Ben Carson has been flirting with the theory that there are “no-go zones” in Europe, i.e. neighborhoods so overrun by radicalized Muslims that authorities have abandoned their control of the areas and and non-Muslims won’t even travel in them. Carson alluded to the debunked theory while stumping in Las Vegas Wednesday and earlier this week gave a meandering answer when asked point-blank if he believed they existed.
The “no-go zone” theory had already been revived by Donald Trump on the 2016 trail. Bobby Jindal also got in trouble citing no-go zones in a speech that earned the rebuke of the London mayor. The theory initially caught fire when analysts on Fox News speculated about no-go areas, for which the channel has since issued a series of apologies and was even given a slap-on-the-wrist by a British regulator for misleading audiences.
Earlier this week in an interview with Britain’s Sky News, Carson suggested London had a “society where there are multiple Sharia courts and enclaves of people who perhaps have a different way of living and a different standard of living.”
Sky News asked him directly if he agreed with Donald Trump “that there are no-go zones in London,” to which Carson replied “it depends on what they want. If they don’t want that, then it’s a problem. If they want that, then it’s not a problem”
Sky News pressed him again: “But do they exist? Now, you think they exist now?”
Carson said, “Yes, they exist. Of course.” He added, “I don’t know where you can go there or not, but there are certainly places that have a different way of life.”
Carson’s uncertainty as to exactly what constitutes a no-go zone didn’t stop him from name-checking them in a campaign speech Wednesday.
“Everyone is welcome in America if they’re willing to assimilate, but we don’t want the kind of situation that has occurred in Great Britain where you have 85 Sharia courts and no-go areas and things like that,” Carson said, according to Think Progress. “That doesn’t make sense for the United States of America, which is the great melting pot.”
British officials all the way up to then-Prime Minister Gordon Brown have shot down the idea that there are “no-go zones” in the U.K. But the attacks in Paris and California have inspired a new level of Islamophobia. Fueling the theory was the statement last month by a Belgian official that his government does not “have control of the situation” in a neighborhood linked to terrorist plots.
Carson, meanwhile, also said Wednesday that he expected to be a one-term president because of his willingness to take on unpopular issues.
“There are some tough things that need to be done,” Carson said, according to the Washington Post.
Corrected: This story was corrected to reflect that Gordon Brown is no longer prime minister.