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The Death of Europe?
By The Catholic Reporter, February 12, 2018:
In 1973, Jean Raspail, a well-traveled and cultured Frenchman, published Le Camp des saints (The Camp of the Saints), a dystopian novel envisioning a Muslim armada invading a culturally incapacitated Europe. Fifty years later, Europe is being invaded by an armada not of warships, but of rickety wooden and plastic boats, operated by human traffickers, bringing tens of thousands of immigrants from the Middle East, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Africa. These victims of war and profound economic hardship are creating social chaos throughout Europe. Social, educational, employment and housing services have become overextended, vicious crimes including rape are on the rise, and incidents of terrorism have increased.
This mass immigration has been encouraged by political elites in every Western nation in the name of human rights. Critics of immigration, even the mildest, find themselves being attacked in the press, by the established political class and by activists as racists and xenophobes. As a consequence, honest debate about immigration has become politically toxic.
More is at stake than the breakdown of social services, law and order, or employment or educational opportunities for these immigrants. The most serious question is whether these immigrants, coming from vastly different societies, are able to integrate into Western culture.
Any answer to this question rests ultimately on the more profound question, “What is Western culture?” Tragically, core Western values based on Judeo-Christian principles, the rule of law, equality of opportunity, rational discourse, religious liberty and scientific progress have been replaced by a culture of guilt in which the West is defined as racist, imperialist and oppressive. This culture of guilt is most pronounced in Germany, still grappling with its history of Nazism and genocide.
Germans are not alone in this culture of guilt, however. In England, students are taught about the ill consequences of empire and imperialism; in France, young children are reminded of the evils of French colonialism; and in Australia, young and old alike are inundated with exhibits, textbooks and politicians who denounce the destruction of aboriginal culture by white settlers. In the United States, the study of history has become the study of black slavery, racial segregation, occupation of indigenous lands, and imperialism in the Mexican-American War and the Spanish-American War.
As a result, for all the talk by European and American political leaders of the need for social, economic and cultural assimilation of newly arriving immigrants from societies not sharing Western values, the political class throughout Europe, Australia and the United States derides the very culture that they are saying immigrants should assimilate into. The obvious question is: If Western culture is so bad, why expect immigrants to accept it?
Douglas Murray cogently argues in The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam (2017) that Europe is in crisis and dying.
Europe in a State of Terror
The American public has a sense of the crisis in Europe through reports of Islamic jihadist terrorist acts in Belgium, France, Italy, Holland and England. Just in the summer of 2016, attacks throughout Europe were so numerous they were difficult to track. In mid-July 2016, Mahomed Lahuaiej-Bouhlel, a 31-year-old Tunisian man, drove a rented truck into a crowd in Nice, killing 86 people. The following Monday, Mohammed Riyad, a 17-year-old asylum seeker, attacked with an ax and a knife, fellow passengers on a train in Bavaria. The next day Mohamed Boufarkouch stabbed a French mother and her three daughters because of her “immodest” dress. Just a few days later, a young Iranian immigrant in Munich killed nine people in a shooting spree that began at a McDonald’s restaurant.
The bloodshed was not over, though. The day after the Munich attack, a Syrian asylum seeker exploded a bomb outside a wine bar in Ansbach, Bavaria. If terrorist attacks can be weighed beyond just numbers killed, one of the most horrible attacks occurred when shortly after the Munich attack, two 19-year-old killers—Adel Kermiche and Abdel Malik Petitjean—entered a church in Rouen, France during Mass and took nuns and congregation members hostage while they slit a priest’s throat. Smiling, they watched the priest bleed to death, chanting slogans that ended with “Go Away Satan.”
These attacks in a single month in July 2016 might have indicated to political leaders that multicultural assimilation was not working. Instead, while leaders condemned these atrocities and suggested that Western values were under attack, politicians emphasized that more needed to be done to provide jobs and educational opportunities to young immigrants. Following the Munich train attack, German Green Party official Renate Künast questioned why the police on the train had killed the attacker instead of shooting to injure him. As politicians have dithered since July 2016, heinous terrorist attacks have occurred in Berlin, Paris, London, Stockholm, Manchester and Barcelona, including several relying on vehicles to mow down pedestrians.
One of the problems faced by the political class was that many of the terrorists were raised in Europe. In a secularized Europe, how could anyone kill in the name of God? Take the response by some after the 2015 attack on the editorial offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which left the editor and 11 others dead at the hands of two gunmen who claimed to be “avenging Allah.” The magazine had dared to print cartoons of the Prophet.
The brutal slaying of journalists rightfully shocked the French public. After all, freedom of the press and artistic freedom are central to Western democracy. Still, there were those in the press and the French government who suggested that the editors—secularists and atheists—should have been more circumspect in their insults to a religious minority in France, even though the magazine’s prior satirical depictions of the Pope had drawn little criticism. The critics implied that the editors of Charlie Hebdo shared some of the blame for what happened to them.
Making Excuses for Fanatical Killers
New Nation, an English publication, made exactly this point. The editors asserted the right of the free press, but quickly noted that the French government itself had warned the editors about insulting Muslims by publishing “crude caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.” New Nation quoted the Foreign Minister of France in 2012 as asking, “Is it really sensible or intelligent to pour oil on fire?” The editors urged the public to step forward “bravely to assert that religious hatred is not journalism and the publication of the weekly is harming France’s image.” Otherwise, the editorial admonished, pay the consequences: “Fanatical journalists must be ready to face the fanatics,” they warned. The editors declared themselves for tolerance, then concluded, “But the journalists who have joined this noble profession must also think that everybody cannot be expected to be all tolerance. We firmly believe journalism is not for those who bear and spread hatred especially against rival religions. So let us not talk about free expression. Absolute such freedom will simply invite absolute violence.”
Christians in Western Europe and the United States understood the point about responsible journalism and artistic expression, but suggesting that the editors of Charlie Hebdo somehow got what they deserved is a step too far. The problem that confronted the political class and pundits trying to explain away terrorism was that innocent people were being killed just because they were Westerners. It did not help the multicultural cause that some of these terrorist attacks were perpetrated by nationals and not recent asylum seekers.
Following 2017 attacks at the Brussels airport and the Maelbeek metro station, it turned out that three of the attackers were Belgian nationals. Some blamed the attacks on bad housing in the Molenbeek district of Brussels where these nationals had resided. Others suggested that the attacks were the result of a history of Belgian colonialism. Yves Goldstein, chief of staff of the minister-president in Belgium’s capital city, insisted that it was wrong to blame the attacks on Islam, but blamed people like himself for failing to prevent the rising radicalism among Muslim youth. Goldstein noted that friends of his who taught in the predominantly Muslim areas of Molenbeek and Schaerbeek told him that “90 percent of their students” described the terrorists as “heroes.”
Belgian Security Minister Jan Jambon reinforced this perception of Muslim support of terrorists when he reported that “a significant section of the Muslim community danced when the attacks took place.” When he came under attack by members of the parliament for his report, he replied that he had information from several Belgian security sources.
Other surveys showed that many European Muslims viewed the concept of a free press differently than might be expected by multiculturalists. Following the first publication of Mohammed cartoons in 2006, later republished in France, a British poll showed that 79 percent of British Muslims believed that the publishers of the cartoons should be prosecuted. Another 68 percent felt that anyone who insulted Islam in any way should be prosecuted. Almost 20 percent in this same poll said they respected Osama bin Laden. In 2015, following the Charlie Hebdo massacre, 27 percent of British Muslims expressed sympathy for the “motives of the attackers.” Nearly a fourth said they believed violence against people who publish images of Mohammed can be justified.
Migrants and Crime
Europe faces more than a problem of terrorism. The flood of immigrants has increased crime rates, including rapes. Government officials have tried to downplay these problems by not releasing crime reports and keeping them from the press, especially on incidents of rape. Throughout the 2000s it was an open secret that gangs of immigrant youth, specifically those from the Middle East, were attacking women and young boys. These attacks occurred in refugee camps and on the streets of European cities. Even before the floodgates were opened in Germany by Chancellor Angela Merkel, sexual assaults had become a problem.
In 2014, reports of rape by immigrants in Germany began to seep out. Victims included a 20-year-old woman in Munich who was raped by a 30-year-old Somali asylum seeker; a 55-year-old woman in Dresden raped by a 30-year-old Moroccan; a 17-year-old girl in Straubing raped by a 23-year-old Iraqi asylum seeker; a 21-year-old German woman near Stuttgart raped by two Afghanistan asylum seekers; and a 25-year-old woman in Stralsund raped by a 28-year-old Eritrean asylum seeker.
These attacks coincided with rising sexual assaults in refugee centers which were unable to provide separate accommodations for women. Women’s activist groups complained about the increase in rapes and sexual assaults, to little avail. Reports of forced prostitution in the camps also emerged. In many cases rapes and sexual assaults were covered up.
Local police deliberately covered up a rape of a 13-year-old Muslim girl in Detmold. Only an investigative report by a regional paper disclosed the case. The investigation revealed that local police had routinely covered up assaults involving immigrants. It turned out that there were countless other assaults reported in major cities across the country.
The attacks became so prevalent that Bavarian authorities began warning parents to tell their daughters to be careful in how they dress, avoiding revealing tops or blouses, short skirts or tight shorts because they might lead to misunderstandings with newly arrived immigrants. In one Bavarian town, Mering, police discouraged parents from allowing their children to go outside alone. Local women were told not to go to the train station unaccompanied.
The events in Cologne on New Year’s Eve 2015, however, could not be suppressed for long. Gangs of immigrant men up to 2,000 in number assaulted and robbed approximately 1,200 women in the main square outside the central railway station and cathedral in Cologne. Hushed up at first by authorities, the assault spree turned out not to be an isolated event.
Other German cities, from northern cities such as Hamburg to Stuttgart in the south, experienced attacks on women. In Hamburg, police received complaints from 351 women, including 218 reports of sexual assault, on New Year’s Eve in 2015. The authorities only admitted the extent of the attacks when videos and photographic evidence from these scenes appeared on social media. German authorities, much like their counterparts in the United Kingdom and other Western European countries, did not want to identify the ethnic or national origin of the assailants.
The Response to Migrant Sex Assaults
In response to public outrage over these assaults, government authorities launched programs to educate immigrant males about how to treat women. In Norway, volunteer classes were offered to immigrants on how to treat women. The German government announced in 2016 that it was offering asylum seekers language classes and employment classes, along with trying to teach mostly Muslim immigrants, as the Washington Post put it, “the joy of sex.” The German Federal Center for Health Education created a web- site on sex education targeted at newly arrived immigrants, specifically Syrians, Iraqis and other Muslim young men, to instruct males about Western sexual norms. The sex education website, costing $136,000, provided highly graphic diagrams and images outlining everything from first-time sex to how to perform more advanced sex acts.
Meanwhile, German cities picked up the public campaign for sex education. Munich officials placed cartoons at public pools warning immigrants not to grope women in bikinis. In other Bavarian cities, classes were funded instructing immigrants on how to correctly approach German women. These efforts, however, drew protests from social justice activists who accused the programs of stereotyping immigrants and Muslims.
In 2017, German authorities announced that they were setting up “safe zones” for women to protect them from sexual assaults during the New Year’s Eve celebration. The Berlin New Year’s Eve event spokeswoman in a German national broadcast assured the public that “There will be three or four [German Red Cross] helpers who are specially trained and can look after women who feel harassed or threatened.”
While sex education efforts were being launched, albeit with criticism, to address the problem of sexual assaults, Germany and other Western European countries were experiencing rising crime rates caused by newly arrived immigrants. In Germany, the crime rates proved shocking. A German government report, picked up by the press, showed that in 2014 and 2015, 90 percent of the ten-point increase in violent crime came from refugees.
The Reality of Multiculturalism
In short, German authorities—much like the political class in other Western European nations—decided that the best way to address rising crime rates and sexual assaults was to instruct migrants about the true meaning of multiculturalism and to tell Western women to be more sensitive in how they dress, while establishing specific “rape free” zones at certain times of the year. No consideration was given to stopping the flow of immigrants or making cities entirely “rape free” zones year-round.
The ideology of multiculturalism steadily erodes the foundations of traditional European culture, already weakened by politicians, activists, pundits and academics who decry the history of the West as one of racism, xenophobia, colonialism and imperialism. Average Europeans confronted with the reality of terrorism, rising crime rates and sexual assaults are not buying into the multicultural project. They are saying, “Enough is enough.”
Grudgingly, German politicians are starting to listen. The new coalition government recently reached a tentative agreement to cap the number of refugees at 220,000 per year and strictly limit the number of family members allowed to join refugees in Germany. The negotiations were probably spurred by the shocking December 27, 2017 stabbing murder of a 15-year-old German girl allegedly by her ex-boyfriend, a teenage Afghan migrant, in a drugstore in the sleepy southwestern German town of Kandel.
Americans should not delude themselves that Europe’s disastrous experience with large-scale migration can’t happen in the U.S. Mass immigration from violent, primitive countries is taking its toll on crime victims in the U.S. as well, and as in Europe the political class is extremely reluctant to acknowledge and fix the problem. It will take determined leaders and voters to stem the tide.
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