We need a great deal more honesty about the religion, as the “no-go zone” debate reveals.
January 24, 2015
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal after his speech on foreign policy in London last week.
Footballs are deflating, the president is detached from reality, the Saudi king is deceased, and the sharia state next door, Yemen, is descending into bloody chaos. With mere anarchy loosed upon the world, it would be easy to miss the fact that, in England this week, Bobby Jindal gave as important and compelling a speech as has been delivered in years about America — our leadership role on the world stage, our preservation as a beacon of liberty.
In the birthplace of the Magna Carta, it has nonetheless become legally risky to speak with candor (even when quoting Churchill). Yet Louisiana’s Republican governor became that rarest of modern Anglo or American statesmen. Bobby Jindal told the truth about Islam, specifically about its large radical subset that attacks the West by violent jihad from without and sharia-supremacist subversion from within.
With Western Europe still reeling from the jihadist mass-murders in Paris at Charlie Hebdo magazine and the Hyper Kacher Jewish market, Governor Jindal outlined a bold, Reaganesque vision of American foreign policy guided by three imperatives — freedom, security, and truth. It is on the last one, truth, that our capacity to ensure freedom and security hinges. “You cannot remedy a problem,” Jindal explained, “if you will not name it and define it.”
And so he did: Our immediate security problem today “is ISIS and all forms of radical Islam.” That is, the challenge is not limited to violent jihadists who commit barbaric atrocities. Jindal elaborated: “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.”
The campaign to implement and spread sharia is antithetical to Western liberty. Freedom, Jindal said, means “the ability to conduct commerce both inside and outside your borders; it means the right to speak freely, to publish any cartoons you want. It means the right to worship freely. It means the right to self-determination.” By contrast, “radical Islamists do not believe in freedom or common decency, nor are they willing to accommodate them in any way and anywhere.” Moreover, the version of sharia law to which they adhere
is not just different than our law, it’s not just a cultural difference, it is oppression and it is wrong. It subjugates women and treats them as property, and it is antithetical to valuing all of human life equally. It is the very definition of oppression. We must stop pretending otherwise.
It cannot credibly be denied that this is so, as I have documented — using not only notorious examples of how sharia is applied in countries like Saudi Arabia (where it is the law of the land), but also Reliance of the Traveller, a classic sharia manual certified as accurate by prominent Islamic scholars, including at both al-Azhar University (the seat of Sunni jurisprudence since the tenth century) and at the International Institute of Islamic Thought (an influential Muslim Brotherhood think tank).
Still, Governor Jindal has been pilloried since his courageous speech by tendentious critics across the spectrum, from the usual Islamist grievance chorus to Fox News commentators and British prime minister David Cameron.
Why? Because he dared notice what ought to be an inarguable fact: The non-assimilationist Muslim campaign has resulted in the rise throughout Western Europe of what Jindal described as “unofficial” “so-called” “no-go zones.”
Jindal was clearly right about this. His timing, however, was wrong: He had the misfortune to dilate on “no-go zones” at the same time that Steven Emerson, the usually astute terrorism analyst, made a no-go gaffe. Steve erroneously claimed that the entire British city of Birmingham is “totally Muslim” and has become a “no-go zone” where “non-Muslims simply don’t go in.”
Emerson has since apologized profusely. The damage, however, was done. Fox News is evidently so embarrassed at having been the forum for his faux pas (and at having been threatened with legal action by the city of Paris, which was the main target of Steve’s commentary), that the network is over-correcting. This helps stoke the Islamist meme that no-go zones are a hysterical figment of the “Islamophobic” imagination.
That is absurd, but follows naturally from two things: a common misunderstanding about sharia, and a misrepresentation that describing the incontestable fact that sharia is being applied de facto in Europe is the same as falsely claiming that sharia is now the de jure writ of Europe.
Dreamy Islamophiles like Mr. Cameron and many of his like-minded progressives in bipartisan Beltway circles have a sputtering snit anytime a commentator associates Islam with anything other than “peace.” Consequently, the doctrine of Islam (which actually means submission) remains taboo and poorly understood in the West. One major misconception is that Islamists (i.e., Islamic supremacists or Muslims who want sharia implemented) demand that all non-Muslims convert to Islam. A no-go zone is thus incorrectly assumed by many to be a place that Muslims forbid non-Muslims to enter.
In reality, sharia explicitly invites the presence of non-Muslims provided that they submit to the authority of Islamic rule. Indeed historically, as I related in The Grand Jihad, my book about the Muslim Brotherhood and its Islamist ideology, because sharia calls on these submissive non-Muslims (dhimmis) to pay a poll tax (jizya), their continued presence was of economic importance in lands conquered by Islamic rulers.
It is therefore easy for Islamists and their apologists to knock down their strawman depiction of no-go zones as places where non-Muslims are not allowed. That is not what no-go zones are — neither as they exist in fact nor as they are contemplated by sharia. The point of imposing sharia — the reason it is the necessary precondition for building an Islamic society — is to make Islam the dominant social system, not the exclusive faith. The idea is that once sharia’s systematic discrimination against non-Muslims is in place, non-Muslims will see the good sense of becoming Muslims. Over time, every one will convert “without coercion.” The game is to set up an extortionate incentive for conversion while maintaining the smiley-face assurance that no one is being forced to convert at the point of a sword.
So radical Muslims will be welcoming to any ordinary non-Muslims who are willing to defer to their mores. What they are hostile to are officials of the host state: police, firefighters, building inspectors, emergency medical personnel, and anything associated with the armed forces. That is because the presence of those forces symbolizes the authority — the non-submission — of the state.
Notice, however, that no sensible person is saying that state authorities are prohibited from entering no-go zones as a matter of law. The point is that they are severely discouraged from entering as a matter of fact — and the degree of discouragement varies directly with the density of the Muslim population and its radical component. Ditto for non-Muslim lay people: It is not that they are not permitted to enter these enclaves; it is that they avoid entering because doing so is dangerous if they are flaunting Western modes of dress and conduct.
There is a reason that Governor Jindal qualified his invocation of the term no-go zones, modifying it with “so-called” and noting that the term is used “unofficially.” His speech was about reality, particularly where it stressed the need for truthfulness in forming policy. If our premise is reality, it is not no-go zones that are imaginary; it is the suggestion that no-go zones do not exist simply because non-Muslim entry is not literally prohibited by law. As the Gatestone Institute’s Soeren Kern painstakingly demonstrates, “Muslim no-go zones are a well-known fact of life in many parts of Europe.” It has been amply acknowledged not only in press reports and academic analyses but by governments that must deal with them.
Have a look, for example, at the French government’s official listing of 750 Zones Urbaines Sensibiles — “sensitive urban zones.” France’s “ZUS” designation is significant. As the estimable scholar Daniel Pipes recounted in a column at NRO this week, when he coined the term “no-go zone” in 2006 it was intended as “a non-euphemistic equivalent” of ZUS. If that is how the term “no-go zone” is understood — as an enclave deferential to Islamic sensibilities rather than exclusionary of non-Muslims — the contention that no-go zones do not exist is plainly frivolous. This is so even if, as Pipes maintains, the term “no-go zone” itself was an overstatement. The term “semi-autonomous sectors,” he says, would more accurately convey the historical anomaly the West has created: “a majority population [that] accepts the customs and even the criminality or a poorer and weaker community,” and in a manner that involves far more than control over physical territory.
Nevertheless, the problem with all this semantic nattering is its intimation that we can only infer the existence of no-go zones, and of the Islamist subversion they signal, by drawing inferences from what we see happening on the ground.
Nonsense. The world’s most influential Islamic supremacists have told us in no uncertain terms that they see Muslim immigration in the West as part of a conquest strategy.
As I recounted in The Grand Jihad, the strategy is often referred to as “voluntary apartheid.” One of its leading advocates is Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the Muslim Brotherhood icon who is probably the world’s most revered sharia jurist. Sheikh Qaradawi, who vows that Islam will conquer America and Europe, and who has been crystal clear on the incompatibility of sharia and Western democracy, elaborates:
Were we to convince Western leaders and decision-makers of our right to live according to our faith — ideologically, legislatively, and ethically — without imposing our views or inflicting harm upon them, we would have traversed an immense barrier in our quest for an Islamic state.
Translation: To establish Islamic domination in the West, we do not need to resort to terrorism or to force non-Muslims to convert; we need merely a recognized right to resist assimilation, to regard sharia as superseding Western law and custom when the two conflict, as they do in fundamental ways.
This is precisely why the Organization of Islamic Cooperation — the bloc of 56 Muslim countries (plus the Palestinian Authority) — warned in a 2010 report on “Islamophobia” that “Muslims should not be marginalized or attempted to be assimilated, but should be accommodated.” (Here, at p. 30.) It is why Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Islamist president of Turkey who has systematically dismantled that country’s secular, pro-Western system, pronounces that pressuring Muslims to assimilate “is a crime against humanity.”
At Oxford, Bobby Jindal bluntly asserted that the ideology of our enemy, radical Islam,
holds the view that it is wrong to expect assimilation, that assimilation is colonialist, assimilation is backward, and assimilation is in fact evidence of cultural bigotry and insensitivity. They think it is wrong to expect that people who chose to immigrate to your country should be expected to endorse and abide by your laws. They think it is unenlightened, discriminatory, and even racist to expect immigrants to endorse and assimilate into the culture in their new country. This is complete rubbish.
That is the truth. The United States will not get national-security policy right, and neither will it reestablish our credentials as leader of the free world, until we accept that truth. Accept it and resolve, as Governor Jindal has resolved, to tell it boldly.
— Andrew C. McCarthy is a policy fellow at the National Review Institute. His latest book is Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment.