Raheem Kassam is the editor of Breitbart London, which he established with James Delingpole. Born into a Muslim family, now an atheist, Kassam was a former chief advisor to Nigel Farage. “No Go Zones” is his first book. This Minnesota exclusive interview was conducted by phone on August 15th and has been edited for clarity.
JG: Raheem, congratulations on your new book. It’s number one in three different categories and in the top 40 books overall on Amazon.
RK: Thank you.
JG: What was your tipping point for writing the book? Steve Emerson? [Emerson erroneously said in 2015 on CNN, after the Charlie Hebdo massacre, that all of Birmingham, England was a no go zone when, in fact, only parts of it were]
RK: Steve Emerson’s comments were one of the steps. Not his comments specifically but actually the backlash against him, especially from the British Prime Minister. That was an actually extraordinary development for David Cameron to call this person stupid for what was essentially misspeaking. Because he said Birmingham was a no go zone when what he meant to say was that there are parts of Birmingham that are no go zones.
There’s a part of the book that focuses on areas of Birmingham that are incredibly linked to crime and degradation, but also terrorism, ghettoization and all the general things we’re talking about.
If I were the British Prime Minister, I would have turned around and said “you know, Mr Emerson, Birmingham isn’t a no go zone but we fully understand what you’re saying about parts of it and we’re working to fix it.” But of course he didn’t want to say that because he said no such thing. The British authorities were very scared of being embarrassed.
Just like the French authorities, by the way, who I think have even threatened to sue people who claim that there are no go zones in France. So I look forward to receiving a lawsuit from the French government. As an Englishman, there can be no greater pleasure than being sued by the French.
The other tipping point was Anderson Cooper, and you can still find this clip in their archives, claiming that these places don’t exist and that he’s sorry somebody mentioned it on CNN once and he’d like to issue a public apology for it. I thought to myself “Well how awfully disingenuous” and then I found out that CNN had also reported on these places many years ago.
We’ve seen how the news media’s agenda has shifted into high gear against conservatives and this was a part of it. Anderson Cooper radicalized me. (mutual laughter)
JG: The media in the Twin Cities are completely in the grasp of the Regressive Left. When we learned that female genital mutilation was happening in Minnesota, neither major paper in the state ran an editorial against it, a Minnesota Public Radio reporter served as Master of Ceremonies at the terrorist linked CAIR annual banquet last fall, and a centrist think tank actually censored Sen. Tom Cotton’s remarks about Somali immigration at its annual dinner when reporting on the speech in its monthly magazine.
So we’re up against it in this interview in the environment in which it is going to be published. What do you say to people, at least in the Twin Cities, who say any criticism of Islam, of mass immigration or refugee resettlement, is per se, to use one of your least favorite words, “Islamophobic?”
RK: It’s a tough question for me to answer given that I was named the Islamophobe of the Year, I think it was 2014, by an Iranian human rights think tank. The idea that you can shut down this debate by using this sort of shaming is not new. We’ve seen it in the past, it just so happens to be gaining in traction.
This term, which is effectively a Muslim Brotherhood term, which is being taken up by the Western media is something I wrote about recently with regards to people who have left Islam, such as myself, but also people who are reformists like Maajid Nawaz and others.
These people are called Uncle Toms, they’re called house muslims, Islamophobes. You’ve got the Southern Poverty Law Center who are pushing all of this stuff as well. And of course, as with everything, there is a “follow the money trail” to be done here. We all know where it leads back to: big corporations, elites, the Open Society Foundation, and all of these kinds of guys.
“If I could impart one thing to people, it’s when you start being called an Islamophobe, it means you’re on the right track, it means you’re winning. It means you’re exposing things they don’t want exposed.”
JG: That’s Churchill’s line.
RK: Yes it is.
JG: I miss Christopher Hitchens.
JG: In your book you say “The West has become lazy in dealing with Islam.” What did you mean?
RK: For a lot of these people, as I said on Tucker Carlson last night [Kassam had noted the overwhelming majority of European leaders are childless], they don’t have a vested interest in the future, so not opposing these things is easier than opposing them: not calling this stuff out, not addressing it, not even looking to make small changes.
Look at what Theresa May said just a couple of years ago. She said literally said the words “sharia can be good for Britain.” Well in what sense? What are you talking about? And nobody asked her any follow up questions and what she meant and why she said it. There was no clarification on it.
Most people go into politics, I’m afraid, for a posh lifestyle, for free dinners and champagne receptions, for the semblance of power and prestige and the positioning they get as a result of it. Most people in politics are narcissists and incredibly damaged in their childhood in some way. Or they’re proving something to themselves rather than do anything good for the countries.
It doesn’t occur to these people that these things are pertinent in people’s lives. If you look at [terror attacks, closed communities and female genital mutilation], all of these things don’t impact the politicians, they impact ordinary people’s lives.
I go into some detail about this in the book about American areas, whereby people’s lives are being changed, their streets are being crowded because a mosque has been built on a street corner where they didn’t even have a planning application or zoning application to do so and people are complaining they don’t want 500 cars parked up the street every Friday night because it causes a problem.
They’re not even addressing Islam there, but they’re still called Islamophobes as a result of it. So the laziness for me, I’m afraid a lot of it is a political answer, purely based out of of my disdain for politicians.
We lack an intellectualism about this sort of thing now. I will happily, freely, willingly bate anybody on this subject. And I really do mean anybody.
The Left knows it doesn’t have the intellectual gravitas to take this subject on. Like you say, when Christopher Hitchens died, a lot of the world’s IQ went away with him, I’m afraid.
We lack this nowadays. Now everything is partisan, now everything—and I get this a lot because I work at Breitbart—people say you must be x, y, zed.
I say “ well hold on a minute, why don’t we actually have a conversation and at the end of that conversation if you’re not satisfied that I’ve provided you with reasonable, rational answers to everything, then I will allow you to call me all the names you instinctively want to call me.”
I’ve never met somebody who’s taken me up on that offer who hasn’t left the conversation going “We need to be friends, you’re brilliant.”
JG: You write at one point that “no go zones is also a mind set.” It seems that mindset has captured the media completely.
CAIR is the go to source for coverage on anything Islamic or muslim in Minnesota. Why do you think the press defaults to a terrorist linked group like that?
RK: CAIR is the first source and the second, because they’re really good journalists, is the Southern Poverty Law Center (mutual laughter).
I’m afraid this comes down to a matter of our own failings as much as it does the intellectual vacuousness of our media and political elites. This comes down to the fact that for a great many years, those who would wish us harm, that want to see an end of Western Civilization, or at least hasten it, are funding these things to a degree that we’re not funding our own institutions.
There once was a time, and we get into the post-colonial guilt stuff, when the BBC was used to project British values and British ideas abroad. Well now the BBC is an organization that is hell bent on apology.
Don’t forget, it would be one thing if this was a private organization but the BBC is funded by force, by coercion.
JG: England’s American cousins have never understood that, it’s like what the hell?
RK: What you don’t understand is that you actually have it. A lot of your media organizations that are tied to your government in this country are just funded through general taxation. With you guys, they just hide it. Whereas with us at least we’re being told we’re forced. It’s one of the areas in which our taxes are more transparent than yours.
JG: You’re speaking of National Public Radio and its affiliates.
RK: And Voice of America and all that kind of stuff.
Back to CAIR: how did it manage to be this go to group? It’s because we left a vacuum, a vacuum of morals, a vacuum of ideas, a vacuum of moral authority quite frankly.
I truly do believe, as cliché as it is, that that came from a position of post-colonial guilt, where we thought we’ve said enough on the world stage, why don’t we step back for a little bit, why don’t we start apologizing a little bit more.
Barack Obama gave the CAIR talking points in his Cairo speech. This speech was one of the first speeches he gave, his first foreign speech, where he literally read out a CAIR talking point, which was Quranic chapter five aya 32 “anybody who takes a life takes the life of all mankind, anybody who saves a life saves the life of all mankind.” And then he declares therefore Islam is a religion of peace.
If he had read on to the next verse “he who is causing mischief,” which is the idea of stopping Islam, should have his hands and feet cut off.
This is what we’re supposed to believe is a religion of peace. I have a slightly more English mentality when it comes to this sort of thing, which is to say that we are more authoritarian in the way that we respond to things than Americans are.
For doing something like that, I would argue Barack Obama was guilty of a great misleading, at best, and elements of treason, at worst, because he is lying, not just to the American people, he is lying to the world about an insidious threat that lies within their own borders.
You tell me what that is.
JG: I think you told me.
Part Two of Gilmore’s Minnesota exclusive interview with Raheem Kassam can be found here: The “No Go Zones” Interview With Raheem Kassam, Part Two