Darrow Miller and Friends

Muslim No-Go Zones? Really?

Following the publication of Do You Want Political Correctness or Freedom of Speech? a reader, Randy, responded, asserting that the idea of Muslim no-go zones is a myth. (To read his entire response click on the link above and scroll to the bottom.) This post comprises our reply to Randy’s response.


Randy, thank you, as always, for your comments. It is good to hear from you and to have opportunity to dialogue once again.

First, I agree with your comment that we should “resist creating rumors that are false in order to win the battles of belief.” I trust that I have not done that in this blog.

immigrant communities not the same as no-go zonesSecond, I also agree that simply because there is an immigrant community, we should not designate it as a “no-go zone.” What you have said about immigrant communities is one of the things that adds beauty and diversity to a city. Most of us who have lived or traveled in large cities have experienced the sights, sounds, and tastes of cultures that are different from our own. We have enjoyed the companionship of people who are part of those cultures. This is part of the celebration of the richness of life.

Most immigrant communities are not no-go zones 

Immigrant communities and “no-go zones” are not synonymous. Many, perhaps most, Muslim communities in the West are typical of other immigrant communities. But not all. No-go zones are not merely examples of ethnic diversity lived out in a neighborhood. The key difference: a no-go zone may begin as an immigrant community that refuses to accept the legitimacy of the host culture, choosing rather to insulate itself against that culture, and perhaps planning to remain separate from the larger community. If this trend goes to extreme it could lead to an intention to undermine or overthrow the host culture. It is this posture that transforms a peaceful and vibrant enclave into a no-go zone where “outsiders” are not welcomed. When a segment of a refugee group resents the culture of, say, France, or immigrants from a traditional society reject the pluralism and freedom of a modern society and want to destroy it, this is where the problems begin. This is happening in many places in Europe and beginning to happen in some places in the United States today.

You write: “The truth is that Muslim ‘no-go zones’ have been purely myth, false and have no basis in fact or reality.” I disagree with this assertion, Randy, and it’s not just a matter of a different opinion. In some places and communities the facts are contrary to the assertion.

You imply a uniformity to Muslims which is simply not the case. Like any other ethnic and religious community, Islam is very diverse.  In this case, secular and reform minded Muslim immigrants generally choose to assimilate into their host country. In fact, the political and social plurality is likely one of the motivating factors for them moving to their new home. More traditional Muslims may have a different perspective. Likely they have sought out a new home to find work or to avoid violence and persecution back home. They may not so much want to be integrated into their new environment as to have a safe place to raise their families. They want to maintain their identity.

Many urban communities have “dish cities” where Muslim immigrants stay connected through satellite TV and the internet to the simple and ancient culture they have left behind. They have no interest in assimilating into Western pluralistic society. These communities, in and of themselves certainly do not constitute no-go zone

No-go zones are often fostered by hostility toward the host culture

My guess is that you are referring to people like this. But there are also communities of Muslims who are hostile to the West, its values, freedoms and pluralistic society. These militants want to destroy the dominant culture and bring a global caliphate where the society surrenders to Allah and where sharia law replaces the host country’s legal system. There is open hostility in these communities. There are growing numbers of “religious and moral police” who seek to enforce strict Islamic virtues in these largely Muslim communities. And people from other communities and local police and fire officials are reluctant to go there. At this point a relatively benign “dish community” becomes a “no-go zone.”

In a way we have always had no-go zones. Consider, for example, the Mafia. Many things go on within the Mafia that the outside world knows nothing about: feuds, killings, trials, sentencing, probation … it’s a whole separate system.

Similarly, many Muslim communities—imams, teachers and congregations—maintain a cloak of secrecy over the abuse, tax evasion, medical and Social Security fraud, polygamy, etc., that is happening in their community. They deal with these matters by their sharia law administered by the imams (who are more like Old Testament judges than pastors).

Polygamy is a clear example. Here in the US and in Europe a Muslim man can marry 2, 3, or 4 wives. After the first marriage, none of these unions is registered with the US government but they are all considered legitimate in the community. When such a man wants to get rid of a wife, he can go to the imam and divorce her. All of this is hidden from government view.

Even the Snopes article you cited includes an admission that no-go zones do indeed exist (if not as abundant as some may suggest).

A few [Zones Urbaines Sensibles] are truly no-go zones, while most are just areas where the government is focusing more development and police require special procedures to operate. A few (NOT ALL of the 751 ZUS, as falsely reported in “anti-jihadist blogs”) of these zones, primarily around Paris, are under control of radical Islamists.

Soreren Kern, Distinguished Senior Fellow of the International Policy Council of the Gatestone Institute and a Senior Analysis at the oldest Spanish think tank Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos, writes of no-go zones.

No-go zones are Muslim-dominated neighborhoods that are largely off limits to non-Muslims due to a variety of factors, including the lawlessness and insecurity that pervades a great number of these areas. Host-country authorities have effectively lost control over many no-go zones and are often unable or unwilling to provide even basic public aid, such as police, fire fighting and ambulance services, out of fear of being attacked by Muslim youth.”

Kern argues that Western multiculturalist are working to explain no-go zones as a mythology. 

The problem of no-go zones is well documented, but multiculturalists and their politically correct supporters vehemently deny that they exist. Some are now engaged in a concerted campaign to discredit and even silence those who draw attention to the issue.

 For more see his entire piece: European ‘No-Go’ Zones: Fact or Fiction? Part 1: France.

  • Darrow Miller

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Darrow is co-founder of the Disciple Nations Alliance and a featured author and teacher. For over 30 years, Darrow has been a popular conference speaker on topics that include Christianity and culture, apologetics, worldview, poverty, and the dignity of women. From 1981 to 2007 Darrow served with Food for the Hungry International (now FH association), and from 1994 as Vice President. Before joining FH, Darrow spent three years on staff at L’Abri Fellowship in Switzerland where he was discipled by Francis Schaeffer. He also served as a student pastor at Northern Arizona University and two years as a pastor of Sherman Street Fellowship in urban Denver, CO. In addition to earning his Master’s degree in Adult Education from Arizona State University, Darrow pursued graduate studies in philosophy, theology, Christian apologetics, biblical studies, and missions in the United States, Israel, and Switzerland. Darrow has authored numerous studies, articles, Bible studies and books, including Discipling Nations: The Power of Truth to Transform Culture (YWAM Publishing, 1998), Nurturing the Nations: Reclaiming the Dignity of Women for Building Healthy Cultures (InterVarsity Press, 2008), LifeWork: A Biblical Theology for What You Do Every Day (YWAM, 2009), Rethinking Social Justice: Restoring Biblical Compassion (YWAM, 2015), and more. These resources along with links to free e-books, podcasts, online training programs and more can be found at Disciple Nations Alliance (https://disciplenations.org).