My friend, Raheem Kassam, has written a masterpiece. "No Go Zones: How Sharia Law Is Coming to a Neighborhood Near You" is not a polemic. It is an investigation, dedicated to proving that the deadly mix of unassimilated mass migration, antiquated Islamic fundamentalist practices, and leftist anti-western prejudices have had negative consequences in Europe which can come to America if we are not careful.
From the start, Kassam defines a "No Go Zone" as follows:
An area in which the likelihood of being attacked, accosted, or otherwise abused on the basis of your appearance, or the bigotry of locals, is higher on average than elsewhere in the city or country in question. A ‘No Go Zone’ may refer to an area in which police require authorization or acceptance from a religious figure or community leader before entering, or indeed where the rule of law has broken down or been supplanted by a foreign set of rules.
Not long ago, I reviewed "Hello Refugees!" by Tuvia Tenenbom, dealing with how refugees from Islamic countries are treated (or, more accurately, mistreated) in the refugee centers of Germany, and how it has affected politics there. At first glance, it would appear that Raheem's book is about the same issue. It is not. The refugees that Tuvia writes about are kept separate and isolated from the German public by the force of the state. The migrants, immigrants and refugees of Raheem's book are not forcibly confined to centers, but have formed their own ethnic enclaves within the Western non-muslim countries they now live in.
Raheem, every so often, includes autobiographical details. He speaks of "my upbringing, with parents intent on giving their children a better life. When I was growing up, my family had a four-bedroom detached house with a pool in the back yard, and our grandmother lived with us for many months of the year. We were the epitome of the upper middle class, and from what? A village called Moshi in Tanzania." He compares the strict gender segregation he witnessed at a mosque in San Bernardino, California, with his own experiences. "I was lucky enough to have been raised in a relatively liberal sect of Islam. This sect is considered apostate by most Sunnis. But it allows women to wear whatever they like to the mosque — they often took full, fashionable advantage of this — and its small amounts of gender segregation are really only for show. When the mosque was full, men and women would sit alongside one another and usually socialize inside and outside of the prayer hall, before and after services." After a visit to Hamtramck, Michigan, he writes:
It was no surprise to me that just a few weeks after my visit, a major national news story, created by the complacency I feared, emanated out of Michigan. Police arrested several doctors in Livonia, which is close to Hamtramck, in the first attempt to convict for the barbaric process of female genital mutilation in the history of the United States. The victims came from the Bohra community. Bohras are actually Shias, even Ismailis - the same branch of Islam I was raised in. To make things more complicated, we were "Nizaris" whereas they are "Dawoodis." Most of them are Indian, but some are Pakistani and some are Yemeni. And, for whatever reason, they don't mind hacking their children's genitals to bits. For the record, this wasn't an occurrence, not in the slightest, in Nizari Ismailism. I never once even heard about it growing up. But then again, maybe that's half the problem.
Though these details appear only sporadically, it is clear that the issues of assimilation are personal for Raheem. It is easy to sense a degree of pain as Raheem talks about the main victims of No Go Zones: the immigrants themselves, who are being robbed of the blessings of life in the West. Thus, it is he — and not his detractors, who ignore these problems — who has true compassion.
Speaking of his detractors, Raheem strips them of their supposed altruism. "Across all the No Go Zones I visited, election posters, flyers, and stickers for socialist and communist parties littered lampposts and local notice boards." The European left plays identity politics with these migrants. And the results are: welfare dependency, high crime rates (and therefor, high incarceration rates), drug abuse — largely (Raheem argues) stemming from alienation, the inevitable result of the failure to integrate into their new society. That the Left sees this and still insists on resisting policies of assimilation, such as language requirements, is quite telling. It is the alienated and the malcontented that vote left, after all.
But — arrogantly self-righteous as ever — the Left accuses Raheem of "Islamophobia." He anticipates this, and draws on French philosopher Pascal Bruckner to answer. Wrote Bruckner:
At the end of the 1970s, Iranian fundamentalists invented the term "Islamophobia" formed in analogy to "xenophobia". The aim of this word was to declare Islam inviolate. Whoever crosses this border is deemed a racist. This term, which is worthy of totalitarian propaganda, is deliberately unspecific about whether it refers to a religion, a belief system or its faithful adherents around the world. ...
The term "Islamophobia" serves a number of functions: it denies the reality of an Islamic offensive in Europe all the better to justify it; it attacks secularism by equating it with fundamentalism. Above all, however, it wants to silence all those Muslims who question the Koran, who demand equality of the sexes, who claim the right to renounce religion, and who want to practice their faith freely and without submitting to the dictates of the bearded and doctrinaire. It follows that young girls are stigmatised for not wearing the veil, as are French, German or English citizens of Maghribi, Turkish, African or Algerian origin who demand the right to religious indifference, the right not to believe in God, the right not to fast during Ramadan. Fingers are pointed at these renegades, they are delivered up to the wrath of their religions communities in order to quash all hope of change among the followers of the Prophet.
None of that matters to leftists, whose main objective is to paint people like Raheem as the devil. But Raheem was not the snake who used lies to cause turmoil in the Garden of Eden, which is how leftists the world over see Sweden. That distinction goes to the media and socialist politicians like Ylva Johansson, Sweden's minister for employment and integration, who were willing to lie to cover up the migrant-driven rise in the level of rapes. Johansson told BBC in March 2017 that rape is "going down, and going down, and going down," but a few days later, after being called out by the Swedish Moderate Party, she had to apologize. "I based my answer on information that I had at the time, that the number of reports of rapes went down in 2015," Johansson explained. "It was wrong of me to speak of a development that was only based on one year. The preliminary figures for 2016 unfortunately show that the figures are on the rise. It's important to be correct, of course."
Actually, from 2015 to 2016, rape numbers went up by 13%. And Raheem tells of other reports of rapes by migrants that were covered up by authorities (and later discovered thanks to leaks) because, as a police spokesman noted, "There are police employees that are afraid of talking about these things in the context of the immigration debate today." All of this is very ominous because, as Raheem points out, rape rates in Sweden were already high even before the recent spike. U.N.-collected statistics from 2010 (the year before the start of the Syrian civil war) show that Sweden had 63.5 rapes per 100,000 citizens, behind South Africa (132.4 per 100,000) and Botswana (92.9 per 100,000). Sweden was already in third place, and the numbers are rising.
Let not the conduct of those police officers reflect on the Swedish law enforcement community entirely, however. In my opinion, the most fascinating person interviewed in the book is Torsten Elofsson, a former INTERPOL officer and retired chief of the Criminal Investigation division for the city of Malmo, which is the epicenter of Sweden's mass migration troubles. Elofsson explains:
What we see here is that you build up a parallel structure, a parallel society. Mainly dealing in trafficking in drugs, trafficking in humans, and also a black market, selling fruit, vegetables, cars, everything, without paying taxes, without any bookkeeping, that is becoming a big issue here. ... If you are trying to run a serious business you are programmed to lose everything because you cannot sell merchandise or services for such a low price, if you want to pay your taxes, pay decent salaries to staff and so on. In the long term it is a threat to society and to serious business in Sweden because everyone will be beaten by these. It's a big challenge for the tax authorities and so on.
The great capitalist prophet Milton Friedman once warned, "It's just obvious you can't have free immigration and a welfare state." And socialist Sweden is proving him right. Elofsson says:
The picture of Sweden is double sided ... we have a great economy ... but the main, tough situation is on the public sector because Sweden is known as a welfare state ... we take care of our people from birth down to the day you die and we pay high taxes for that. Now you can see there is strain on healthcare, on social security, on the police and so on ... retired people think they don't get the pensions they should, rightfully, because we pay too much to the people coming in.
But what of America? If I did not know better, I would have thought that this book was written by a flag-waving American patriot. Raheem is the next best thing, a British Thatcherite. Both he and I had attended the Margaret Thatcher Centre celebration in 2015. "Americans and Europeans alike sometimes forget how unique is the United States of America," Prime Minister Thatcher once observed. "No other nation has been built upon an idea — the idea of liberty. No other nation has so successfully combined people of different races and nations within a single culture." This is why immigrants have, "with few exceptions, welcomed American values, the American way of life and American opportunities." By contrast, "European nations are not and can never be like this. They are the product of history and not of philosophy. You can construct a nation on an idea; but you cannot reconstruct a nation on the basis of one."
Raheem views the United States with similar reverence. This country is "a beacon of liberty" and is grounded in strong principles, which give us advantages the U.K. and the European nations do not have. At one point, when speaking of how Jihadi hate preachers in Britain seduce so many young people to their cause, Raheem points to the "Left's long march through Britain's institutions — stripping away conservatism and Christian morals" — which "has left these people with nothing to guide them. No flag to rally around. In many cases, quite literally. It is extremely rare to come across a British flag, even on government buildings. As opposed to the monopoly Old Glory has in many towns and cities in the United States. When they come for your flag, they're coming for your identity. When they kill your identity, evil flourishes."
Outside of the weird private compounds maintained by the Pakistani extremist Sheikh Gilani cult, there are not yet places that fit the definition of No Go Zones in America.
Even so, symptoms are showing in Michigan.
Raheem is not the first to observe the alarming drift toward No Go Zone-ism in Dearborn and Hamtramck. In one of his books, Tuvia Tenenbom (a friend of mine who is on the political left) noticed that "I can't spot one American flag flying from anyone's home" in Dearborn. Tuvia, a Socratic wanderer, spoke to some of the residents of the town. A young Lebanese woman, who is in the USA to go to university, gave Tuvia a firm "No" when he asked if she liked America. She said she intended to go back to Lebanon after graduation; when Tuvia told her that he heard that there were some problems there, her response was "No! Hezbollah is strong and they protect us." Another man Tuvia met told him that only Muslims live around there. Tuvia asked if a Jew could live there. "No."
Raheem saw things like this, like the arrest of doctors who performed female genital mutilations in Livonia, or a 90-foot wide and 30-foot tall mural of hijab-clad women in Hamtramck, but what caught his eye was the foreign-funded propaganda that was being trafficked to the community. In the Saudi-funded Arab American National Museum in Dearborn, Raheem found an exhibit dedicated to attacking President Trump. Looking at a recreated 2015 tweet from then-Governor of Indiana Mike Pence — which read "Calls to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. are offensive and unconstitutional" — Raheem "wondered why there wasn't a placard somewhere nearby explaining that the Trump (and Pence) administration had clarified the ‘ban,' instead pressing for a far more reasonable temporary travel restriction combined with extreme vetting. It seemed like the Saudi-funded museum was propagating old, and therefore fake, news to its visitors, ostensibly to whip up resistance against the U.S. government." He added:
Pictures from anti-Trump marches in Washington, DC; Baltimore, Maryland; and Oakland, California adorn the walls around the tweet. Aside from the photos of the marches, the backbone of this "exhibit" seems to be quotes from hijab-clad march attendees and the glorification of nonsensical placards that read "Palestinian Justice is a Feminist Value"
Raheem's heart sank. "Witnessing foreign government funding being used for anti-American activism in the heart of the United States filled me with an impending sense of doom."
In the long run, America will probably avoid Europe's follies. We are simply too large and do not have enough mass migration from the Muslim world for a parallel Islamist society to take root here. As Thatcher said, the call of the American dream is strong, and most immigrants will find themselves being assimilated no matter how charismatic the Left's anti-assimilation spokesmen of ethnic grievance are. Once you step outside the distorted, funhouse mirror of the cultural relativist university, the intellectual and romantic appeal of third-world living drops pretty dramatically. If there is any threat of insular, balkanized state-within-a-state enclaves here in the USA, it will come from the mass illegal immigration from south of our boarder.
As for Europe: well ... they're going to have to live with this problem for the long haul.
If there is justice in the world, Raheem will get the thanks he deserves for this warning. More than anyone, we Americans should be thankful — we have a friend in Raheem, and trustworthy friends are hard to come by.