UPDATE: 7:50 p.m. ― Fox News deleted the tweet and issued a statement from FoxNews.com managing director Refet Kaplan:
FoxNews.com initially corrected the misreported information with a tweet and an update to the story on Monday. The earlier tweets have now been deleted. We regret the error.
Kate Purchase, spokeswoman for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, thanked the network.
Fox News should retract or update its tweets falsely identifying the Quebec mosque shooting suspect as Moroccan, a spokeswoman for Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday.
Kate Purchase, Trudeau’s director of communications, shared an email on Twitter that she sent to Fox News asking for the correction.
“These tweets by Fox News dishonour the memory of the six victims and their families by spreading misinformation, playing identity politics, and perpetuating fear and division within our communities,” Purchase wrote.
She released her email to the network in a series of tweets:
Fox News did not immediately return requests for comment.
The Fox News tweet in question read: “Suspect in Quebec mosque terror attack was of Moroccan origin, reports show.”
At the time of the tweet, police had released the names of two suspects. One was Alexandre Bissonnette, a French-Canadian university student, who police later said was the sole shooter. He was charged Monday in the massacre.
The second man in question, Mohamed Belkhadir, mistakenly had been identified as a suspect, police said. Belkhadir, a Canadian of Moroccan origin, later revealed to reporters that he had been at the mosque praying, phoned police when he heard shots, and was trying to save a victim’s life when he was arrested.
The Fox News tweet’s emphasis on Belkhadir’s roots in Morocco, a Muslim-majority country, plays into U.S. President Donald Trump’s false rhetoric that people from largely Muslim nations are terror-prone, critics said.
The tweet is one of many uncorrected media reports about the suspected shooter’s ethnic origins.
Pamela Gellar, co-founder of the American Freedom Defense Initiative, which the Southern Poverty Law Center defines as a hate group, boasted on her Facebook page that she was right in assuming the shooters were Muslim. She later posted a curt acknowledgment that one of the suspects turned out to be a witness, but failed to correct any posts about the shooting on her website.