Gov. Bobby Jindal at the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans.

GOP hopeful Bobby Jindal doubles down on Muslim 'no-go zones' in Europe

(RNS) Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a potential candidate for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, will give a speech Monday (Jan. 19) in London and reiterate the disputed claim that Muslim immigrants have created "no-go zones" in Europe where non-Muslims are not welcome.

Gov. Bobby Jindal at the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans.

Gov. Bobby Jindal at the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans.


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An advance text of Jindal's speech, circulated by his office, warns that Islamic radicals are fomenting anti-Western sentiment in "no-go zones" where they rule themselves by Islamic religious law, not the laws of their host nations.

"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," Jindal's text reads. "It is startling to think that any country would allow, even unofficially, for a so called 'no-go zone.' The idea that a free country would allow for specific areas of its country to operate in an autonomous way that is not free and is in direct opposition to its laws is hard to fathom."

 The "no-go zones" theory became a bit of an international incident over the weekend when Steven Emerson of the Investigative Project on Terrorism, said on Fox News that in parts of France, Britain, Sweden and Germany, Muslim immigrants have set up enclaves where the host nations "don't exercise any sovereignty."

He added that in the United Kingdom there are even entire cities -- specifically the city of Birmingham "where non-Muslims simply don't go in."

British Prime Minister David Cameron responded: "When I heard this frankly, I choked on my porridge and I thought it must be April Fools' Day. This guy is clearly a complete idiot."

Emerson posted an apology to Birmingham on his organization's website: "I have clearly made a terrible error for which I am deeply sorry. My comments about Birmingham were totally in error." But he did not retract the other portions of his Fox News interview.

"I stand on what I said," Emerson told USA Today. "I should have pointed out at the outset that no-go zones are not static. But yes, there are areas in other parts of Europe -- 'amorphous' as I specifically pointed -- such as in France, Sweden, and Germany in which there are no-go zones where governments do not exercise sovereignty. Officially, national governments do not acknowledge the formal existence of such no-go zones. But they definitely exist, as attested to by statements of and first hand observations and experiences of local government officials -- from mayors to police chiefs and rulings of local courts."

Jindal's speech notes also the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe, and again ties it back to the alleged Muslim enclaves.

"How does such evil rise again in democratic countries? I believe it is because radical Islamists have been given too wide a berth to establish their own nation within a nation," Jindal's text reads. "In America we are quite happy to welcome freedom-loving people, regardless of religion, who want to abide by our laws allowing for freedom of expression and a host of other democratic freedoms. But we will never allow for any sect of people to set up their own areas where they establish their own set of laws."

Jindal's larger point is that Western nations can embrace immigrants who are arriving with the goal of assimilating "coming to join your culture, your mores, your laws, and become a part of your history." But nations must ask, he says, "are they coming to be set apart, are they unwilling to assimilate, do they have their own laws they want to establish, do they fundamentally disagree with your political culture? Therein lies the difference between immigration and invasion."

Jindal, a Catholic convert, warns: "What some immigrants of late desire to do is to colonize Western countries because setting up your own enclave and demanding recognition of a no-go zone are exactly that."

Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a U.S.-based Muslim civil rights group, said "This whole bogus notion of no-go zones in Europe has been floating around in right wing anti-Muslim circles for years . . . but they can't provide evidence for any of the them."

"You would think that someone who aspires to higher office would not indulge in this type of hate-mongering," Hooper added.

(Paul Singer writes for USA Today.)

KRE END SINGER