You absolutely cannot make this up: the Portland (Maine) Press Herald has published an apology for running a photo on Sept. 11 of Muslims praying. The photo, taken on Sept. 10, portrays Portland-area residents marking the end of Ramadan. Writes editor and publisher Richard Connor:

Many saw Saturday’s front-page story and photo regarding the local observance of the end of Ramadan as offensive, particularly on the day, September 11, when our nation and the world were paying tribute to those who died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks nine years ago.

This should be as controversial as publishing a recipe for apple pie. Don’t take my word for it. See the photo and accompanying story for yourself. (The audio slideshow above is part of the Web version of the story.)

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a more shameful and repulsive message from a publisher than Connor’s. As Henry Blodget writes at Business Insider, “it really sounds like [what] is going on here is that the Portland Press Herald is agreeing with some readers that Muslim Americans should not be considered Americans. And if that’s what the paper believes, it should probably just come out and say so.”

The fear and hatred being directed toward American Muslims these days is truly terrifying. The folks who’ve whipped up hysteria over the Islamic center that has been proposed for a site near Ground Zero have much to answer for, whether they did it for ratings or political gain.

My concern is that we haven’t seen the worst of it yet. And if a newspaper publisher won’t stand up and be counted, then we have reached a new low.

More from Romenesko. (Via @jilliancyork.)