Fox News apologizes for terror expert's 'totally Muslim' claim
'The guest asserted that the city of Birmingham, England, is totally Muslim and that it is a place where non-Muslims don't go. Both are incorrect'
Fox News has issued an apology for on-air comments made by an Islamic terrorism "expert" in the wake of the attacks in Paris claiming the U.K. city of Birmingham is "totally Muslim" and a place where "non-Muslims simply don't go."
"Over the course of this last week we have made some regrettable errors on air regarding the Muslim population in Europe," Fox News host Jeanine Pirro said on Saturday's “Justice with Judge Jeanine,” a week after Steve Emerson, head of the Investigative Project on Terrorism, made those claims on her show.
"The guest asserted that the city of Birmingham, England, is totally Muslim and that it is a place where non-Muslims don't go," she said. "Both are incorrect."
Pirro added: "We deeply regret these errors and apologize to the people of Birmingham, our viewers and all who have been offended."
On the Jan. 11 broadcast, Emerson and Pirro were discussing Europe's so-called "no-go" zones.
“They’re sort of amorphous, they’re not contiguous necessarily, but they’re sort of safe havens,” Emerson said. “And they’re places where the governments, like France, Britain, Sweden, Germany — they don’t exercise any sovereignty, so you basically have zones where Sharia courts are set up, where Muslim density is very intense, where police don’t go in."
The comments provoked a strong backlash across the U.K.
“When I heard this, frankly, I choked on my porridge and I thought it must be April Fools’ Day," British Prime Minister David Cameron said. "This guy’s clearly a complete idiot.”
"What he should do is actually look at Birmingham," Cameron continued, "and see what a fantastic example it is of bringing people together of different faiths, different backgrounds and actually building a world-class, brilliant city with a great and strong economy."
Emerson's claims were mocked on Twitter, where users invoked the hashtag #FoxNewsFacts.
Emerson himself later issued an apology on his website:
I have clearly made a terrible error for which I am deeply sorry. My comments about Birmingham were totally in error. And I am issuing this apology and correction for having made this comment about the beautiful city of Birmingham. I do not intend to justify or mitigate my mistake by stating that I had relied on other sources because I should have been much more careful. There was no excuse for making this mistake and I owe an apology to every resident of Birmingham. I am not going to make any excuses. I made an inexcusable error. And I am obligated to openly acknowledge that mistake. I wish to apologize for all residents of that great city of Birmingham.
PS. I made a donations of £500 to the Birmingham Children's Hospital, £150 to Birmingham St Marys Hospice and £150 to Acorns Childrens Hospice.
A representative for the cable news network told the Washington Post that it is "highly unlikely" Emerson will "ever be booked" on Fox News again.