Paris mayor treats legal actions on Fox News allegations

By Alison Barnett
Staff Writer

Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris, is threatening to sue Fox News for lying about the state of some neighborhoods in her city. Earlier this month, a man named Steve Emerson, who was referred to as a security expert, claimed that parts of France, along with some other European countries, contained “no-go zones,” where the local governments have no control over the Muslim population.

Emerson claimed there were “zones where Shariah courts were set up, where Muslim density is very intense, where the police don’t go in, and where it’s basically a separate country almost, a country within a country.”

He also stated that the entire city of Birmingham, England, was another place “where non-Muslims just simply don’t go in.” According to the 2011 census, 21.8 percent of Birmingham residents identify as Muslim. British Prime Minister David Cameron reacted to these claims by calling Emerson a “complete idiot.”

anne hidalgo taking the oath of office in paris

Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

In an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, Mayor Hidalgo said “The image of Paris has been prejudiced, and the honor of Paris has been prejudiced.”

These comments may have been inspired by some serious discussion about the role of Muslims in Paris and all of France. The attacks on “Charlie Hebdo,” a French magazine, by Islamic extremists have caused a lot of discussion on free speech versus respecting religious beliefs.

“Charlie Hebdo” printed drawings of the Prophet Mohammed, which is considered disrespectful by many Muslims. Millions of people took to the streets of Paris to march for free speech, but at the same time France has had almost as many anti-Muslim attacks since the shooting as they did in all of 2014.

French police also arrested Dieudonne M’bala M’bala, a comedian, for making a tweet they view as supporting terrorism.

Fox did air an apology, saying they they “made some regrettable errors on air regarding the Muslim population in Europe, particularly with regard to England and France.” Host Julie Banderas said that “there is no formal designation of these zones in either country and no credible information to support the assertion that there are specific areas in these countries that exclude individuals based solely on their religion.”

Steve Emerson also apologized for his comments about Birmingham, and pledged to make a donation to the Birmingham Children’s Hospital as well.

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