Thursday, January 22, 2015

More On The No-Go Zones in Europe

Have you noticed that the debate about the Muslim no-go zones in Europe tends to take the final form of YES, THEY EXIST! NO, THEY DO NOT!   Rinse and repeat.

That isn't terribly helpful.  Neither is the invitation to go and see whether they exist or not, given that most of us cannot hop into our private jets and organize extensive visits of the world.  Why does it seem to be so hard to delve into the next layer and look at evidence which might point either way?  Or towards something more complicated?

I did a little bit of that work, starting with the assertion about 55 Swedish no-go zones (mostly because I can read a little Swedish).  This quote refers to it:

That night, on Anderson Cooper’s program, the concept crept again into the conversation, as retired CIA officer Gary Berntsen told the host, “Anderson, the Europeans and the French in particular have problems that are the result of also 751 ‘no-go zones’ in France where you have Islamic communities that have formed councils that are managing these areas. And the police don’t go in. If you look at Sweden there are 55 ‘no-go zones’ there. You know, firefighters or ambulance drivers go in there and they’re attacked. Their vehicles are lit on fire, their tires are slashed, and the Europeans have not pushed back against this. They can’t surveil people inside the ‘no-go zones’ if they get and go in there,” said the analyst, who called the zones “enclaves that are completely separated from the government.”

The idea of 55 Swedish "no-go zones" comes from a report by the Swedish police.  The report itself does NOT use the term "no-go zones" and as far as I can see it says nothing about religion. either, or about religious councils which are supposed to run the areas.

Instead, the report is about criminal networks (mostly dealing in narcotics) and loose criminal gangs in certain areas, and the power of those gangs.  Crimes are not often reported to the police, parked police cars are sometimes attacked, rocks are thrown at police and firefighters and it's difficult to find witnesses for crimes.  The one reference to alternative governments in the report refers to the criminal gangs themselves as being in power in a few areas, via the use of fear and threats in the local communities.   But the report also states that most areas do not fall under the concept of a "parallel society."

Could those 55 areas have a high percentage of Muslim immigrants?  That's possible, given that crime tends to hide in poorer areas and immigrants mostly begin as poor and are therefore more likely to settle into higher crime areas.  It's probably also the case that immigrants are among those criminal networks or run at least some of them.

But are those areas run as some type of miniature caliphates?  I found no evidence of that.  Note, however,  that it's not unknown for religious minorities to try to control the area in which they live.

What's the point of what I wrote here?  That crime might be what the idea of the so-called "no-go zones" are about, and that any "parallel societies" would be more tied to crime lords than mullahs, say.   Still, it is obviously important to avoid segregation along religious lines, especially when it coincides with economic and social segregation.