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George Clooney rejects apology for UK story on upcoming marriage

NEW YORK (Reuters) - George Clooney refused to accept an apology from Britain's Daily Mail after it published what he said was a false story "insinuating religious tensions" by saying his future mother-in-law opposed his marriage to human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin.

The Oscar-winning actor said the apology showed that the Mail knew the online story about Alamuddin's mother preferring her daughter to marry within the family's Druze religion was a lie when it published it on Monday.

"What separates this from all of the ridiculous things the Mail makes up is that now, by their own admission, it can be proved to be a lie. In fact, a premeditated lie," Clooney, 53, said in a statement published in the newspaper USA Today on Friday.

"So I thank the Mail for its apology. Not that I would ever accept it ...," he added.

The Mail Online story, which was not published in the print edition, said Alamuddin could be cast out of the Druze community because she would not be wed in a Druze wedding. It added that women have been murdered for not abiding by the Druze religious rules.

Clooney rarely comments about his personal life but he took issue with the Mail Online report for "insinuating religious tensions where there are none."

The Mail Online removed the story from its website earlier this week after Clooney said it was fabricated. It apologized for any distress it had caused and added that the report was from a trusted freelance journalist and based on contacts in Lebanon and Britain.

Clooney said the Mail knew the story was a lie and cited another report it had published in April that said Alamuddin's father had married outside the Druze faith and that her mother was not Druze.

"The Mail knew the story in question was false and printed it anyway," said Clooney, who won an Oscar for best supporting actor in 2006 for "Syriana" and shared the best picture award in 2013 for "Argo."

There was no immediate response from the Mail Online about the actor's latest comments.

Clooney has been dating Alamuddin, 36, since October, according to media reports. News of their engagement was confirmed in April when Alamuddin's legal practice in London issued a statement congratulating the couple.

(Reporting by Patricia Reaney; Editing by Mary Milliken and Richard Chang)

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