Sunday, October 22, 2006

Europe's Immigration Quagmire

Ayaan Hirsi Ali wrote in LA Times In Africa, we sometimes used animals to say things on sensitive issues to avoid discussing the messenger instead of the message. So I shall use the ostrich and the owl to sketch the two most important positions on immigration and pluralism in Europe.

The view of things in Europe today, as the ostrich sees them, is bright.

But it is hard to see everything, with your head stuck in the sand.
He sees an open market of 450 million people with an amazing potential. He sees a thriving economy and the free movement of people, goods, money and services. Immigration, to the ostrich, can only be viewed as an opportunity for an aging native population. Borders are better open than closed. Islam is a faith like Christianity, and Muslims shall adapt their religion to life in Europe.
They seem to be expecting Europe to adapt to them.
According to the ostrich, very soon there shall be a European Islam, signs of which are already visible in the young women in tight jeans; high heels; black, sleeveless, tight tops and matching head scarves, all designed by Prada. This Prada Islam will replace the old rural one and function as a vaccine against the Wahhabi Islam of the Saudis.
A vaccine is certainly needed, but is Prada the answer?
.... According to the ostrich, the wealthy natives should stop whining about the backwardness of immigrants and concentrate on the benefits. The ostrich points to the nurses, nannies, construction workers, grocers, bag carriers, cleaners, factory workers and a host of other jobs natives won't do but are necessary to keep the economy going.
We need to send them some Mexicans, who just want jobs, and who don't want to impose Sharia law where they move.
.... Then there's the owl, which is a night bird and gets, more often, a glimpse of the dark side of things. Europe is healthy and wealthy, but the owl worries that it may not be so wise.... The old owl sees how poor migrants are exploited by cruel employers who provide little or no pay and hire and fire the migrants at will. The owl can't help but notice that even after the recent amnesty, Spain has an estimated 1 million illegal immigrants. Britain has roughly half a million. France, 200,000 to 400,000, if you trust the French.
Who is foolish enough to trust the French.
I think there are more. Germany has about 1 million.... The owl sees that Islam is not Christianity and that not all Muslims understand or want to share in any European future based on European values of freedom, tolerance and an attitude of live and let live.

The owl sadly looks on as poor kids are taught to view themselves as victims, and the society in which they live as the enemy. He can't help but notice that Muslim migrants are receptive to the seduction of the Islamist movement. Even worse, there are now natives converting to this brand of totalitarianism. Nor can the owl ignore the growth of the extreme right-wing movements and parties. He fears that the debate on pluralism in Europe will be hijacked by two uncompromising extremes: whites' power fascism and Islamic fascism.

The owl thinks that the ostrich is right: We should always look on the bright side of life. But he also thinks we should be careful not to get delusional.... The combined vision of the ostrich and the owl is indeed possible in Europe, but it requires a great deal of willpower, leadership and, above all, the recognition that tolerating oppressive cultures and encouraging more mass migration from Islamic countries often hurts precisely the people we seek to help. A misguided vision brought Europe to its current predicament; an idealistic vision convinced of the inherent superiority of enlightened values over the values of oppressive cultures, a vision steeped in individual rights, the rule of law and the equality of men and women can help guide Europe out of it.

Blue Crab blogged Ayaan Hirsi Ali, lately come to live in the US, has a cautionary tale in the Los Angeles Times that is yet another Sunday 'must read'. She delivers a parable of sorts, illustrating the two world views of uncontrolled immigration and an unassimilated minority.

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