Please forgive me for this controversial title but it is how a number of people feel, and with good reason, and I now have your attention! It is difficult to know where to begin but let’s try, starting with the indisputable fact that in recent years Europe (South, West, North but not East) have experienced an influx of refugees from war torn areas in the Middle East and this has had untoward consequences.
I have to confess this is a subject that comes under the “where angels fear to tread” category, and it isn’t helped that while I know more than most, I still don’t know nearly enough. There have been a number of triggers to this posting and when I read on my Facebook feed yesterday something from “Hope Not Hate”, inviting me to sign a petition condemning the much vilified Katie Hopkins, who incidentally I am no apologist for, I decided I needed to get off my chest things that have been weighing heavily for a long time.
“Remove Katie Hopkins’ platform. Two years ago, Katie Hopkins said: “Show me pictures of coffins, show me bodies floating in water, play violins and show me skinny people looking sad. I still don’t care.” Now, she’s travelled to Sicily to cheerlead for the ‘Defend Europe’ mission, a group of confirmed far-right activists who plan to endanger lives by blocking NGOs trying to rescue refugees in the Mediterranean. Katie Hopkins will use her online column to support and defend dangerous and life-threatening behaviour. We believe the Mail has a duty not to amplify far-right activity that could lead to the loss of lives.” While I am these days not a fan of Hope Not Hate (its stance on abortion was for me the last straw) I recall when the issue of desperate refugees fleeing across the Mediterranean and dying in the process and then being turned away by my own country, especially minors, like many I was grateful for it raising the issue, even though it begged all sorts of questions of what to do for the best, which are still being asked.
I must confess that up to then I was not aware of this latest Katie activity, although you can find out more if you go to YouTube, and I have never heard of “Defend Europe”. Going to their website, I read: “Right now so called “humanitarian” NGOs are smuggling hundred thousands of illegal migrants to Europe and are endangering the security and future of our continent. They are the ones who are responsible for the mass drowning of thousand of Africans in the Mediterranean. But we are no longer looking away. We will do something against it… Every week, every day, every hour – ships packed with illegal Immigrants are flooding into European waters. An invasion is taking place. This massive immigration is changing the face of our continent. We are losing our safety and our way of life and there is a danger we Europeans will become a minority in our own European homelands. We want to start an identitarian search-and-rescue (SAR) mission in July on the Libyan coast. Our goal is to document the doings of the NGOs, expose their collaboration with the human smugglers, and intervene if they do something illegal. We will reach out to the Libyan Coast Guard and offer them our help as a recon ship. Our goal is to step in where our politicians are failing and to do what is necessary to stop the deadly illegal migration into Europe. If we get an SOS signal, we will of course save the people in distress — and hand them over to the Libyan Coast Guard to make sure that they are brought to the closest harbour, according to international law. We will not enter territorial waters without their permission! Defend Europe will make the Mediterrenean Sea more safe. An additional ship is able to answer SOS calls and our “No Way” policy for illegal immigration will discourage human traffickers and NGOs to lure people into the sea. The closing of the Mediterranean route is the only way to Defend Europe and save lives. The only way to get Defend Europe started is with your help!”
While I was doing my YouTube search I came across a video by someone else I had never heard off, titled “Europe’s Last Chance” that laid it out squarely what is happening in Europe as a consequence of taking in this influx of refugees and its links to hard line Islam. In another clip about some of what happens after the migrants land in Europe, I read: “Today, I visited a train station in Paris that ships in hundreds of “Syrian refugees” every day. Of course, as I found out, these people are neither “Syrian” nor are they “refugees”: they are North African economic migrants, and they are flooding France. This is what the media won’t show you.” This brings me to something else: I attended two weeks back a conference to do with Islam and Muslims aimed at Christian missionary types who work with Muslims. Two of the themes were understanding better what is going on with respect to Islam and our reaching out to Muslims in a winsome and friendly manner. One of the highlights for me was a presentation by Sam Solomon (who also can be found on You Tube), an Imam and Islam scholar, who had converted from Islam. In it he laid out what was happening in Europe as a result of a large influx of mainly Muslim refugees and it was frightening and in line with what these aforementioned video presentations show. What is of particular concern is countries like Germany, France and Sweden seem to have capitulated to radical Islam that fails to respect the customs and laws of the country. For the militant Islamist, emboldened by their increased numbers, influence and acceptance, the agenda is clear even if craftily hidden – the full imposition of Sharia Law and the takeover if Europe by Islam. Sam’s presentation was made even more poignant given that it was based on evidence and media reports in the public domain.
The purpose of this post is not so much to argue who is right and wrong in these matters. I have attempted to do so before and no doubt will touch on these matters again. Rather I wish to lay out my concerns. It seems in today’s increasingly polarized society, all will share some but depending on where one stands, not the same ones, and few will share all, yet all these points are in my view important:
- There is a huge issue, even a crisis, because of the large number of refugees coming into Europe due to Middle East conflicts, and notably the majority are military aged men. The crisis involves all countries caught up with this, and they are unable to cope.
- There is a whole host of reasons for the conflicts and many problems have been as a result of bad decision making. While we must not dwell on the past, we need to understand what is happening in the present and do the right thing in the future.
- There is a need for a compassionate response but it needs to be based on wisdom and what can be done realistically. Letting in the wrong people and keeping at bay the right, cannot be right. Of course we must rescue those who will otherwise perish at sea, despite the scams that involve the vulnerable and the gullible.
- I doubt whether we can take in other than exceptional cases without more infra-structure and tighter controls so people do not abuse hospitality and it is the most needy that are let in, for clearly most who come in now do not fall in that category.
- Unvetted refugees, some adopting a hard line version of Islam, should not be let into Europe. There should be tighter controls. Islamic terror has to stop and peace and security returned. No go areas, immigrants breaking the law and acting anti-socially, and getting away with it, adopting Sharia law etc. has to end.
- The pernicious situation where we take in Muslim refugees, not subject to genocide or willing to adapt to western norms and we do not take in non UN helped Christian refugees who are subject to genocide and will adapt to Western norms needs to stop.
- The first priority is to achieve stability in the Middle East with displaced persons returning home as soon as is practicable.
- Pressure should be put on our leaders for better foreign and domestic policy, based on a true weighing of the facts.
- While hatred to “others” whatever their status: religious, ethnic, immigration etc. is unacceptable, neither is shutting down of free speech or hiding of essential facts, which is what is happening.
- Things are not always what they seem and there is in all probability a hidden hand that is manipulating a humanitarian disaster for its own sinister purposes, and refugees are the bait.
- The best model for taking in immigrants is as guests based on Christian hospitality and a sense of national identity and a commitment to “loving thy neighbor”, but as with any guests they need to respect their hosts and not abuse the host’s generosity.
- None of this is easy to take in and the issues are extremely complex. We begin by recognizing this and that if we keep on taking polarized positions the outcome will be catastrophic.