Lawless districts will not disappear by themselves

lawless districts
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When the author of a text avoids a straight answer to the question he poses in the title, one can be sure that they try to imply an opinion that they are afraid to express openly. This can be seen in the article ‘No-go zones: a myth or reality’ by Hicham Tiflati.

The piece manipulates the reader and uses slippery logic, which is supposed to justify the radicalism of Islamic immigrants in Europe. It was first published on the European Eye on Extremism portal, which claims to fight radicalism. Subsequently, its translation was published on our portal


Hitcham Tiflati does not provide a clear answer to the question posed in his article because it seems more important to him to convey his conviction that whatever bad one can say about immigrant districts in Europe, it is the Western governments which are responsible for everything happening there and not the people living in them.

The twisted reasoning of the author can be summarized as follows: yes, lawless districts, which are called ‘no-go’ zones, exist in Europe but this terminology is used by the enemies of Islam and immigrants, so these districts do not really exist.

This further means that they do exist but are not no-go, simply contain a high level of crime. Here he says that criminality is not that important; rather these districts are simply ghettos with poor people living in bad conditions and stigmatized by others.

Poverty, lack of education and unemployment in such places are the result of the Western governments’ decision to isolate, deprive and neglect people living in them. Even when the governments do something for those people it is still disgraceful as they are labelled as a lower kind of people.

What follows is that there is actually no problem with immigrants because different types of immigrants – Catholics, for example, used to be regarded as bad and they integrated over time.

It is true craftsmanship to claim in one text that problem both exists and does not exist. All to downplay the reality of the issue and convince the reader that there is no reason to worry about the no-go zones.

Let us try to unravel what the author of the article so elegantly complicated.

It is now obvious that there exist districts inhabited by the immigrants with high levels of criminality labelled as no-go zones. They can be found in all countries of Western Europe with high numbers of immigrants from Muslim countries (click here for a description of such places in various countries, and here to find out about such zones in Germany). In France they are called ‘zones of high sensitivity’ (zones de securite urbaine sensibles), or ‘high priority zones’ (zones de securite prioritaires) for those particularly tough. In Germany they are called ‘difficult zones’ and in Sweden ‘sensitive zones’ or ‘highly sensitive zones’.

No-go zone is easy to remember but does not fully convey the character of such districts. Daniel Pipes, who was the first to start using such descriptions and who has visited a dozen of such zones in various countries, considers the term no-go zone as misleading. He believes that ‘partly-autonomous zones’ would be more fitting because in reality they are accessible to some extent.

Ordinary citizens have access to such districts (although not necessarily after dark) and the hostility and aggression is mainly directed at the government representatives, especially the police (sometimes firefighters, ambulances and even postmen). These are lawless districts, in which the law of the country does not function and the police can only investigate homicide cases while leaving the remainder of the crime (drugs, theft, assault and rape) without intervention.

The most fitting term is the lawless districts. They are filled with social problems and crime, which makes other citizens unwilling to cooperate with the police and the police find it difficult to carry out their duties (as reported by the Swedish press regarding the highly sensitive zones).

Interestingly, they are not districts which are governed by the Sharia, nor are they mini Islamic states embedded within Western cities. They have mosques and the majority of people are Muslims, but if there is something that governs these districts, it is gangs of teenage hooligans, not the imams. They are perfect for recruitment of Islamic extremists who move to Syria for jihad or plot terrorist attacks on the spot. The local citizens live in terror and try as much as possible to move out.

In spite of what the author claims, the fact that Muslim immigrants live in those districts is not a direct effect of the faulty politics of European countries. Many immigrants live from social allowances, mostly in communal social housing. It begs the question: where else should the authorities find housing for them – in the most expensive districts so that they can feel appreciated? However, most people living in the lawless districts choose to accommodate there. Not just because it is cheap and becomes cheaper but simply because they want to live among each other.

This is the fundamental reason for such districts to come into existence. Not so much the stupidity of the country, but immigrants’ wish to live together with other believers of the same faith, preferably originating from the same country. Living in such conditions, with access to the satellite TV and internet, which allow for a virtual presence in one’s own country, creates an enclave of aloofness that makes the integration much more difficult. That is assuming that immigrants want to integrate in the first place. If they did want they could freely move out from those districts, just as the locals do. Immigrants live in free societies and even if they do not have much money they could still afford to find alternative accommodation – not only in the company of their people.

In spite of what the author claims, poverty of the immigrants does not stem from the governments not providing enough care but rather from the fact that they can do little and do not earn much. The majority prefers to live from social welfare or, as is common among the younger generations – to steal or deal drugs. The lack of fundamental education is prominent, but if education is not valued by either the parents or the students, how can the country force them to graduate from schools and universities?

The international research conducted by PISA indicates that the children of immigrants born in Europe show poorer results in school, compared to the native children and this result holds also for groups of equal economic means. Education does not seem to be perceived by immigrant minorities as an acceptable way of social development and a better lifestyle. If someone really cares they can find a way for a better life, as shown by the example of Amineh Kakabeveh, a Kurdish Iranian who came to Sweden as an illiterate adult twenty years ago. Since then she has managed to obtain an asylum, and has not only graduated from a university but also for ten years she has been a deputy in the left-wing Swedish party. She claims that the Swedes are very naive when it comes to immigration.

The author puts forward the following: ‘The solution for those living in social poverty is lessening of social and economic inequalities and promoting economic assimilation’. It is a smooth cliché devoid of meaning. Hilfati discussed one such solution, not giving the truth about it and criticizing it for unequal treatment of citizens. It is the Danish project: ‘Closing down of ghettos by 2030’, which predicts higher penalties for immigrant crime in the ghettos and millions of Danish crones dedicated to new housing development and refurbishment.

The author criticizes the idea of limiting social allowances for parents who choose not to send their children to preschool but not for parents in wealthier families. The author does not take into account that children from wealthier families know Danish perfectly and will manage at school even if they do not go to preschool, whereas children from immigrant families will not achieve such results due to the poor command of Danish. It is more comfortable and politically correct to blame European countries for immigrant problems and criticize every idea of their integration.

According to Hicham, poverty, crime and radicalism in immigrant ghettos are the fault of the societies and governments that neglect, stigmatize and force immigrants to live in such conditions. He does not mention that groups of immigrants could potentially do something for themselves, for example in mosques. They could organize educational classes that teach local cultures, organize free time for young people and help the poorest members of the society. Immigrants come across for the author as a passive, deranged mass of people who came to take the country rather than people capable of using the help of the country to help themselves find a better life.

In completing the country blaming process, the author should also mention that governments are responsible for terrorism at the hand of the immigrants because housing facilities are not being prepared on time.

Admitting in the text that in the lawless districts crime is high and blaming the country for the heavy fate of the immigrants living in such ghettos, the author claims that the problem will disappear by itself.

The author states: ‘When it comes to Muslims many researchers believe that what we see today is only a transitional phase to social integration and the people will sooner or later become part of the mainstream society’. Except that there is no serious researcher who has claimed such an opinion. The author’s examples refer to other groups such as Catholics, Jews and the Irish in the USA. These groups integrated not because of the American administration but because they wanted to integrate by getting education, hard work and learning the language and also accustoming to the local way of being and living.

On the other hand, Muslim immigrants behave completely different in Europe and nothing shows that the lawless districts will disappear by themselves.


Grzegorz Lindenberg

The Polish original: Dzielnice bezprawia nie znikną same z siebie

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