Britons Mock Fox News ‘Terror Expert’ Over Muslim Claims

Britain’s legion of amateur satirists reacted with delight to comments by a “terrorism expert” on America’s Fox News channel who said many parts of the U.K., including its second city Birmingham, were Muslim-only areas.

Steve Emerson, who is described on his website as “one of the leading authorities on Islamic extremist networks,” made the announcement in a Jan. 10 interview with the channel on whether Europe was a safe place for non-Muslims.

“In Britain, it’s not just no-go zones, there are actual cities like Birmingham that are totally Muslim where non-Muslims just simply don’t go in,” Emerson said. “Parts of London, there are actually Muslim religious police that actually beat and actually wound seriously anyone who doesn’t dress according to Muslim, religious Muslim attire.”

This came as a surprise to the 78 percent of Birmingham residents who don’t describe themselves as Muslim, and Emerson was quickly mocked on Twitter. People posted pictures of a Mecca Bingo venue as supposed evidence of Birmingham’s Islamic domination, with the hashtag “#foxnewsfacts”. Someone else claimed the city’s BT Tower was in fact the world’s tallest minaret.

Raheb Othmani, a Tunisian engineer, reworked the offer of support made to Muslims in Australia after a gunman took hostages in Sydney in December: “If you are a non-Muslim and would like to visit Birmingham #illridewithyou”

‘Complete Idiot’

Prime Minister David Cameron, whose Conservative Party held its annual conference in Birmingham last year, weighed in during a television interview today. “When I heard this I choked on my porridge and I thought it must be April Fool’s Day,” Cameron told ITV News. “This guy is clearly a complete idiot. He should actually look at Birmingham and see what a fantastic example it is of bringing people together.”

Emerson subsequently apologized for his remarks. “I have clearly made a terrible error for which I am deeply sorry,” he said in a statement on his website. “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.”

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.