An American helicopter-maker has withdrawn a “highly offensive” advert depicting US special forces storming a mosque.
The full-page colour advert showed American soldiers abseiling on to the roof of the “Mohammed Mosque” with the words: “It descends from the heavens. Ironically it unleashes hell.”
The Osprey is built in America, with help from British firms BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce. Bell Helicopter, one of the joint makers, said the advert had been approved by its staff but they had not had the authority to do so.
“We consider the ad offensive, regret its publication and apologise to those who, like us, are dismayed with its contents,” the company said.
“We immediately requested that our partner’s advertising agency withdraw and destroy all print proofs and replace it with one that was appropriate.”
The Council on American Islamic Relations said that, had the picture shown a church, there would have been a major row.
BAE Systems said it would have rejected the advert if it had been consulted on the content prior to its publication.
A spokesman said: “We view the advert as highly offensive in style, tone and content.”
The controversial ?12 billion Osprey programme, which has killed 23 US marines in test flights, was given the go-ahead for full production last month.