Events in Paris shocked us in Europe because after a break of a few years mass terrorism again appeared in our front rooms. One person maimed or killed by a terrorist attack is one to many but it is easier to close the door on it when it happens in a poor country or within a Muslim community. The Guardian has a good article on the recent example of 2000 deaths in Nigeria largely ignored by the press, despite it being a major escalation. So with the focus on terrorism in Europe how did Ukip and Nigel Farage approach the tragedy.
In the UK we laughed at the American commentator who said Birmingham was a Muslim city and that areas of our capital are Police no go zones. Obviously he was wrong, he was getting his information from the parts of the Internet best avoided if you want an accurate picture of life in Europe or indeed anywhere. Unfortunately for some in Ukip this was no laughing matter it is to close to the truth as they see it.
Nigel Farage appeared on Fox News three times following the terrorist outrage in Paris. He also made a speech in the European Parliament, where he blamed immigration for terrorism and said
“We do have, I’m afraid, I’m sad to say, a fifth column that is living within our own countries, that is utterly opposed to our values,”
And on LBC, after the initial appalling incident he said:
“What should have been done is we should have had a controlled immigration policy and made sure we did full checks on everybody who ever came to this country from anywhere – and that applies to everyone else. We in Britain, and I’ve seen some evidence of this in other countries too, have a really rather gross policy of multiculturalism. By that, what I mean is that we’ve encouraged people from other cultures to remain within those cultures and not integrate fully within our communities …
I don’t think anyone can pretend there is a quick fix to this. We have, I’m afraid, and mercifully it’s small, but we do have a fifth column within our countries.”
The idea of an Islamic Fifth Column is one that is designed to cast suspicion on all Muslims and the type of phraseology that belongs with the BNP and Liberty-GB ( only click through to the links if you really feel the need to read far right hate ). Commentators, politicians and the public condemned Farage for making political capital on his pet topic. When a simple “our thoughts are with the victims” would have been far more dignified and appropriate.
Farage on Fox News is even more worrying, as it suggests that either he, or his advisors, are getting their information from the same disreputable inaccurate sources as the Fox News “terrorism expert”.
In an interview with Fox News, Farage was asked. Why are there areas of France where non-Muslims can no longer go?
Farage replied: “It isn’t just France, it is happening right across Europe. We have got no-go zones across most of the big French cities.”
The French embassy was swift in its condemnation of the Ukip leaders comments ..
“Of course it is not true to say that there are no-go areas in France. To give you an idea of how wide of the mark those comments are, we could compare them to those by the American journalist who recently said that non-Muslims simply did not go any longer to Birmingham: in both cases those statements are obviously totally untrue.”
French satirical TV, reacted in much the same way to Farage and others as we did to Fox News on Birmingham. ( do watch it’s funny and makes the NO GO ZONERS look ridiculous )
This did not stop Hermann Kelly, Director of communication for the Ukip group in the EU, tweeting this:
In defence of Hermann came two Ukip members more used to commenting on climate change.
Where did this myth of 700+ regions of France which are no- go zones come from. The original blog by Daniel Pipes written in 2006 was the first to put flesh on the idea of No Go Zones. If, however, anyone reads to the end they would find out that Mr Pipes no longer agrees with his original assessment. As for Foxgoose, he quotes an anti muslim web site that is highly inaccurate and quotes directly from Daniel Pipes.
The idea of areas where a mystical other holds sway which we can not control, comes directly from a period of history we do not want to repeat. If you want to read about these terrible and frightening zones I find trip advisor to be quite amusing and rather more accurate than Farage and Ukip.
If you take the first area
You can see that the highlighted areas have an immigrant population of less than 10%. These areas are deprived, they are working class areas, with high levels of unemployment. They are not Muslim enclaves ruled by Sharia law!
For the problems facing deprived Urban areas in France this Guardian article is a good start. It’s not a problem of mass migration but of a deprived isolated population. It’s a problem that France has been grappling with for a long period of time.
Three days later after the original conversation and Ukip members are still demonstrating their ignorance, their desire to blame the “other”.