More On “No-Go Zones”: Displacing What Is Disagreeable

“Zones urbaines sensibles,” France. Source.

Amid all the giggling and the Twitter hashtags, something dark is going on in France and Britain. None of these areas is a place where non-Muslims are “forbidden” to go. But they do exist. They are places where behavior that is commonplace in wider society would certainly be discouraged, sometimes intimidatingly so.

Last year in the UK, we discovered that a portion of Birmingham’s secular state schools had been taken over by Islamic fundamentalists. The results of these discoveries — which included teachings that Muslims were to distance themselves from non-Muslims, look down on then and not take them as friends — shocked the nation. It still seems shaken. Yet most Muslim leaders in the UK simply denied the findings of successive government-led inquiries. Instead of tackling the outrages, they dismissed them as some “Islamophobic” plot.

It seemed we were witnessing an example of “displacement:” it is so much easier to laugh at a foreign news station than to deal with the jolting nugget of truth that may have been exaggerated. So much easier to choke on your porridge at the “idiocy” of an American than to stop your schools from being lost to extremist ideologies. And so much easier to talk of “suing” a news channel than to prevent atrocities of the kind we saw last month from happening again in your city…

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