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Not such a new development

Reader comment on item: Does Europe Have No-go Zones?

Submitted by L. Rivlin (United Kingdom), Jan 22, 2015 at 03:39

I am not arguing against Dr Pipes but I also have to point out that there have always been such zones in cities all over the world. Sometimes isolation was enforced either formally or informally in various degrees to the advantage of the ruling elites — ghettos in Europe and the US, barrios in South America etc — and sometimes they just developed as are​a​s of refuge for criminal elements such as the ones in 19th century London as described by Dickens. In , for example, the "semi-autonomous" zone where Fagin and Sykes and their social peers prowled was referred to as the Rookery. Even as far back as the Old Testament, there is mention of cities where fugitives could take refuge beyond enforceable law.

Although I agree that such communal cysts are an undesirable and primitive reaction to the problem of difference in society (from both sides), and that we should try to solve this modern manifestion--Moslem quarters in European cities--finding ways to integrate the inhabitants of such areas into the more general culture, we have to recognise that even the most well-controlled and homogeneous societies have always had areas where non-conformist or undesirable elements form their own communities and run them according to their own mores. The problem really lies in not recognising that these places actually exist.


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Daniel Pipes replies:

You miss the point, which is that these alleged no-go zones are in fact go-zones.

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