Governor Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, a likely 2016 Republican presidential candidate, will give a major foreign policy address next week in London. According to early excerpts of the address, Jindal will use the speech ... to go after radical Islam in wake of last week's Paris terrorist attacks.Some of what Jindal will say, according to the Standard, is the usual right-wing fist-shaking ("the fact is that radical Islamists do not believe in freedom or common decency nor are they willing to accommodate it in any way and anywhere"). Nothing really worth noting about that.
But then there's this:
"... in the West, non-assimilationist Muslims establish enclaves and carry out as much of Sharia law as they can without regard for the laws of the democratic countries which provided them a new home.This is the same nation that Nigel Farage of Britain's far-right U.K. Independence Party made on Fox News recently; also on Fox, self-described terrorism expert Steven Emerson recently claimed that in Britain "there are actual cities like Birmingham that are totally Muslim where non-Muslims just simply don’t go in," an assertion that led Prime Minister David Cameron to describe Emerson as "a complete idiot" and that resulted in the mocking Twitter hashtag #FoxNewsFacts. (Birmingham is 14% Muslim. Emerson later apologized.)
"It is startling to think that any country would allow, even unofficially, for a so called 'no-go zone.'
"The idea that a free country would allow for specific areas of its country to operate in an autonomous way that is not free and is in direct opposition to its laws is hard to fathom...."
The notion of "no-go zones" is, however, widely accepted on the right -- UKIP's Farage continues to assert that they're widespread throughout Europe, and some on the American right say that America has a no-go zone in Dearborn, Michigan. A Daily Caller story asserts that there are 55 "no-go zones" in Sweden, while a Fox News story tells us that there are 750 such zones in France. But with regard to France, Snopes notes the following:
The confusion ... appear[s] to stem from translation confusion over what are known as "zones urbaines sensibles" (ZUS) or "sensitive urban zones" in France. While some pockets of citizenry (including high-density Muslim populations) in France have indeed been identified as ZUS, and the term is not a designator for large populations of Muslims. Rather, the highlighted areas are ones that have been afflicted with issues such as crime, poverty, unemployment, and blight and are therefore targeted for urban renewal initiatives....If even Daniel Pipes -- who's no friend to Muslims -- thinks this term is an exaggeration, then Jindal is pretty far out on a limb.
Likewise, Middle Eastern writer Daniel Pipes originally blogged about Zones Urbaines Sensibles back in 2006 and then revised his viewpoint after seeing some of them first-hand in 2013:
I had an opportunity today to travel at length to several banlieues (suburbs) around Paris, including Sarcelles, Val d'Oise, and Seine Saint Denis. This comes on the heels of having visited over the years the predominantly immigrant (and Muslim) areas of Brussels, Copenhagen, Malmö, Berlin, and Athens.
A couple of observations:
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. The immigrant areas are hardly beautiful, but buildings are intact, greenery abounds, and order prevails.
These are not full-fledged no-go zones but, as the French nomenclature accurately indicates, "sensitive urban zones." In normal times, they are unthreatening, routine places. But they do unpredictably erupt, with car burnings, attacks on representatives of the state (including police), and riots.
Having this first-hand experience, I regret having called these areas no-go zones.
Jindal was one of the first presidential wannabes to denounce the Paris attacks -- and let's be honest, there's a reason for that:
I'm probably going to get trashed for saying this, but it's a sad fact that one reason Bobby Jindal needed to speak out on Paris...— Liz Mair (@LizMair) January 7, 2015
...is not merely that it's newsworthy, but also that a lot of dumbasses will think the Catholic Indian guy is actually an Islamist nutter.— Liz Mair (@LizMair) January 7, 2015
But this invocation of "no-go zones" goes clearly beyond that -- and the fact that he's going to make this UKIP-style assertion in a speech in London is clear evidence that he's hoping to attract a lot of headlines in the British press. He's courting controversy and hoping it will make him the talk of the U.S. political world as well.
It's unsettling that that's probably his plan, and it's unsettling that it really might give him a bump in the polls.