“Je ne suis pas Fox News!” seems to be the attitude of Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo. She threatened to sue the station last week over its reporting on her city’s “no-go zones,” areas where non-Muslims are wary to tread but that Hidalgo claims don’t exist. Said she, “When we're insulted, then I think we'll have to sue; I think we'll have to go to court in order to have these words removed.” But if this is going to be her course, a lot of litigation lies before her. And first on her list could be the periodical that, we’re told, practically started the no-go-zone story: the ultra-liberal “newspaper of record,” the New York Times.
Critics may wryly note that, unlike the two Muslim terrorists committing the Jan. 7 massacre at her city’s Charlie Hebdo offices, Hidalgo’s remedy for speech she dislikes would be, at least, a purely legal attack. But unlike the assault on Charlie — a magazine that disgorges truly vile material — the mayor’s efforts amount to an attack on truth.
This may sound strange given that Fox has issued a number of “no-go-zone” apologies. One of these was from Jeanine Pirro, host of Justice with Judge Jeanine, after guest Steve Emerson had claimed on her show, “In Britain, it’s not just no-go zones; there are actual cities like Birmingham that are totally Muslim, where non-Muslims just simply don’t go in.” It turns out that this city — location of the notorious “Trojan horse” plot to Islamize a number of local schools — is only 22 percent Muslim. (For Emerson’s part, he has retracted his statement.) It’s also true that some Fox hosts have been, let’s say, a tad hyperbolic in their characterization of these “no-go zones.” But it’s certainly not unprecedented for talk-show guests to provide misinformation (see MSNBC, et al.), and hyperbole is a well established condiment of commentary.
Unfortunately, though, Fox’s misfortune might have given the Left just enough rope to hang the truth. As Commentary’s Jonathan S. Tobin put it Friday, “The arbiters of political correctness are now seeking [to] enforce a ban on the term altogether. To even mention no-go zone is now considered akin to anti-Muslim racism.” (Since precision in word usage figures prominently in this story, I’ll mention that “Muslim” doesn’t refer to race, though the Left routinely behaves as if it does.)
But now we come to an irony. According to Tobin’s piece, entitled “‘No-Go Zones’ Are Not a Conservative Meme,” it wasn’t the much maligned “Right” that introduced the concept of such zones but the New York Times Magazine.
The relevant essay, authored by David Rief in 2007 and entitled “The Battle Over the Banlieues,” explored the 2005 Muslim rioting in big-city French suburbs (called the “banlieues”) and, as Tobin puts it, “did not shy away from the fact that many of these places [no-go zones] had become all but off-limits to those who did not trace their origins to North Africa.” Tobin then provides the following excerpt (edited for length):
For the vast majority of the French electorate, watching the rioting on television or reading about it in the newspapers was both an alien and an alienating experience. It was alien because, for them, these suburbs were already a foreign land into which they almost never went (just as the residents of the cités rarely took the suburban rail links into the great cities like Paris, Lyon or Strasbourg). And it was alienating because the violence seemed both so savage and so self-destructive.
…Violent crime and burglary are rising… [T]here is a palpable air of menace when you take a ride after dark on certain parts of the superb Paris métro system or the anything-but-superb suburban RER network. To a New Yorker, it is reminiscent of the accumulated petty disorders of pre-Giuliani New York, with its squeegee men, hustlers, beggars and turnstile jumpers. And it seems hard to believe that anyone who has spent much time in the RER section of the Gare du Nord could have been surprised that things there turned violent so quickly last month. Whenever I passed through, it always seemed to me that both the suburban youths [a euphemism for Muslims] and the young policemen on duty were spoiling for a fight.
Of course, nowhere in this essay does Rief use the term “no-go zone,” and semantics is part of what the Fox controversy concerns. While the media winked at Bill Clinton’s talk of what the “definition of ‘is’ is,” it eagerly applies a fundamentalist-like literalism to the term “no-go zone.”
Metaphorical usage is, however, universally embraced in journalism. For example, the aforementioned Islamization plot in Britain dubbed the Trojan horse scandal did not actually involve a Trojan horse. As to the matter here, I don’t know of any rational commentator who uses “no-go zone” to reference an officially designated area into which no non-Muslim will go anytime under any circumstances no matter the inducement. As American Thinker’s Rick Moran wrote last Tuesday, “For the record, there are no ‘official’ no-go zones anywhere in Europe. What government on planet Earth would willingly admit that it doesn't control its own territory? But in France, there are 751 neighborhoods the French government believe [sic] they don't fully control.”
This is why, in my extensive reporting on “no-go zones” for The New American, I’ve sometimes put the term in quotation marks. For, as Moran explains quoting Daniel Pipes’ work, these areas are technically known as “Zones Urbaines Sensibles, or Sensitive Urban Zones.”
The Left’s answer to this is that these are simply areas the French government has identified as economically depressed, not Sharia repressed. Voila! And, of course, there can be no argument over the technical definition.
Because the French state establishes that definition.
And as Moran wrote, “What government on planet Earth would willingly admit that it doesn't control its own territory?” But what’s the reality? Consider what the Gatestone Institute’s Soeren Kern wrote last week in “European 'No-Go' Zones: Fact or Fiction?”:
In October 2011, a 2,200-page report, "Banlieue de la République" (Suburbs of the Republic) found that Seine-Saint-Denis and other Parisian suburbs are becoming "separate Islamic societies" cut off from the French state and where Islamic Sharia law is rapidly displacing French civil law.
... Fabrice Balanche, a well-known French Islam scholar who teaches at the University of Lyon, recently told Radio Télévision Suisse: "You have territories in France such as Roubaix, such as northern Marseille, where police will not step foot, where the authority of state is completely absent, where mini Islamic states have been formed."
... French politician Franck Guiot wrote that parts of Évry, a township in the southern suburbs of Paris, are no-go zones where police forces cannot go for fear of being attacked. He said that politicians seeking to maintain "social peace" were prohibiting the police from using their weapons to defend themselves.
The Socialist mayor of Amiens, Gilles Demailly, has referred to the Fafet-Brossolette district of the city as a "no-go zone" where "you can no longer order a pizza or get a doctor to come to the house."... The French Interior Ministry said it was trying to "reconquer" 184 square kilometers (71 square miles) of Marseille that have come under the control of Muslim gangs.
The French newspaper Le Figaro has referred to downtown Perpignan as a "veritable no-go zone" where "aggression, antisocial behavior, drug trafficking, Muslim communalism, racial tensions and tribal violence" are forcing non-Muslims to move out.
... The French magazine L'Obs…has reported on the deteriorating security situation in Roubaix ... [reporting] that local citizens are "exiled within their own country" and want to create their own militia to restore order because police are afraid to confront Muslim gangs.
... Laurent Obertone, who is the author of a bestselling new book entitled, "La France Orange Méchanique" (France: A Clockwork Orange)…writes that France is descending into a state of savagery and that the true magnitude of crime and violence across the country is being deliberately under-reported by politically correct media, government and police.
Kern also quotes Obertone as telling a foreign interviewer who asks if he should visit the suburbs, “Not even we French dare go there anymore. But nobody talks about this in public, of course. Nor do those who claim, 'long live multiculturalism,' and 'Paris is wonderful!' dare enter the suburbs.”
There is much, much more evidence in Kern’s essay, providing French-front detail on a phenomenon plaguing much of Western Europe. As to this, The New American has reported on how Swedish paramedics have requested body armor to wear when entering “non-existent” Muslim “no-go zones.” We’ve also reported on a “non-existent” Muslim-run child sex-trafficking ring that targeted thousands of white English girls and the “non-existent” Trojan horse scandals in Birmingham and London, U.K. For the record, “non-existent” in these sentences is to be taken as literally as “Trojan horse.”
This brings us to leaders matching perhaps a different horse descriptive. Responding to Steve Emerson and his mistake on Fox, British Prime Minister David Cameron said, reported the Washington Post, “I choked on my porridge and I thought it must be April Fools’ Day…This guy’s clearly a complete idiot.” Critics might consider this interesting coming from a man overseeing a nation whose officials long ignored the Muslim-run pedophilia ring and the Trojan horse scandals because they were afraid of being “accused of racism.”
This gets at the point: For Western politicians and the mainstream media, politically incorrect truth is the real no-go zone. That’s why they attack anyone, such as Fox News, who dares tread there. And as Dr. Thomas Sowell recently wrote about this willful blindness, the West’s tragic mistake “of importing millions of people from a culture hostile to the fundamental values of Western culture” won’t be reconsidered by elites “until disastrous consequences become far too big to ignore — which is to say, until it is too late.”
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