In the wake of the Fox News apology for a guest expert’s on-air claims regarding Muslim “no-go zones” in Europe, an international clamor has ensued with condemnation of Fox, claims that Muslim immigrants really do want to assimilate and a threat by the mayor of Paris to sue the cable network for “insulting” the great city.
There’s only one problem: Europe is full of Muslim “no-go” zones, which have been documented, lamented, reported on and openly discussed for years.
In fact, the governments of France and other European nations have identified specific enclaves, where Muslim immigrants have chosen not to assimilate, as areas in which law enforcement has lost some degree of control.
The French government lists on its website 751 Zones Urbaines Sensibles, or Sensitive Urban Zones, that the state does not fully control, notes Middle East foreign policy expert Daniel Pipes, director of the Middle East Forum.
The French zones, which have specific street demarcations, were first identified by the government in 1996. An estimate that is now 10 years old found 5 million people living in the zones, Pipes noted.
Nevertheless, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo declared Tuesday in a CNN interview the city will sue Fox News after the network’s coverage “insulted” them.
“When we’re insulted, and when we’ve had an image, then I think we’ll have to sue, I think we’ll have to go to court, in order to have these words removed,” Hidalgo said. “The image of Paris has been prejudiced, and the honor of Paris has been prejudiced.”
On Saturday, “Fox Report” host Julie Banderas told viewers that in the previous week, “We have made some regrettable errors on air regarding the Muslim population in Europe, particularly with regard to England and France.”
“Now, this applies especially to discussions of so-called ‘no-go zones,’ areas where non-Muslims allegedly aren’t allowed in and police supposedly won’t go.
“To be clear, 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,” Banderas said. “There are certainly areas of high crime in Europe as there are in the United States and other countries – where police and visitors enter with caution. We deeply regret the errors and apologize to any and all who may have taken offense including the people of France and England.”
The New York Times declared in a headline “Fox News Apologizes for False Claims of Muslim-Only Areas in England and France” while the Atlanta Journal-Constitution blared “Fox News admits ‘no-go zones’ are fantasy.”
Not so fast, says Robert Spencer, a long-time monitor of the conflict between Islam and Western civilization as editor of Jihad Watch.
He wrote in a Front Page Magazine column that the “only problem with all the cork popping around Fox’s apology was that there is a problem with Muslim areas in Europe – and the Fox apology didn’t go so far as to say there wasn’t.”
Spencer acknowledged inaccurate statements were made by Steven Emerson, director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism. In a Fox News interview Jan. 11, Emerson said “there are actual cities like Birmingham that are totally Muslim, where non-Muslims just simply don’t go in.”
“That is false, and Emerson has acknowledged that and apologized,” Spencer wrote.
But Emerson was not guilty of fabrication, Spencer quickly asserted, only of overstatement.
A zone in nearly every city
Pipes, who was one of the first to use the term “no-go zone” in reference to Muslims in Europe, noted in 2006 that France’s Sensitive Urban Zones ranged from two zones in the medieval town of Carcassonne to 12 in the heavily Muslim city of Marseilles, with hardly a town in the country lacking one.
Pipes has continuously updated his original 2006 post, citing references by politicians, civil leaders and journalists to “no-go zones” in Britain, Germany and Sweden, as well as France.
Since 2007, Pipes has visited largely Muslim areas of Paris, Copenhagen, Malmö, Stockholm, Berlin and Athens to find out for himself what is happening. He explained that for “a visiting American, these areas are very mild, even dull.”
“We who know the Bronx and Detroit expect urban hell in Europe too, but there things look fine. The immigrant areas are hardly beautiful, but buildings are intact, greenery abounds, and order prevails,” Pipes said.
“These are not full-fledged no-go zones,” he explained, “but, as the French nomenclature accurately indicates, ‘sensitive urban zones.’ In normal times, they are unthreatening, routine places. But they do unpredictably erupt, with car burnings, attacks on representatives of the state (including police), and riots.”
This week, Britain’s chief inspector of constabulary, Tom Winsor, told the Times of London in an interview that parts of the U.K. are becoming no-go areas for police because minority communities are operating their own justice systems.
“There are some communities born under other skies who will not involve the police at all. I am reluctant to name the communities in question, but there are communities from other cultures who would prefer to police themselves,” said Winsor, who is responsible for the inspection of police forces in England and Wales.
“There are cities in the Midlands where the police never go because they are never called. They never hear of any trouble because the community deals with that on its own.”
Soeren Kern, senior fellow of the Gatestone Institute, wrote in 2011, “Islamic extremists are stepping up the creation of ‘no-go’ areas in European cities.”
“Many of the ‘no-go’ zones function as microstates governed by Islamic Sharia law,” he wrote. “Host-country authorities effectively have lost control in these areas and in many instances are unable to provide even basic public aid such as police, fire fighting and ambulance services.”
Kern said the “no-go” areas are the “by-product of decades of multicultural policies that have encouraged Muslim immigrants to create parallel societies and remain segregated rather than become integrated into their European host nations.”
He pointed to a Muslim group in Britain called Muslims Against the Crusades, which launched a campaign to turn 12 British cities – including what it calls “Londonistan” – into autonomous enclaves ruled by Islamic law and operate entirely outside British jurisprudence.
The Islamic Emirates Project name as targets for Shariah rule the British cities of Birmingham, Bradford, Derby, Dewsbury, Leeds, Leicester, Liverpool, Luton, Manchester, Sheffield, as well as Waltham Forest in northeast London and Tower Hamlets in East London.
In 2008, Michael Nazir-Ali, the Pakistani-born Anglican bishop of Rochester, Pipes noted, wrote in the London Daily Telegraph that one of the results in Britain of a worldwide surge in Islamic extremism has been “to further alienate the young from the nation in which they were growing up and also to turn already separate communities into ‘no-go’ areas where adherence to this ideology has become a mark of acceptability.”
“Those of a different faith or race may find it difficult to live or work there because of hostility to them,” he said.
Last October, the Swedish police published a report on 55 areas of heightened criminal activity in a report titled “A national survey of criminal networks with great influence in the local community.” Pipes noted no ethnicity is mentioned, but many happen to be regions with Muslim majorities.
Germany’s “Shariah no-go zones” were addressed in a 2013 Front Page Magazine article by Andrew Harrod.
New York Times: ‘No-go’ zones
Spencer pointed out that in 2002, the New York Times’ David Ignatius wrote of France that “Arab gangs regularly vandalize synagogues here, the North African suburbs have become no-go zones at night, and the French continue to shrug their shoulders.”
Spencer also noted that the day after the Charlie Hebdo massacre set off Fox’s discussions of no-go zones in France, the New Republic wrote: “The word banlieue (‘suburb’) now connotes a no-go zone of high-rise slums, drug-fueled crime, failing schools and poor, largely Muslim immigrants and their angry offspring.”
Two of the three Charlie Hebdo murderers were born and raised in France, Spencer observed.
“Where did they get their ideas about killing blasphemers? Not from French schools. They learned them in the Muslim areas where they were born and raised,” he said.
“What’s more, France leads the West in the number of Muslims who have traveled from there to wage jihad for the Islamic State, with well over a thousand Muslims leaving France to join the caliphate.
“Where did they get their understanding of Islam?”
On his nationally syndicated radio show Tuesday, Rush Limbaugh commented on the Paris mayor’s threat to sue Fox News.
He cited Hidalgo saying: “In a great discussion of truth, everyone has to play its role and we’re going to have to be realistic and put things where they are. We’ll have to ban this talk about no-go zones.”
Limbaugh said, however, he had heard of no-go zones long before Fox News reported their existence.
The reporting, he said will “make Fox even bigger.”
“CNN is ecstatic and happy that Fox News is going to be sued for referring to the no-go zones in Paris,” he said. “They’re very happy about it. You know the old saw. ‘You believe in something, you watch somebody else lose it, and you do nothing to defend it, you’ve got no excuse when they come for you. And that’s the way all of this stuff works out.'”
Possible 2016 hopeful enters fray
The issue already has been seized by a possible hopeful for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination.
Undeterred by the Fox News controversy, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal brought up “no-go” zones in a speech Monday in London to the Henry Jackson Society.
He said in his prepared remarks that “in the West, non-assimilationist Muslims establish enclaves and carry out as much of Shariah law as they can without regard for the laws of the democratic countries which provided them a new home.”
“It is startling to think that any country would allow, even unofficially, for a so called ‘no-go zone,'” Jindal said. “The idea that a free country would allow for specific areas of its country to operate in an autonomous way that is not free and is in direct opposition to its laws is hard to fathom.”
A spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Washington, D.C., Corey Saylor, issued a statement in response, saying “it is sad that competition for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination is kicking off with Muslim bashing.”
“Governor Jindal’s decision to repeat the already discredited no-go zone allegation is embarrassing to our nation and to his potential presidential campaign,” said Saylor, whose Washington, D.C.-based organization was named by the Justice Department as an “unindicted co-conspirator” in a plot to fund the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas.
Jindal defended his remarks later in an interview with CNN, observing that “speaking the truth, we’re going to make people upset.”
“Here is the biggest point. Radical Islamists hate our values. They threaten our way of life. They don’t appreciate, they don’t condone, they don’t allow freedom of expression, self determination,” the governor said. “Anybody that thinks you should be killed for drawing a cartoon is a terrorist, is somebody that we need to hunt down, that we need to get rid of in our societies.”
He brought up again the issue of non-assimilation, in which “you have people who want to come to our country but not adopt our value, in some cases, not adopt our language, in some cases, want to set apart their own enclaves and continue to hold onto their own values.”
“I think that’s dangerous. It’s dangerous in America and in Europe,” he said.