New York mayor Michael Bloomberg has apologised to a group of Sikh tourists from Birmingham who were taken off a sightseeing bus and forced to kneel on the pavement with their hands behind their heads.
The double-decker bus was evacuated and the five men were handcuffed in front of shocked onlookers near Times Square. Other passengers were ordered to walk off the bus with their hands in the air while their bags were searched.
Sewa Singh Mandla, chairman of the Council of Sikh Gurdwaras in Birmingham, last night said he had appealed to Tony Blair for help because an increasing number of Sikhs had been mistaken for terrorists since the London bombings.
Mayor Bloomberg urged New Yorkers to call authorities if they see something suspicious, but added they should use "common sense" and avoid profiling people like the group of South Asianlooking Sikhs from Britain.
He said: "It turned out that these people did not present any threat whatsoever. It's a shame, and I certainly apologise on behalf of the city of New York. We love tourists and we want them to keep coming here and feel that they can go around and enjoy the city."
The five Britons, all Sikhs, are reported to have grown up together in Birmingham. They left the city after the incident on Sunday to continue their US trip.
One, named only as Jas, aged 39, said it had not spoiled their visit.
"These things happen, don't they?" he said. "We have no hard feelings. It certainly made our trip different, but didn't ruin it at all. I'm definitely coming back."
Sewa Singh Mandla said: "I get lots of complaints from Sikhs in Birmingham who are accused of being al Qaida or Taliban. It is a great worry for us in the Sikh community.
"We constantly have people ringing up and complaining that they have been shouted at in the street or been given dirty looks."