Paris to sue Fox News for reports on Muslim 'no-go zones'

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal speaking on a campaign trip last year. On his recent "fact-finding" visit to Britain, he surprised the British by saying the country had "no-go zones" where syariah law, not British law, was in place. -- PHOTO: AF
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal speaking on a campaign trip last year. On his recent "fact-finding" visit to Britain, he surprised the British by saying the country had "no-go zones" where syariah law, not British law, was in place. -- PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (AFP) - The city of Paris said on Tuesday it plans to sue US television chain Fox News for reports that there were "no-go zones" in the French capital that police and non-Muslims avoid.

The reports in the wake of the Islamist attacks in Paris two weeks ago have been widely derided and prompted Fox to issue an on-air apology for suggesting parts of Paris and the English city of Birmingham were run under Islamic syariah law.

"A complaint will be filed in the coming days" despite the apology, said a source at Paris city hall.

The news channel broadcast a map outlining the so-called no-go zones, which a man it described as an expert named Nolan Peterson said felt like Afghanistan or Iraq.

Mr Steve Emerson, another so-called terrorism expert, also told Fox that Britain's Birmingham was populated entirely by Muslims and that "non-Muslims just simply don't go in".

British Prime Minister David Cameron correctly labelled him "a complete idiot".

"When I heard this, frankly, I choked on my porridge and I thought it must be April Fool's Day," he said.

On Saturday, a Fox news anchor apologised for "some regrettable errors on air regarding the Muslim population in Europe, particularly with regard to England and France".

"Now this applies especially to discussions of so-called no-go zones, areas where non-Muslims allegedly are not allowed in and police supposedly won't go," the anchor said.

The Fox reports spawned much derision online and saw local news show Le Petit Journal send fake correspondents Mike and John to report on these so-called dangerous areas.

"Oh my God, it's an Islamist, he has a beard," one of the jittery reporters cries as a taxi pulls up.

Another takes fright at the sight of a Moroccan restaurant: "Oh my God, a couscous! Very dangerous couscous in Paris!"

Oddly enough, Louisiana's Indian-American Governor - and possible Republican US presidential candidate next year - Bobby Jindal apparently had not got wind of the derision stirred up by the Fox report during a visit to England on a "fact-finding" mission. This week, he too waded into the controversy.

There, jaws dropped in the House of Commons as he agreed with the original description of Britain having Islamic "no-go zones", places where syariah law, not British law, was in force.

"Non-assimilationist Muslims establish enclaves and carry out as much of syariah law as they can without regard for the laws of the democratic countries which provided them a new home," he said, noting that these were places where the British police feared to tread.

Pressed by a CNN anchor on Monday to pinpoint where these places were, Mr Jindal, who was raised a Hindu but converted to Roman Catholicism, merely said he had read about them in Britain's Daily Mail.

Mr Jay Parini, a poet and novelist who teaches at Middlebury College in Vermont and just published a biography of Jesus, told CNN yesterday that he wondered what prompted Mr Jindal's " ignorant outburst".

" Such behaviour" embarrasses "this country in the court of world opinion", he said.