Driving into parts of inner-city Detroit, Chicago or Miami at certain times of day can be pretty scary, but when the drug culture meets Shariah law it becomes a whole new level of frightening.
Yet, that's what some U.S. neighborhoods have to look forward to if things don't change in Washington, says the author of a new book on Europe's "no-go zones." In fact, the early warning signs are already becoming visible in some U.S. communities, says Raheem Kassam, who visited more than a dozen Muslim-dominated enclaves on the continent.
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The jolting message contained in "No Go Zones: How Sharia Law Is Coming to a Neighborhood Near You," is one of warning for America, which is in the process of building up its own no-go zones by making the same immigration mistakes now on full display in Germany, France, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. Almost daily reports of attacks, often with knives or vehicles, have been reported in these countries, while these type attacks are almost never seen in Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, countries that have barred their doors to Muslim migration.
But Kassam is worried about the United States.
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Places like the Cedar Riverside area of Minneapolis, where Shariah cops make house checks to make sure Somali refugees are not becoming too Westernized, and Hamtramck, Michigan, where the call to prayer is blasted over loudspeakers in Arabic and storefronts that once peddled Polish sausage are now brimming with halal meats.
These can be the early warning signs of a budding no-go zone, says Kassam. But even more crucial, he says, is the level of assimilation by second and third generation Muslim Americans. If the experience of Europe is any indication, trouble is on the horizon for U.S. cities.
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Kassam was born in West London to parents of Tanzanian descent and has an ethnic Indian background.
His family practiced Ismaili, a sect of Shia Islam that is considered heretical and targeted for persecution in most Sunni-dominated countries.
"So I was a practicing Muslim until about the age of 20 but I guess I was lucky to be raised in this kind of liberal Muslim family," Kassam told WND.
Shariah-compliant Somalis make life-changing impression
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His good fortune ran out when he went off to the University of Westminster and realized that the greater slice of Islam did not share his family's liberal, pro-Western mindset. He met many Sunnis from Somalia and other countries and came face to face with the dark secret of Islam often hidden from Westerners by the mass media – Shariah.
"I saw things going terribly wrong at my university with the Somalis, they were terribly strict [in following Shariah]," he said. "The University of Westminster is the same college Jihadi John attended, and I didn't want to get into what these guys were about. So I left Islam about 10 years ago."
Jihadi John was the British-born son of Arab migrants who beheaded American journalist James Foley, a beheading that was parlayed by ISIS into a propaganda video.
After watching CNN and "the Anderson Coopers of the world" present what he believes is a distorted view of Islam, Kassam went to work for the U.K. Independence Party headed by Nigel Farage.
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Farage would later write the foreword to his book.
He later became editor in chief of Breitbart London and now splits his time between London, New York and Washington, D.C.
14 cities reaping fruits of multicultural nightmare
The book is based on his travels to 14 cities with notorious no-go zones. Places like the Molenbeek area of Brussels and the Rosengard section in Malmo, Sweden, where outsiders, including police, dare not tread.
"I could not pick and choose when I wanted to be there, it was just whenever I could arrive, it was the middle of the night in many cases, it was whenever the train or the plane arrived," he says.
In the Alum Rock neighborhood of Birmingham, England, graffiti on the side of a building read "No whites allowed after 8 p.m."
What Kassam found in every one of his destinations was poverty, crime and extreme ghettoization, often not far from a posh area of the city.
His book is not the first journalistic investigation of no-go zones, but it may be the most thorough.
Steven Emerson, another journalist, has reported extensively on Muslim enclaves in the West but he ran into trouble more than two years ago when he referred to "no-go zones" during a television interview on Fox News.
"Steve's major problem was that he called the entire city of Birmingham a no-go zone. If he had said 'areas of Birmingham' he would have been all right," Kassam noted. "It was just an innocent slip of the tongue that anyone could have made but they seized upon it to destroy our entire narrative."
Fox apologized for the report and British Prime Minister David Cameron piled on, calling Emerson "undignified" among other, worse names.
"When you have the British prime minister intervene and go out of his way to call out Mr. Emerson you know he was looking for that opportunity. One slip up and we lose the whole narrative. They forced us into a defensive position with their bullying."
Even some conservatives, such as Mideast scholar Daniel Pipes, pushed back. Pipes said he could go into Birmingham's no-go zones and order local food without any problem.
"I told him, Daniel, you're six-feet-seven and you look like an Algerian so nobody is going to bother you, but try being a young French girl walking into that café and watch how you're treated. I've done that, and watched how the girl is treated," Kassam said. "Trust me, Daniel Pipes is not going to get the same treatment."
An underground economy
Kassam visited the Herregarden housing complex located in Malmo, Sweden's Rosengard ghetto. The residential makeup of the apartment complex is approximately 96 percent foreign born, with migrants drawn to Sweden's generous welfare system.
"As we drove around the housing estates at night, it became clear the problems in these areas: drugs, rape, police assaults and more, were created in large part by state-sponsored 'multiculturalism,'" he reported.
"Rosengard felt like a wasteland, like an apocalyptic movie setting," Kassam told WND. "I went in the middle of winter and it was dark, very poorly lit, a couple of men shuffled out into the street, women in hijabs. Walking through the middle of Herregarden complex, you hear Arab music blasting out of the apartments, you could go into the shops and they weren't selling food as we know it, or as Swedes know it, they were selling their own food, at ridiculously low prices. They obviously weren't paying taxes."
Kassam said he heard the same story in almost every other no-go zone throughout Europe: Food and clothing, the basics of life, sold for pennies on the dollar. A Muslim woman can find a long dress in Molenbeek, Brussels, for 2.5 euros.
"You can't make a living on that unless you are not paying taxes," he said.
But more than the underground economy and the unwelcome attitude toward outsiders was the ever-present feeling of a subculture that demanded submission, that not only discouraged mixing with the host country's culture but forbade it.
"No-go zones are areas where police don't want to police. And I can see why," Kassam said. "They don't feel like they're part of your country, they feel like they're closed off. The men want to bore holes in your side with their eyes, and the women, they're so on edge, they're so nervous. I tried to talk to people and nobody would even look in my direction."
"And I'm not white. I'm brown," he adds. "Some say I look Turkish, some say I look Iranian, so I don't look like I'm an undercover police officer, yet I was still treated as an outsider. That's the level of disconnect they have with society, they don't want to talk to outsiders."
In short, there is an undercurrent of fear that is palpable for any outsider entering a no-go zone.
Kassam said some of the signs of burgeoning no-go zones have been present in parts of major American cities for years.
"This echoes in many ways the problems of Chicago and Detroit and Watts," he said.
Thanks to the United Nations-U.S. State Department refugee resettlement program, even not-so major cities like Fargo, North Dakota, and Willmar, Minnesota, are quickly raising up parallel societies insulated from the host community.
In the WND book "Stealth Invasion," these nations within a nation are called "seedlings" by Barack Obama adviser David Lubell, the founder of Welcoming America. Lubell and others talk about watering the "soil" of the host community until the seedlings can sprout and mature, eventually taking over their host community.
Once a seedling community reaches that full bloom, it's too late for police to rein it in.
"The difference is there is an underlying cultural supremacy preached to these people [in the mosques], and that's why it's a more dangerous situation," Kassam said.
Different from 'Little Italy'
There has always been "Little Italy" neighborhoods in Chicago and Detroit, the Irish quarter in Boston, Poletown in Hamtramck or Greektown in Detroit. San Fransisco has its Chinatown, as does Washington, D.C.
But it's not the same as a Muslim no-go zone.
"Look at the evidence as to how the next generation of the Muslims think," Kassam said. "In Hamtramck, Polish people enjoyed their enclave, they took pride in it, but their children grew up and integrated, assimilated, they moved out to the suburbs and many no longer spoke Polish.
"But you look at the Muslim immigrants and they're not doing that, they're actually further ghettoizing, they're moving inward, not outward."
Polls by Pew Research show a higher proportion of young Muslims backing terrorism, supporting death for apostasy [leaving Islam], death for homosexuals, and the idea that the woman must cover herself with the hijab or the burqa.
So it's the opposite trend of Little Italy becoming less like Italy and more like America.
"You see a higher disposition than their parents who believe these things," Kassam said. "They're holding onto this Muslim-American sort of thing, and they're being supported by the political left."
Kassam includes a whole chapter on Hamtramck, which in 2015 became the first U.S. city to elect a majority-Muslim city council. Several years before that, in 2011, the city approved the Muslim call to prayer over loudspeakers, effectively chasing away many of the last Polish holdouts.
"Look at what Teddy Roosevelt said. He said to the immigrant wave of his day, look, there is no room for you to be American and something else," Kassam said. "And we must demand for you to assimilate."
In some of the areas Kassam visited, the majority of signage was in a foreign language.
"The one that springs to mind is Tower Hamlets in East London, the signs were in Bengali. You can find the same in parts of Dearborn, and along the Hamtramck border is one of the only places in America you can get a ballot in Bengali. And you see that in Tower Hamlets as well."
St. Mary's Park in East London was named after a 14th century church, but in 1978 a Bengali immigrant was murdered there and in 1998 they changed the name to that of the migrant, Altab Ali Park, "and to date all the hard-left, Antifa-types hold their rallies there," Kassam said.
"There is anti- Western stuff all over in the Tower Hamlets area. A lot of anti-Western, anti-government sentiments are expressed," he noted. "And it's just a stone's throw away from the big skyscrapers and banks of London, a 10-minute walk. The distinction between the two areas is stark, right on the periphery of one of the most wealthy areas of the world. They live with jealously and envy every day, with rich things and pretty things within their view every day and they're living in squalor."
This breeds hatred and envy and anger.
"And the fundamentalists, the Muslim hate preachers, they come along and they use that to stoke the resentment," he said.
Kassam said he has not converted to any other faith after leaving Islam.
"I converted to alcoholism I'm afraid," he joked. "I did not join any other faith. Organized religion, for me, it just feels scary."