British Council launches inquiry into anti-Muslim columnist

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The Independent Online

The British Council has launched a "formal disciplinary investigation" after one of its press officers fell under suspicion of being the author of allegedly anti-Muslim articles in a national newspaper.

The British Council has launched a "formal disciplinary investigation" after one of its press officers fell under suspicion of being the author of allegedly anti-Muslim articles in a national newspaper.

Harry Cummins, apparently writing under the name Will Cummins, is believed to have written two opinion pieces in The Sunday Telegraph headlined "The Tories must confront Islam instead of kowtowing to it" and "Muslims are a threat to our way of life". Last night, the British Council, which promotes cultural understanding and professes to celebrate this country's ethnic diversity, stated it was "treating the matter seriously, and disassociating ourselves from the sentiments expressed in the article". Earlier, the council stated that Mr Cummins had denied writing the articles.

Jenny McCartney, a staff writer on The Sunday Telegraph who had presented an opposing view to Mr Cummins on the same pages, had begun her article: "Like almost everyone else, I know very little about Mr Will Cummins, who has lately been opining against Islam - with such violent energy, and so very few useful conclusions - in the pages of this newspaper."

Yesterday The Sunday Telegraph's comment editor, Mark Law acknowledged that Will Cummins was a pseudonym, but he refused to comment about whether Harry and Will Cummins were one and the same person.

Attempts to contact Mr Cummins at the Council proved fruitless. A fellow press officer said that Mr Cummins was "feeling unwell".