Today #foxnewsfacts is trending on Twitter. Why? Because the USA news channel Fox News, stated that Birmingham, UK is a Muslim City and non-muslims don’t go there. Of course this is a completely outrageous statement and many communities would have responded with anger. However, the citizens of Birmingham and Brummies everywhere responded with what they do best: humour. I recommend you go across to Twitter and read the #foxnewsfacts stream. It trended worldwide and I am sure has made the day of many people!
The mind-blowing comment was made by a ‘Terrorism Expert’ who said “In Britain, it’s not just no-go zones, there are actual cities like Birmingham that are totally Muslim where non-Muslims just simply don’t go in.” I thought experts knew their facts before sharing them on an international news station, but apparently not.
So here are the facts. Kindly provided by Birmingham City Council.
By my calculation: and remember I’m not a “Terror Expert”, 21% population is not a Muslim city which is a no go area for other religions. Although there are occasionally racial tensions between different cultures, there are no more than any other city in UK – and certainly not the problems that are present in USA cities. Of course there are pockets of communities within the city that are Muslim, but then there are for other communities such as the Hindi community and West Indian.
Out of choice I wouldn’t necessarily choose to go to all of these areas, but then I wouldn’t choose to go to the more blingy, in your face areas of Essex or Liverpool. But that doesn’t mean they are ‘no go’ areas, or that one has to abide by Muslim laws when in those areas. This demonstrates ignorance on the part of the “Terror Expert” and perhaps Brummies should be outraged.
The city has a history of immigrants settling from all parts of the world, and they get along together. There are some outstanding schools in the city: seven grammar schools that are some of the best in the country. Students from all of the communities attend these high achieving schools, resulting in understanding different cultures. Alas, due to the comprehensive system, there are local community schools where less mixing takes place: and of course there was an investigation into 10 schools that were not following national curriculum guidelines. Given these were 10 out of 460 schools in the city, this was not a significant problem.
My parents who are 80, still live on the outskirts of Birmingham, in a very affluent area. They have neighbours who are successful Muslims and Hindus as well as ‘white’ neighbours. And my father particularly welcomes the samosas one neighbour frequently cooks for him. Of course, this is a small pocket of Birmingham and is not the same as areas where one community dominates the area. But I do know that all communities in Birmingham regard themselves as ‘Brummies’ and have a pride in the city.
As someone that was born in Birmingham and lived there for the first 18 years of my life (to parents who weren’t from Birmingham), I know the power of the Brummie humour. And the city was right to respond with humour, ridiculing the ridiculous statement. Instead of being angry, banning Fox News from being broadcast in the city, insisting on an apology and generally sulking, they responded with a far more powerful action “Taking the P*SS”. As the worldwide trending #foxnewsfacts demonstrates, this is the best way to devalue the journalistic standards of a news station.