Thousands of people signed a petition and many others took to social media to ridicule an American commentator who remarked on Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News channel that Birmingham is a ‘Muslim-only city’, where non-Muslims did not go.
Steven Emerson, described as a commentator on terrorism, was discussing recents incidents in Paris, when he narrated his views about Birmingham, and went on to say that in London ‘Muslim religious police’ beat up ‘anyone who doesn't dress according to religious Muslim attire'.
Emerson later apologised, but his remarks provoked thousands of comments online and on social media, with the Labour MP from Birmingham Edgbaston Gisela Stuart calling his remarks ‘stupid’ and with ‘no redeeming features’.
Stuart said: "I checked whether this was some kind of early April Fool spoof, and then I thought he was talking about Birmingham, Alabama, but then I realised he was just utterly and completely wrong."
Birmingham in the west Midlands is one of the most multicultural cities in Britain, with a large population of people of Indian origin. According to the last census, nearly half of the population was Christian, with Islam being the second largest group.
Emerson later apologised: "I have clearly made a terrible error for which I am deeply sorry. 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 istake and I owe an apology to every resident of Birmingham. I am not going to make any excuses. I made an inexcusable error."
He said he would also make a donation to the Birmingham Children's Hospital.
However, thousands of people signed an online petition asking Fox News to tender an apology on air.