CNN spent the long weekend hounding Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) for espousing “no-go zones” even as Fox News blitzed the airwaves with apologies and corrections for having done likewise. Jindal, in a Monday address before the Henry Jackson Society in the British House of Commons, said, “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.”
That remark came two days after Fox News, which had spread claims of European “no-go zones” across the airwaves from much of January, declared that there is “no credible information to support the assertion there are specific areas in these countries that exclude individuals based solely on their religion.”
In a Monday afternoon interview, CNN host Wolf Blitzer asked Jindal to identify these zones. “Look, you had a police chief here in London today say to the ‘Daily Mail’ there are neighborhoods — I’m not talking about entire cities, as others have tried to suggest. I’m saying there are neighborhoods where the police say they don’t go as frequently. There are neighborhoods where women do not feel comfortable walking without veils.” CNN’s Max Foster, too, asked Jindal to specify the “area, so we can look at it, because I haven’t heard of one.” Jindal responded, “I think your viewers know absolutely there are places where the police are less likely to go, they absolutely know there are neighborhoods where they wouldn’t feel comfortable.”
Regarding Jindal’s reference to the report in the Daily Mail, Chief Inspector of Constabulary Tom Winsor told the newspaper, “There are cities in the Midlands where the police never go because they are never called. They never hear of any trouble because the community deals with that on its own.”
Now for a primer on “no-go zones,” a term that had gotten a lot of rotation in recent weeks. As explained by Fox News’s Greg Palkot, France’s “no-go zones” are known more euphemistically/bureaucratically as “zones of urban sensitivity” and have high levels of crime and concentrations of Muslims — and where police fear to tread. Fox News host Andrea Tantaros went a bit further in her definition: “There are broad swaths and pockets, as we know, of these ‘no-go zones’ that have Sharia law and they’re only going to get larger because of the fear to acknowledge it and fight it with policies that will stop these immigration tactics.” And terrorism expert Steve Emerson, on the Jan. 10 edition of “Justice with Judge Jeanine,” characterized them as “sort of safe havens. And they’re places where the governments, like France, Britain, Sweden, Germany — they don’t exercise any sovereignty so you basically have zones where Sharia courts are set up, where Muslim density is very intense, where police don’t go in.”
Jindal said in London, “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.”
Commentators Erick Erickson on Red State and John Nolte on Breitbart cite a February 2013 report by CNN correspondent Dan Rivers as evidence that the network is questioning a phenomenon that it already knows to be true. “JINDAL NONTROVERSY: CNN CAUGHT LYING ABOUT MUSLIM ‘NO GO ZONES,” notes the headline on Nolte’s piece.
The CNN report in question, by correspondent Dan Rivers, provides a profile of … well, here’s how it was described in a teaser: “Sharia law in the heart of London, details of Muslim vigilantes harassing women, gays, people just out for a drink.” Rivers walked the streets of Whitechapel with the so-called Muslim patrol — yes, vigilantes who were out to harass people and make them follow their rules. “You cannot dress like that in Muslim area,” said one of the patrolmen to a woman dressed in a skirt.
Evidence, indeed, of Jindal’s comment that there are some Muslims trying “to carry out as much of Sharia law as they can…”
Yet the 2013 CNN report also deflates this whole “no-go” thing. First of all, Rivers reports that “only a handful of men are involved in the self-styled patrols.” Second, Rivers reports that five people had been arrested “on suspicion of harassment.” Third, Rivers reports that the “vast majority of Muslim people living in this part of East London want nothing to do with vigilantes whatsoever.” Fourth, Rivers reports that “police patrols have been stepped up as the authorities take a tough line.” Arrests, heightened police presence — not exactly the hallmarks of what we’ve come to know in recent weeks as a “no-go zone.”