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Fox News informs surprised Parisians they've been conquered by Muslims

Zack Beauchamp is a senior correspondent at Vox, where he covers ideology and challenges to democracy, both at home and abroad. Before coming to Vox in 2014, he edited TP Ideas, a section of Think Progress devoted to the ideas shaping our political world.

Paris is a city for famous its food, history, culture, and for its neighborhood-sized mini-Caliphate hellscapes run as tiny Islamist extremist fiefdoms.

At least, that's how Fox News tells it. The network has repeatedly stated that parts of France have been effectively conquered by Muslims, who have created "no-go zones" restricted to non-Muslims. Needless to say, this is false, but feeds into a larger Fox News narrative of Muslim families as enemies within and Muslim immigration as a perilous threat to Western society.

Recently, in a January 10 segment, so-called expert Nolan Peterson appeared on the network to explain that there were 741 Muslim-dominated "no-go zones" around France, in which French law is powerless and al-Qaeda recruits on the streets. Next to a map of Paris with the eek-scary "no-go zones" highlighted in red, Peterson explained that "I've been to Afghanistan, Iraq, and Kashmir [in India]— and at times it felt like that in [Paris]." Here's the video:

"You see young men wearing Osama bin Laden t-shirts in hookah shops," Peterson recounted.

"The efforts of Islamists like the Muslim Brotherhood or al-Qaeda to recruit off the streets of the no-go zones is not something that's hidden in the shadows," he continued. "It's actually very open; it's accepted, and people just sort of go along."

Parisians seem to think this was pretty hilarious. Paris by Mouth made a map of some of the best bars and restaurants in the no-go zones, which include one that won "the Best Baguette in Paris competition in 2008." Sened Dhab compiled some photographs from the supposed Caliphate-on-the-Seine, which actually end up looking a lot like normal Paris.

Fox News appears to have based its "no-go zones" on areas of Paris that were labelled "sensitive urban zones" by the French government in 1996. The government identified these areas to be targeted for special state assistance and urban renewal.

These zones do often have higher rates of crime, unemployment, or other social ills — as is typically the case for parts of any city that need special state assistance. But they are not Islamist fiefdoms, and they aren't considered "no-go."

Peterson has since apologized for some of his claims (though not all of them). But the Fox News seems to really, sincerely believe in no-go zones dominated by European Muslims, an idea the network has hit on repeatedly.

Previously, in a now-infamous segment, purported terrorism expert Steve Emerson said "these no-go zones exist not only in France, but around Europe" — claiming the entire city of Birmingham, England was a city where "non-Muslims simply don't go in." Birmingham is about 22 percent Muslim, according to a 2011 survey, and Emerson was mocked by much of the UK.

Even Prime Minister David Cameron weighed in, calling Emerson a "complete idiot." Emerson has also since apologized, and pledged to donate to Birmingham Children's Hospital for some reason.

Previous to that, on January 8, Fox News host Sean Hannity did a segment interviewing notorious anti-Islam activist Robert Spencer about the alleged no-go zones. According to Spencer, "these 751 no-go areas are essentially ruled by sharia law. They have no regard for French law. They do not teach French law."

According to Bloomberg Businessweek, French no-go zones are a longstanding myth on the fringe American right. Conservative pundit Daniel Pipes claims credit for inventing the term in this 2006 article. He recanted after actually traveling to the places in Europe: "for a visiting American, these areas are very mild, even dull ... having this first-hand experience, I regret having called these areas no-go zones."

But Fox doesn't share Pipes's contrition. In each of the above clips, you'll notice that it's the Fox anchors — not the guests — that bring up the no-go zones. The entire point of these segments is seemingly to spread this myth. They're selling the idea that Europe is scary because the Muslims are taking it over.

Islamophobia on cable news really is out of control.