Media mogul Rupert Murdoch backtracks after stirring tweetstorm with comments on Muslims

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Media tycoon Rupert Murdoch sought to backtrack on Wednesday from a Twitter storm stemming from comments about Muslims following the Paris attacks.

"Certainly did not mean all Muslims responsible for Paris attack. But Muslim community must debate and confront extremism," he said in a tweet that followed a barrage of criticisms of a comment made last week.

The 83-year-old media baron's comments about the bloody assault on French magazine Charlie Hebdo stirred up taunts and angry replies, many using the hashtag #RupertsFault.

The Australian-born head of News Corp and 21st Century Fox drew fire for his Jan 9 tweet which said: "Maybe most Moslems peaceful, but until they recognise and destroy their growing jihadist cancer they must be held responsible."

Criticism was led by Los Angeles-based comic Aziz Ansari, who wrote: "Are you responsible for the evil (expletive) all Christians do or just the insane amount of evil you yourself contribute to?"

Ansari also asked him: "Can we get a step by step guide? How can my 60-year-old parents in NC help destroy terrorist groups?"

His parents are Tamil Muslims from India who migrated to North Carolina.

After Mr Murdoch's latest tweet, Ansari fired back: "Hahahah you got forced to do a fake apology tweet!!! AHAHAHAHA YOU LOSER."

Over the past few days, dozens of Twitter users mocked Mr Murdoch for his comments using the hashtag.

"Adolf Hitler was Catholic. Why didn't Rupert stop him? #RupertsFault," Twitter user Graham Bowling wrote.

Another user tweeting under the name Shariah Bolshevik wrote: "The Crusades which he CONVENIENTLY never denounced or apologised for."

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling weighed in on the debate, tweeting: "I was born Christian. If that makes Rupert Murdoch my responsibility, I'll auto-excommunicate."