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How The 'No-Go Zones' Myth Traveled From The Anti-Muslim Fringe To The Mouths Of GOP Politicians

Shortly after terrorist gunmen killed 12 people in an attack on the Charlie Hebdo office in Paris earlier this month, conservative commentator Steve Emerson went on Fox News and claimed that Europe was being taken over by “no-go zones” controlled by Islamic law to such an extent that non-Muslims were not allowed to enter Birmingham, England’s second-largest city.

Emerson’s claim was met with ridicule, including by British Prime Minister David Cameron, and Emerson and Fox quickly retracted the claim.

But at the same time, the “no-go zone” myth gained traction among conservative activists and Republican leaders, including Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who mentioned it in a speech in London despite refusing to offer the names or locations of the purported no-go zones, and Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, who claimed last week that France has “like 700 no-go zones where authorities have allowed Sharia law to be imposed,” something that he claimed is also beginning to happen in the United States.

The “no-go zone” myth didn’t spring out of nowhere two weeks ago. Instead, it has been percolating for years in fringe media, perpetuated by anti-Muslim activists warning that Europe was being overtaken by Sharia law, soon to be followed by the United States.

Bloomberg pinpoints the beginning of the myth at a 2006 article by conservative pundit Daniel Pipes, who gave the name “no-go zones” to a list of French “sensitive urban zones,” some with large populations of Muslim immigrants, that were, in reality, nothing more than areas hit by high crime and poverty that were actually targeted by the government for urban renewal projects. A few years later, Pipes had the opportunity to visit a few of these “no-go zones” and reported that they were “very mild, even dull” compared to high-crime neighborhoods in the U.S. and that “immigrant areas are hardly beautiful, but buildings are intact, greenery abounds, and order prevails.” He wrote, “Having this first-hand experience, I regret having called these areas no-go zones.”

But Pipes’ retraction came too late to stop the “no-go zone” story from becoming an established fact in fringe right-wing media.

The far-right outlet WorldNetDaily mentionsno-go zones” frequently, often warning that the United States will soon face the same fate. Anti-Muslim activist Pamela Geller told WND last year:

The Muslim population, for example, in France is over 10 percent,” she said. “You see outside of Paris … it can be very frightening. The no-go zones, the Shariah zones, where firefighters and police cannot go. They are many times lured by particular criminal activity into these zones, only to be ambushed. We see it in the U.K., increasingly, the imposition of Shariah law. And people think it can’t happen here, but it is happening here.

A search for the term “no-go zones” in Geller’s blog before the Charlie Hebdo attack produces 10 pages of results. Prominent anti-Muslim activist Frank Gaffney has also perpetuated the myth, warning repeatedly on his website and radio program of such zones “where authorities dare not enter” and “Shariah rules instead of the laws of the host government.”

Last year, the Clarion Project’s Ryan Mauro similarly warned in a FrontPageMag article that European “no-go zones” would provide “precedent” for such “Muslim enclaves” in the U.S. The publication has been another prominent generator of the myth, frequently citing Pipes since-rejected claim about French “no-go” neighborhood.

The myth percolated to the top of the news cycle briefly in 2010 when Nevada Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle claimed that Dearborn, Michigan, and the made-up town of Frankford, Texas, were ruled by “Sharia law.” She didn’t use the term “no-go zone,” but was clearly influenced by the myth that had by then become established fact in fringe media.

As recently as last month, Gun Owners of America’s Larry Pratt was citing the myth to warn that U.S. protests against police brutality would create “no-go zones.”

“It’s like in England and Scandinavia and I guess in Paris and a lot of Europe, perhaps in a lot of their metropolitan areas, the Muslims have come to a preponderant population in those areas that the police do not dare go into the urban areas controlled by Muslims,” he said.

The myth, propagated by a few voices in fringe media, is too wild for Fox News. But it is now apparently perfectly acceptable in the Republican Party.

Fischer: You Can't Support Gay Rights 'And Call Yourself A Follower Of Christ'

On Friday's radio broadcast, Bryan Fischer took a call from a listener who demanded to know why nobody on the American Family Radio network will declare that President Obama is not a Christian. We have no idea what programs this caller is listening to if he thinks that nobody on AFR is willing to say that Obama is not a Christian, because we hear the various hosts saying this exact thing all the time.

Fischer, of course, was more than happy to acquiesce to the caller's demand and declare that Obama "is not a sincerely devoted follower of Jesus Christ so, in my mind, that means he's not a Christian."

And Fischer knows this, he said, because "nobody can support and promote and celebrate homosexual behavior who is a sincerely devoted follower of Christ. It's impossible, because Christ and his apostles made it very clear that that's a sin. You can't celebrate that, can't promote that and call yourself a follower of Christ."

While Fischer was, for some reason, unwilling to declare that Obama is actually a Muslim, he nonetheless insisted that everyone in Washington, D.C. knows that he is.

"He walks like a Muslim. He talks like a Muslim. He sounds like a Muslim. He acts like a Muslim," Fischer said. "Jesus said 'by your fruits, you shall know them' and at some point people are going to start connecting those dots":

Rewriting King: Right-Wing Activist Claims MLK Opposed Government Aid, Church-State Separation

Ken Blackwell of the Family Research Council marked Martin Luther King Jr. Day yesterday by claiming that King — who supported guaranteed employment and minimum income, public works projects and policies advancing “democratic socialism” — was actually a big opponent of government involvement in the economy.

Blackwell told “Washington Watch” host Tony Perkins that King would strongly rebuke “the growth of the welfare state” and the separation of church and state, even though King actually spoke out against endeavors such as state-sponsored prayer in public schools.

Blackwell, a former Republican politician from Ohio, also used the occasion to criticize the advance of marriage equality in the courts and President Obama for supposedly dividing Americans on the basis of race.

Mike Huckabee Reiterates Opposition To Marriage Equality: God Has Already Ruled

In a conversation on “Washington Watch” Friday, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee expressed disbelief over media reports that Huckabee had somehow toned down his opposition to marriage equality in his new book, “God, Guns, Grits and Gravy.” In fact, Huckabee did no such thing, something that he himself was eager to point out, reiterating to Perkins his view that same-sex marriage is wrong because God has already spoken on the issue.

“I don’t know how anyone could actually read the chapter and come to the conclusion that I have sort of changed my view on same-sex marriage,” Huckabee said. “When people read the chapter, I think they’re going to get a clear understanding that the reason that I hold to the view that I do is it’s not just stubbornness, it’s because I haven’t been given permission from God to change what he said.”

Of course, that was the exact same argument used by many pastors who supported laws banning interracial marriage.

Huckabee also criticized governors who “surrendered” to courts that have struck down state bans on marriage equality, arguing that they should ignore such rulings and simply refuse to enforce them.

“This, to me, is so fundamental in civics and I’m watching attorneys general, governors and judges pretend that the court can just make law. I don’t know where we came up with this,” Huckabee said. “I’ve heard several governors when their state supreme court says that they’re going to allow same-sex marriage and the governor just folds and surrenders and says, ‘well, it’s the law of the land.’ No, it isn’t.”

Tony Perkins: Dearborn And Neighborhoods In Minneapolis Are Muslim No-Go Zones

While Fox News has apologized for its discredited and widely mocked reports about European “no-go zones” that are run according to Sharia law, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins is standing by the false claims that there are around “700 no-go zones” in France alone and that Dearborn, Michigan, has fallen to Sharia law.

When a “Washington Watch” caller on Friday told Perkins about no-go zones where Muslims are “doing military-type training in Virginia and New York,” which he “heard on Bryan Fischer[’s]” radio show, Perkins said that he had also heard rumors corroborating such allegations.

In France, Perkins said, “they have like 700 no-go zones where authorities have allowed Sharia law to be imposed. There are some areas in this country that in effect that has occurred. Dearborn, Michigan, is one of the places, there are some places in Minneapolis, I don’t think it’s as clear cut as what we’ve seen in Europe, it’s been more by the effect that that’s occurred.”

Liberty Counsel: Christians Who Discriminate Against Gays Are Living Out MLK's Legacy

Liberty Counsel issued a press release yesterday in which the anti-gay organization attempted to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day by declaring that conservative Christians who refuse to provide services to gay couples are the ones who are living out MLK's legacy:

As we remember today the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we are inspired by his courage to combat injustice that had become imbedded in our culture and our law.

Writing from a jail cell in Birmingham, Alabama, Dr. King said, “I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that ‘an unjust law is no law at all.’”

“Marriage as the union of one man and one woman was not created by government or religion. It is rooted in natural law,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “Same-sex marriage is contrary to the natural created order of God Almighty. Laws deconstructing natural marriage and which compel people to affirm sinful sexual behavior or unions are unjust.”

...

Today, the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is being lived out by bakers, photographers, florists, ministers, county clerks, and owners of wedding venues who have lost their businesses, been forced to pay exorbitant fines, been threatened with jail, and made to choose between the natural created order of marriage between one man and one woman and judges who side with same-sex couples.

Mike Huckabee: Support The Fair Tax Because 'Giving Proportionately Is Biblical'

Mike Huckabee was the guest on James Robison's "Life Today" television program this morning, promoting his new book "God, Guns, Grits, and Gravy," which seems to be focused on defending "real America" from all those phonies and snobby elitists who live in New York, Washington, D.C., and Hollywood.

After lamenting that America is no longer a place where women who use profanity are considered to be "trash," Huckabee made his case for the "fair tax," which is a proposal to scrap all federal taxes and replace them with a 30% tax on consumption, because that is what is biblical.

"I believe in the biblical understanding of stewardship," Huckabee said. "Everybody should have something invested. God doesn't say, 'Oh, you're too poor, don't give anything.' He says, 'Everyone give a tithe.' ... I'm telling you something, giving proportionately is biblical."

Huckabee added that an additional bonus of the fair tax is that "we would get rid of the I.R.S.."

"They would be gone," he said. "Done forever and forever!"

Right Wing Round-Up - 1/16/15

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 1/16/15

  • Contrary to right-wing claims, there are not hundreds of Muslim-controlled "no-go zones" all over Europe.
  • Gov. Bobby Jindal apparently doesn't actually care about the truth, which is why he is reportedly set to repeat this myth when he speaks in London on Monday.
  • BarbWire's Gina Miller declares that "the only rational conclusion is that this [President Obama] is an enemy of the United States."
  • Ben Carson is expected to officially launch his presidential exploratory committee in the next few weeks.
  • Finally, while most of the other speakers have dropped out of the Legatus conference after learning of the organization's anti-gay views, Gov. Jindal is still scheduled to speak and Peter LaBarbera is urging anti-gay activists to thank him for not capitulating to the "Gay Thought Police."

Paranoia-Rama: Obama's Secret 'Deal' With Terrorists, Beware The 'Islamization' Of America And Britain Falls To Sharia Law

Sharia law is taking over the western world, or at least it is in the fevered imaginations of right-wing commentators, who this week made wild accusations about the Obama administration and others aiding extremist groups. Naturally, they also found time to criticize gay rights too.