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12 Feb, 2015 14:10

Paris mayor gets green light to sue Fox over 'Muslim no-go zones'

Paris mayor gets green light to sue Fox over 'Muslim no-go zones'

Parisian lawmakers have given the city’s mayor, Anne Hidalgo, the green light to sue US-based Fox News for falsely reporting on Islamic neighborhoods in the French capital where non-Muslims purportedly fear to go.

"I will not accept insults against our city and its people," Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said, as quoted by The Local. "What's in question here is not fun or... a bad joke, it's lies."

Hidalgo’s outrage came in response to Fox News incorrect reports of Paris “no go zones” governed by Sharia law, which non-Muslims are forbidden to enter and police avoid going to.

READ MORE: Paris mayor to sue Fox News over Muslim ‘no-go zones’ reports

Paris mayor, who first mentioned the lawsuit back in January, has called out the Rupert Murdoch-owned broadcaster for “lies” and now sues Fox News for defamation.

Speaking to CNN’s Christiane Amanpour at the time, Hidalgo said: “When we're insulted, and when we've had an image, then I think we'll have to sue, I think we'll have to go to court, in order to have these words removed.”

Fox News that has repeatedly apologized on air for the factual “regrettable errors” has said that Paris lawsuit against it is “antithetical to free speech.”

"The decision by the City of Paris to bring legal proceedings against a United States news organization is antithetical to free speech,” Dori Ann Hanswirth, a lawyer representing Fox News, told AP.

READ MORE: Fox News apologizes for expert calling Birmingham ‘totally Muslim no-go zone’

Among Fox News “insulting” reports were an interview with Nolan Peterson who was introduced as a “conflict journalist and military veteran” on air on January 10. He compared the “no-go zones” in Paris to Afghanistan, Iraq and Kashmir, India where “you see young men wearing Osama bin Laden T-shirts in a hookah shop.”

It was Fox host Sean Hannity, who was one of the first to popularize the urban myth, when on January 7 he said that in Paris “they have no-go zones. If you’re non-Muslim, you’re not allowed. Not police, not even fire department if there’s a fire. Sharia courts have been allowed to be established. Prayer rugs in just about every hotel.”

Fox host Jeanine Pirro welcomed “terrorism analyst” Steve Emerson, the founder of the Investigative Project on Terrorism in 1995, who described these shadowy Parisian zones as “sort of amorphous, they’re not contiguous necessarily, but they’re sort of safe havens.”

“And they’re places where the governments, like France, Britain, Sweden, Germany — they don’t exercise any sovereignty so you basically have zones where Sharia courts are set up, where Muslim density is very intense, where police don’t go in,” Emerson continued.

On Fox and Friends, host Brian Kilmeade, speaking on the Muslim population in France, asserted: “Nobody gets jobs, they don’t want to be French. They just want to live in Europe and take over the country.”

The channel then featured a satellite image of the French capital, which featured 8 highlighted areas described as “Muslim enclaves” that are responsible for “breeding radicals.”

The outrageous claims by Fox News not only attracted a lawsuit, they provided fodder for French humorists.

READ MORE: Muslims in fear: Anti-Islamist sentiments rise by 110% in France

Yann Barthès, the host of Le Petit Journal, showed video of a Fox guest telling Elisabeth Hasselbeck that some areas of Paris feel just as dangerous as Iran or Afghanistan.

Barthès took his camera crew to the streets of these so-called no-go zones where interviews with perplexed locals effectively undermined the Fox News reporting.