For years, both European and American journalists have been reporting on the increasing lawlessness of certain cultural enclaves in nations like France and the UK, where growing Muslim populations have begun imposing their own Sharia law over that of their respective states. But only now, in light of public shaming from the left and a lawsuit threat from the mayor of Paris, has Fox News not only retracted statements aired on its network about the areas (popularly dubbed “no-go zones”), but has apologized four times.
The discussion of Muslim ethnic enclaves in Europe has returned to the forefront of media consciousness in light of the attacks on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, and concerns that communities more sympathetic to those insulted by the magazine’s depictions of Muhammad may be willing to harbor terrorists, radical clerics, and potential national security threats.
The discussion reached Fox News last week, when Investigative Project on Terrorism head Steven Emerson appeared on air to discuss the threat of said enclaves in the United Kingdom. During the segment, Emerson described the British city of Birmingham as “totally Muslim,” an error for which he has apologized. Some have speculated that Emerson confused Birmingham with Bradford–a city that has been host to numerous attempts to impose Islamist ideology in schools–though Birmingham itself, with a 22% Muslim population, has been the subject of similar controversies.
Birmingham, the UK census shows, has a higher number of Muslim than Christian children. With such a population shift, experts have found that Islamic influence has been growing on the city’s educational system. In July, a study commissioned by former education Secretary Michael Gove found that Birmingham schools were the subjects of what the left-wing UK newspaper The Guardian described as a “coordinated, deliberate and sustained action to introduce an intolerant and aggressive Islamist ethos into some schools in the city.” Officials began investigating an Islamist plot to take over the city’s schools with higher Muslim populations as early as last March.
Nonetheless, it was Emerson’s comments that appear to have triggered the four apologies from Fox News, which explicitly claimed that Emerson had made a “serious factual error” and that Muslim “no-go zones” are not formally designated by the government.
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo threatened to sue the network days after the multiple apologies, which referred to comments made about the UK specifically, and the rest of Europe tangentially, days later. Fox News has responded with a statement that describes Mayor Hidalgo’s threat as “misplaced.”
Fox News has not replied with any evidence to corroborate the fact that European nations are struggling to control some Muslim ethnic enclaves, but others have. The Gatestone Institute, for example, released an extensive report highlighting Muslim neighborhoods in France deemed to be dangerous to non-Muslims. The report is the first in a series that will detail the struggle of European governments to remain in control of these areas. Among the areas of France mentioned in the report as being dangerous for non-Muslims are the Paris suburbs of Seine-Saint-Denis, Évry, and Grigny; the Les Izards district of Toulouse; the district Fafet-Brossolette in Amiens; and the towns of Perpignan and Roubaix. The Gatestone Institute notes that French journalists and experts were the ones who used the term “no-go zone” regarding specific areas of France, not American pundits.
The Gatestone Institute has been highlighting this threat for years, and in 2011, published a similar report about the United Kingdom, in which it exposed a British group called Muslims Against the Crusades for launching “a campaign to turn twelve British cities – including what it calls ‘Londonistan’ – into independent Islamic states. The so-called Islamic Emirates would function as autonomous enclaves ruled by Islamic Sharia law and operate entirely outside British jurisprudence.”
Also combating the insistence by many on the left that these sensitive urban regions simply do not exist is Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, who has on numerous occasions this week called for Muslim assimilation in Europe. At a speaking engagement in London, Jindal warned that Islamist groups in the UK were attempting to “colonize Western countries, because setting up your own enclave and demanding recognition of a no-go zone are exactly that.”
Emerson’s slip of the tongue on Birmingham aside, ample evidence has existed for years of attempts by Islamist groups to reconstruct the governments and educational systems of some areas of Europe to better fit an Islamist ideology. Even as many on the left deny that “no-go zones” exist because city planners have not officially given Muslim neighborhoods that title, few deny that the neighborhoods exist. While city planners may not have given them the title, police departments have: Swedish police highlighted 55 “no-go zones” in an extensive report in November, and French police have identified 751 “sensitive urban zones” in a map meant for law enforcement use.
Jindal, who has remained out of the national limelight for some time, has resurfaced, it seems, specifically to take on the mantle of this cause. One must question why Fox News has chosen now, when the world’s attention is almost entirely absorbed by the threat of radical Islam, to back down on this evidence.