The Only ‘No-Go Zones’ Are Found in Fox News’ Fantasyland


Roubaix, France (cc photo: Kathryn Burrington)

Life in the “no-go zone”: Roubaix, France (cc photo: Kathryn Burrington)

Fox News pundit Steve Emerson drew international ridicule for claiming Birmingham, England, was a “no-go zone” for non-Muslims (FAIR Blog,1/12/15). But he was far from alone on Fox in advancing this xenophobic fantasy of urban areas lost to Western civilization.

Fox generally characterized these “no-go zones” as isolated, predominantly Muslim areas under Sharia law that are breeding grounds for terrorists. Critically, they claimed that police and other non-Muslims were barred entry from such neighborhoods.

As supposed proof of these “no-go zones,” Fox pointed to French government lists of officially designated Zones urbaines sensibles,  or “sensitive urban zones.” In reality, these are not areas that the French have ceded to Islamists, but rather neighborhoods targeted for urban redevelopment and eligible for special tax incentives, similar to the US “enterprise zone” concept.

But reality didn’t hold back Fox host Sean Hannity (1/8/15), who while law enforcement was still pursuing the perpetrators of the Paris attack asked a correspondent this leading question:

Are the police also searching in these areas that we call the no-go zones, where non-Muslims are usually not allowed, not even police and fire departments, usually? Are those the areas that they’re searching right now?

Correspondent Amy Kellogg neither confirmed or denied Hannity’s dubious description of “no-go zones.”

The next day on Hannity (1/9/15), Jihad Watch director Robert Spencer, aleading proponent of Islamophobia, elaborated on these “no-go areas”: “Essentially, the police have no authority, the French state has no authority, and Islamic law prevails. These places are incubators!”

On Fox & Friends (1/10/15), journalist Nolan Peterson claimed he “witnessed young men wearing Osama Bin Laden T-shirts” in one of these zones. (He would later issue a partial apology, claiming he was only describing his 2005 trip to Paris.)

Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer (Special Report, 1/14/15) claimed that certain terrorist groups “have the small elements in the small no-go zones in Europe, especially in France. And that is the new territory of Islamism.” Although host Bret Baier informed Krauthammer that the French government rejected the term “no-go zone,” Krauthammer dismissively replied, “That’s what they say,” insisting these areas are “ruled by either gangsters or by Sharia and clerics” due to the lack of police.

Perhaps to add European credibility to its flimsy claims, Fox invited Nigel Farage (Hannity, 1/12/15), the leader of the far-right anti-immigrant UK Independence Party, to confirm, “We’ve got no-go zones in most of the big French cities.”

The UK’s Telegraph (1/15/15) dedicated a story to debunking Farage’s claims. Guillaume Delbar, the mayor of Roubaix–a “sensitive urban zone” with the largest Muslim population in France–called Farage’s claims “simply nonsense,” while an unnamed young resident retorted: “That is just bullshit! I can only laugh.”

L'Olympic Cafe, Goutte d'Or (cc photo:  Gilles Klein)

“The new territory of Islamism”: L’Olympic Cafe, Goutte d’Or (cc photo: Gilles Klein)

The Local (1/15/15) interviewed residents of La Goutte d’Or, a sensitive urban zone within Paris, to test Fox News‘ claims. According to the report, every resident disagreed with Fox News‘ antagonistic characterizations, with many characterizing La Goutte d’Or is welcoming. “A Muslim in his twenties added that anyone calling neighborhoods in Paris ‘no-go zones’ were racist,”  The Local reported.

But another resident delved deeper as to why Paris is segregated into sensitive urban zones:

I think this is because officials in Paris are trying to push the poorer population to the edges of the city and to the suburbs by tearing down old buildings and replacing them with newer, more expensive ones that those people can’t afford any longer.

So instead of being communities of terrorism, these “no-go zones” appear to be neighborhoods with typical urban struggles of poverty and gentrification.

Bloomberg Businessweek (1/14/15) also debunked Fox News‘ “no-go zone” alarmism. Notably, it quoted Middle East Forum president Daniel Pipes, who credited himself as the coiner  of the “no-go zone” phrase in 2006. Pipes now says, based on his definition as “a place where the government has lost control and cannot enforce the rule of law,” that there are “no European countries with no-go zones.”

 In 2013, Businessweek related, Pipes observed after a tour of immigrant and Muslim neighborhoods in Paris and five other European cities:

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…hardly beautiful, but buildings are intact, greenery abounds and order prevails…. Having this first-hand experience, I regret having called these areas no-go zones.

Clearly, Fox News didn’t get the memo.

About athenianvoice

Kosmas Loumakis - Sociological consultant, analyst, field operative and tactical field coordinator of national and regional social projects in Sweden. Was contracted for almost two decades by governmental bodies and NGO's, in governmental gang crime and extremism preventive efforts. Have produced a number of socio pedagogic action plans and developed methods, field tactics and strategies for gang crime and extremism preventive projects.

Posted on January 16, 2015, in Articles in English, Hot and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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