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Debunking the Myth of Muslim-Only Zones in Major European Cities

Stories about big Western cities surrendering neighborhoods to control of Islamist extremists are shocking—and totally false
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Lucas Schifres/Bloomberg News

Entire neighborhoods of Paris, London, and other European cities have become Muslim-run "no-go zones," off-limits to law enforcement and governed by Islamic sharia law. The story, making the rounds since last week's Paris terror attacks, is shocking—and demonstrably untrue. Yet it continues to spread.

Steve Emerson, a U.S. television commentator, set off a firestorm in Britain on Jan. 11 when he told Fox News that "non-Muslims just simply don't go in" to the British city of Birmingham, and that in some parts of London, "religious police" beat people who don't wear "religious Muslim attire." Prime Minister David Cameron called Emerson "a complete idiot," and Emerson quickly backtracked, admitting he had made "an inexcusable error." British social media had a field day, with Twitter posts showing "sharia-compliant" cloth-covered jars of homemade jam and photoshopped images of mosques dominating the Birmingham skyline.