WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – The city of Paris’ multicultural integration efforts represent the antithesis of the non-Muslim “no-go zone” reports that FOX News made in the wake of the terrorist attacks in the French capital in January, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said.
“In Paris, ambition goes the exact direct opposite of these so-called ‘no-go zones’ that have been completely fantasized by some people,” the mayor said during a speech at the White House summit on countering extremism on Wednesday. “Regardless of one’s conviction, belief religion or origin, everybody in Paris must find a way to success and integration and fulfillment.”
Hidalgo referred to FOX report claims that non-Muslims were not allowed to enter certain parts of Paris, which had come under Sharia law, but turned out to be false.
Rather than a city plagued by sectarian or ethnic divisions, according to Hidalgo, Paris is a nation that consists of a diverse mixture of people and a society that is open to immigrants of all stripes.
Hidalgo outlined a plan for renewing dialogue among all of the city’s religious communities and secular associations. A kick-off meeting will be held at Paris city hall on March 12 to work on concrete proposals to address community-based violence, she announced.
Solutions to combat extremism and promote unity include citizen engagement, community service, developing working class neighbourhoods and, above all, providing quality education to the city’s youth because poor schooling is a major driver of radicalization, the Paris’ mayor said.
On February 12, the Paris City Council voted in favour of taking legal action against FOX. After heavy criticism, Fox apologized for the report, but Hidalgo maintained that FOX had sullied the reputation of her city, which is a major tourist destination. FOX attorneys said the network plans to fight the lawsuit in the name of free speech.
On January 7, a string of terrorist attacks began in Paris, when two gunmen broke into the editorial office of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, killing 12 people and injuring 11 others. On January 8, gunman linked to the Hebdo attackers shot dead a female French police officer and then killed four Jewish hostages in a kosher supermarket.