If there are no “No-Go Zones” why has the State Dept tried community-organizing them?

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There has been a great deal of push back recently on the issue of what have been nicknamed “No Go Zones” in Europe, areas with high concentrations of Muslim immigrant populations, where non-immigrants and even Emergency Services personnel have expressed concern or even fear about entering. Soeren Kern, a Senior Fellow at Gatestone Institute and the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos / Strategic Studies Group, wrote the first segment in a multipart series on the issue, beginning today with France:

In October 2011, a landmark 2,200-page report, “Banlieue de la République” (Suburbs of the Republic) found that Seine-Saint-Denis and other Parisian suburbs are becoming “separate Islamic societies” cut off from the French state, and where Islamic Sharia law is rapidly displacing French civil law. The report said that Muslim immigrants are increasingly rejecting French values and instead are immersing themselves in radical Islam. The report — which was commissioned by the influential French think tank, L’Institut Montaigne — was directed by Gilles Kepel, a highly respected political scientist and specialist in Islam, together with five other French researchers.The authors of the report showed that France — which now has 6.5 million Muslims (the largest Muslim population in European Union) — is on the brink of a major social explosion because of the failure of Muslims to integrate into French society.

Kern goes on to list numerous French sources, government, academic and media, which have cited the difficulty French authorities face in controlling the areas- noted for their criminal gangs, and violence against non-immigrant french, together with the challenge of assimilating the primarily Islamic immigrants who live in them.  As Kern’s report notes, both French politicians on the right and left have referred to areas as “areas of lawlessness” where “the police are not welcome.”

Despite the push by left-leaning media to paint the “No Go Zone” issue as one of right-wing fabrication, the reality is that even the U.S. State Department recognizes the challenge, and has been actively involved in… “community organizing” the problem:

Alumni of that program include elites like current President Francois Hollande and former President Nicholas Sarkozy. But it’s been expanded to include people like Tara Dickman, the French daughter of South African immigrants. Obama’s former campaign manager recruited her for training in community organizing in Chicago, and that trip inspired her to create a group called the Collective Against Racial Profiling.

“Within a year, police profiling went from a sort of topic that didn’t exist to a major political stake,” she said. “Fourteen people went to court to sue the state, and then it became a major issue in the elections, there are three law proposals now … and this is really thanks to this trip.”

But not everyone is happy with what the U.S. government has been up to in the banlieues. Among the critics is Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, a center-right member of Parliament.

“How will the U.S. government (answer) if the French government decided to go in some suburbs of the United States to say to the people, ‘You are not very well treated by your government, and we are going to help you. You are going to travel in France, be agent for us.’ It is not acceptable. It is not possible,” Dupont-Aignan said.

There’s no question that the French government faces a genuine challenge in these territories, something the Obama Administration recognizes, even if they place the blame squarely on French authorities.  Those animated to score cheap rhetorical points debating over what such zones ought to be called are detracting from a possibility of debate over what ought to be done about them.

Kyle Shideler

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