Fox News 'terror expert' Steve Emerson compares aftermath of Birmingham Muslim comments to 'waterboarding'

David Cameron has said the pundit is 'clearly a complete idiot'

Adam Withnall
Tuesday 13 January 2015 09:23
Birmingham is a 'totally Muslim' place where 'non-Muslims just simply don’t go', a self-proclaimed terrorism expert told the US Fox News channel, sparking a tidal wave of mockery
Birmingham is a 'totally Muslim' place where 'non-Muslims just simply don’t go', a self-proclaimed terrorism expert told the US Fox News channel, sparking a tidal wave of mockery

The self-proclaimed Fox News “terror expert” who described Birmingham as a “no-go area for non-Muslims” has compared what he has gone through in the wake of the comments to waterboarding.

Appearing on Sky News to apologise for what he called his “sloppy research” and “inexcusable error”, Steve Emerson said he “deserved the pain and hurt” he has experienced since.

“Hearing it over when you played it was like waterboarding, I guess,” he said.

The pundit’s comments during a live TV broadcast on Sunday – that “there are actual cities like Birmingham that are totally Muslim, where non-Muslims just simply don't go in” – were widely derided and drew a response from David Cameron himself.

Speaking to ITV News, the Prime Minister said Emerson was “clearly a complete idiot”.

“When I heard this, I choked on my porridge and I thought it must be April Fool's Day,” he said.

“Now he has started with an apology, that's not a bad start, but what he should do is look at Birmingham 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 new comments come in the wake of a CIA torture report that found US security services used waterboarding among other violent acts of interrogation on suspected terrorists.

Asked by Sky News if he felt the comparison might cause further offence, the pundit said: “I didn’t mean to offend anyone, just to explain the fact that it was hurtful for me and everyone else and I deserved to feel the pain of listening to it over again.”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in