'Non-Muslims don't visit Birmingham' and other city myths debunked

Is Chicago really 'the Windy City'?

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The Independent Travel

This week self-proclaimed terrorism expert Steven Emerson told Fox News that Birmingham was a "totally Muslim city" where "non-Muslim's just simply don’t go."

Emerson was subsequently mocked relentlessly on Twitter, where users started the hashtag #foxnewsfacts and shared equally absurd, made-up facts about the Midlands city.

In light of his gaffe, we’ve debunked common myths about other large cities across the globe.

MYTH: You’re never more than six feet from a rat in London.

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Although rats are common in London, thankfully, they are not as prevalent as this myth suggests. Dr Dave Cowan, leader of the wildlife programme at the Food and Environment Research Agency, estimates that there are around 1.5 million rats in total in Britain. In an urban area, you’re more likely to be around 164ft (50m) away from a rat – a far more palatable distance.

MYTH: Chicago is the United States' windiest city.

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Chicago has been nicknamed ‘the windy city’, however, according to the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), Dodge City, Kansas is America’s windiest city, with average speeds of 13.9 miles an hour. With a relatively moderate average wind speed of 10.3 mph, Chicago weather is tame in comparison to many US cities.

MYTH: Amsterdam is the sex capital of the world.

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Amsterdam is well-known for its Red Light District, but can it really claim the title of sex capital of the world? According to the Amsterdam Tourism and Convention Board, there are between 5,000-8,000 sex workers in Amsterdam, but it's been suggested that there are 10,000 sex workers in Ko Samui in Thailand alone. According to a 2000 study by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs there are between 20,000 and 25,000 sex workers in the Netherlands in total; Thailand, meanwhile, has a 2.8 million sex workers, according to a 2004 study by Chulalongkorn University. While prostitution is legal in the Netherlands, it is illegal in Thailand.

MYTH: Paris is the city for lovers.

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With its beautiful buildings and fine dining, Paris is known as the city of love. However, a recent survey by holiday price comparison site Icelolly found only 9 per cent of people think Paris is the most romantic city in the world. Only 50 out of 10,000 French citizens get married per year – the lowest number per capita in Europe. There are 7.5 million people living without a partner in France, and the number is growing every year.

MYTH: Birmingham has more canals than Venice.

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And in another myth about Birmingham, true, it has more miles of canal than the Italian city, but in terms of number of canals themselves Birmingham has a mere six to Venice’s 177.

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