
This article contained, amongst others, the following statement:
1. In a speech made in the Australian Parliament on 17.11.2009, Mr Xenophon was critical of Islam and came out openly in support of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issue.
2. Mr Xenophon is reported to have said in his speech that “What we are seeing is a worldwide pattern of abuse and criminality. On the body of evidence, this is not happening by accident; it is happening by design. Islam is not a religious organisation. It is a criminal organisation that hides behind its so-called religious beliefs.”
3. Mr Xenophon therefore questioned whether Islam deserved any support.
We hereby confirm that we have made a grave error in publishing the statements in the article. We accept that in his speech in the Australian Parliament referred to in the article, Mr Xenophon did not use the word “Islam” and neither did he assert that Islam is not a religious organisation but a criminal organisation hiding behind its religious belief.
For the above reason, we hereby retract all the statements contained in the article against Mr Xenophon and unreservedly and unconditionally apologise to him for any distress or embarrassment caused by the article.
As a further mark of our contrition, we have also removed the article from our online version of the newspaper with immediate effect.