A homeless Muslim man begs on the streets of Paris c.1950.

THE NO-GO ZONES

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A “no-go” zone is defined as an area within a city where law enforcement authorities fear to tread creating an enclave which differs from the general society as a whole. This might include an enclave in which crime cannot be controlled. In the current conversation we a referring to sections of European cities which house large immigrant populations, predominantly Muslim, who have failed to assimilate into the host country’s society. This is not all that unusual as immigrant populations tend to isolate themselves in the first generation only to assimilate more easily in future generations.

However, this issue has been linked to terrorist activities even though European law enforcement authorities deny the existence of “no-go” zones to a large extent. To understand the root cause of this problem with respect to the U. K., France and Belgium we need to look back to their colonial rule practices of the 19th and 20th centuries.  Britain was primarily concerned with control of raw materials and the defense of its colonies. They permitted local self rule, but considered the colonists as second class citizens such as in India. France had a different means of control. They believed that they could change the culture of their colonial peoples to include the use of the French language, customs, money, etc.  In a sense, making these subject peoples into French citizens to some degree.  However, France draws the line when it comes to wearing the hijab and burka in certain situations. This attempt at marginalizing their Muslim immigrants has created a dangerous situation in France as more and more Muslim refugees flee oppression in Africa and the Middle East and head for France. Belgium, whose policy of genocide in the Congo, in the extraction of rubber is also ripe for no-go zones as seen in recent years in Brussels.

Our lead photo, “Homeless Man in Paris“, shows a Muslim homeless man begging on the streets of Paris c.1950. I would argue that France has failed to help Muslim immigrants to assimilate in part by banning the hijab and burka as well as treating Muslims as something less than a Frenchman. In the United States, Muslim immigrants have for the most part been welcomed, and although there have been serious incidents involving home grown jihadists there is reason to believe that the problems experienced in the European no-go zones will not be replicated in the U. S.