Let me see if I can get this straight. Millions of oppressed, dispossessed Muslims have risked their lives fleeing the Middle East and North Africa.
They are mostly victims of Islamic regimes from a part of the world where democracy is virtually unknown (Israel aside). They are escaping sectarianism, persecution, civil war, anarchy, corruption and starvation.None of them want to go to other Islamic countries. Why would they, when Islam represents all that they’re trying to get away from?
Besides, hardly any Islamic regimes offer them refuge. With the honourable exceptions of Lebanon and Jordan, most Islamic countries – including some that are fabulously wealthy – appear impervious to the suffering of their co-religionists.No, the place these Islamic refugees want to be is Europe – Western Europe, to be precise. And what attracts them there? Presumably freedom, for a start.
Western Europe is democratic. People actually elect their governments. The rule of law is enforced not by religious zealots but by courts that apply principles of fairness and impartiality.In Europe, people’s prospects don’t depend on having been born into the right sex, religious sect or clan. They enjoy civil rights – the right to dress the way they want, to vote, to speak their minds, to have educational opportunities, to drive cars and enter into romantic relationships without fear of being murdered in “honour” killings.
And presumably these refugees are also attracted to capitalism, because more than any other “ism” it gives them the greatest chance to fulfil their human potential.So, having been drawn to this benevolent part of the world where people enjoy freedom, opportunity and prosperity, what do they do?
A large number of them, it seems, immediately want to replicate the conditions that they’ve just fled from. This is the bit that I just don’t get.As events in Germany on New Year’s Eve showed, the first impulse of many young Islamic men is to abuse the hospitality extended to them.
Some, of course, go much further than orchestrated sex attacks on young women. They want to murder the infidels who have given them shelter and succour.Things just don’t add up here. Why would anyone flee a cruel and repressive society, then seek to undermine the democratic institutions of their host country so that it might become another Muslim theocracy? How perverse is that?
They say Islam isn’t to blame for the barbaric acts carried out in its name, but that’s only partly true.Yes, many Muslims respect Western institutions and want only to live in peace in the countries that have accepted them. They understand that freedom to practise their religion is one thing; the right to impose it on their host society is quite another. These Muslims are welcome.
But Islam cannot be exonerated of responsibility for the mayhem and slaughter in the Middle East, nor for the creeping contamination of Europe. The tenets of Islam provide a theological framework that enables groups like the Taleban, Al Qaeda and Isis to flourish.Apologists say that what these groups do is a perversion of Islam, but they are all part of the Islamic tradition. They didn’t spring out of a vacuum.
There are lessons here for New Zealand. Our natural impulse as a humane, liberal society is to take pity on Islamic asylum-seekers and give them refuge. But we can’t ignore what’s happened in Germany, where young Islamic men have repaid their host country’s generosity by abusing its young women.There is ample evidence that male Islamists can’t handle the sexual freedom of liberal western societies. Their view of females as inferior, an attitude sanctioned by Islamic law, becomes fused with desire for the women they see walking in the streets wearing makeup and revealing clothing.
It’s a poisonous mix: one part old-fashioned lust, one part repressive religious zealotry that teaches them to regard such women as whores who deserve to be punished.Closer to home, we’ve seen the trouble caused in Australia by young Middle Eastern men with a strong sense of entitlement and an obvious resentment of their adopted country. Large groups of young Muslim men on the loose in Western society almost always spell trouble.
It must surely be only a matter of time before even tolerant, liberal Europeans get provoked to the point where they rise up in retaliation and defence of their own values. So far the resistance is coming mainly from the ugly Far Right, but it may not stay that way.We in New Zealand, as is so often the case, have the good fortune to be able observe all this from a safe distance and absorb the lessons. But will we?