Fox News says sorry for calling Birmingham a 'Muslim-only city'

The US cable news channel issued four separate on-air apologies for false claims

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The Independent Online

Fox News has apologised for claims made on-air by terrorism commentator Steven Emerson that Birmingham, England is a "totally Muslim city".

The US broadcaster took time out of four separate broadcasts on Saturday to address false claims made in the wake of the Paris shooting, including Emerson's assertion that "non-Muslims just simply don't go" into Birmingham.

Anchor Jeanine Pirro, whom Emerson was talking to in the fateful segment and who herself said "it sounds like a caliphate within a particular country", made the day's final apology just after 9pm.

She said: "Last week on this programme, a guest made a serious factual error that we wrongly let stand unchallenged and uncorrected."

She continued: "The most recent census data, which is from 2011, indicates 22 per cent of the population of Birmingham identifies themselves as Muslim. Also, we could find no credible source that indicates Birmingham is a so-called no-go zone."

Earlier in the day, anchors apologised for using "inaccurate maps" of no-go zones in France and for referring to an inaccurate poll that said 69 per cent of French Muslims support Isis.

This apology comes days after Emerson himself said sorry for his claims, including the existence of sharia courts and the inability of the UK government to police Muslim no-go zones.

He also likened the backlash to "waterboarding" in another misguided statement.

The Fox News segment has been the source of widespread criticism — from Prime Minister David Cameron calling Emerson "an idiot" to people on Twitter starting the satirical hashtag #FoxNewsFacts.

Since the infamous interview, Ukip leader Nigel Farage has gone to Fox News to say much of the same thing as Emerson, describing "ghettos" in the UK run according to sharia law.