#muslimban

What Do Europeans Think About Muslim Immigration?

img_0254The majority of Europeans polled by a Chatham House survey of more than 10,000 people from 10 European states threw light on what people think about migration from mainly Muslim countries. It showed overwhelmingly that they want further Muslim immigration stopped. Majorities in all but two of the ten states agreed. It ranged from 71% in Poland, 65% in Austria, 53% in Germany and 51% in Italy to 47% in the UK and 41% in Spain. Those that disagreed with the idea failed to go over 32% (Spain) with the bulk in the 10-20% range. So while the press went full rage against Trump’s temporary ban it seems many Europeans agree with him. In Austria, Poland, Hungary, France and Belgium over 38% of respondents “strongly agreed” to stop more immigration. By  gender, age and education we see that the results show a skew. Males more for the proposal than women but over 50% for both. Only 18-29yo failed to have a majority but more in favour than not. The older  those surveyed the more in favour of the ban. Is it that they are bigoted fools or is it their experience on the planet that leads them to this conclusion. Those with less than a post grad diploma voted in the majority in favour while undergraduates and above only reached 48% but much higher than the 27% against. Rural towns were more in favour than city folk.

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UKIP MEP Nigel Farage said to the EU Parliament yesterday,

“I feel like I am attending a meeting of a religious sect here this morning. It’s as if the global revolution of 2016, Brexit, Trump, the Italian rejection of the referendum, has completely bypassed you.

You can’t face up to the fact that this bandwagon is going to roll across Europe in these elections in 2017. A lot of citizens now recognize this form of centralized government simply doesn’t work. … At the heart of it is a fundamental point: Mr. [name not recognized] this morning said, the people want more Europe.

They don’t. The people want less Europe. We see this again and again when people have referendums and they reject aspects of EU membership. But something more fundamental is going on out there. …. No doubt, many of you here will probably despise your own voters for what I am about to say because just last week, Chatham House, the reputable group, published a massive survey from 10 Europen states, and only 20% of people want immigration from Muslim countries to continue. Just 20%. … Which means your voters have a harder line position on this than Donald Trump, or myself, or frankly any party sitting in this Parliament. I simply cannot believe you are blind to the fact that even Mrs. Merkel has now made a u-turn and wants to send people back. Even Mr. Schulz thinks it is a good idea.

And the fact is, the Europen Union has no future at all in its current form. And I suspect you are in for as big a shock in 2017 as you were in 2016.”

I don’t buy the premise that this is all down to bigoted views. I honestly think that the sharp rise in poverty since 2009 is driving people’s fears of sustainable financial security. I wrote the same about Trump and why he’d win for over a year, despite being laughed at. Take Eurostat’s latest figures on poverty across the EU. Although there has been a minor improvement between 2013-14 across the EU-28 (mainly due to inter-EU transfers) many countries including Germany, Spain, Greece, France and Belgium saw poverty rates grow.

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This is what poverty looked like in 2005 and 2007 across EU. I added in the 2014 figures to show clearly how poverty has risen in EVERY country since that time. The UK has jumped from 16% to 23%. Italy from 20% to 28%. Germany 14% to 21%. France 13% to 18%. Is it any wonder right wing parties are gaining traction from socialist governments who think they are going to win the battle by sharing in the pain. Gimme a break. People are already bleeding but EU parliamentarians think it is just a flesh wound.

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However let us suppose that it is all down to racist, bigoted intolerance. If you were an asylum seeker why would you want to have the EU divvy you up into countries that ‘especially’ don’t want you period. Hungary held a referendum where c.95% of those that voted against forced immigration. What prospects would you have in Budapest when citizens are so open about their unwillingness to accept? Canada on the other hand believes diversity makes it stronger so why don’t EU countries subsidise Canada to take more if they think it is a great deal. A better use of the 90mn euro being proposed by Merkel to get those asylum seekers not in any danger to go home.

Should these citizens by punished for holding a negative view given what they see and experience in their daily lives? Then again don’t blame citizens for holding these views when governments downplay or try to hide facts surrounding terrorist attacks, rapes, sexual assaults and acts of violence committed by migrants. Yes, citizens commit crimes too but when German women are told to dress more appropriately to avoid attracting unsolicited attention or well-intentioned residents charged with violating privacy laws for releasing a video of migrant thugs kicking an innocent woman down subway stairs, the people will seek their own security first. German vigilantism is up sharp double digits because the authorities are too ashamed to admit what a failure their policy has been.

The German police have reported a significant increase in far-left violence nationwide in 2015, with politically motivated left-wing crimes jumping 18 percent to 9,600. The refugee influx is a root cause with far-right groups have reacting violently and far-left groups attacking them in response. In January this year 211 far-right extremists were arrested for hosting an anti-refugee rally in Leipzig complaining Chancellor Merkel is ruining their homeland after the cover up after the new year sexual assaults in Cologne.

The Interior Ministry revealed that 39,000 (+19%YoY) politically motivated crimes were committed in 2015, with 23,000 having a far right motive. Crimes against refugees have soared from 199 in 2014 to over 1,000 in 2015. German courts are also doling out multi €1,000+ fines for online racial taunts. Pegida’s founder Lutz Bachmann, was ordered to pay €9,600 for describing refugees as ‘cattle’

Of course not all asylum seekers are bad but it is in their long term best interests to push for more vigilance by governments to ensure the actions of a few bad apples doesn’t spoil the rest of those who really want to have a fresh start and give back to their community.

I (reluctantly) watched the Australian ABC Q&A program which is often a tax-payer funded melting-pot of regressive politics. Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie fired off at the Muslim activist Yassmin Abdel-Magied about how Sharia Law will never happen under her watch and that Australian law is all that matters. She also made points about why she supported Trump’s proposals. Now I am not really a big fan of Jacqui Lambie on most things but I thought she was spot on and the audience surprisingly cheered. Abdel-Magied tried to sound sanctimonious over Lambie’s improper understanding of Sharia law and her uneducated views on the treatment of women in Islamic culture but she was having none of it and closed with “stop playing the victim, your ban got lifted, get over it.”

Instead of taking the point to heart, Muslim leaders, academics and activists are demanding the ABC apologise for airing Lambie’s “racist, Islamophobic and crude” views on its Q&A program.  First of all Islam isn’t a race and to accuse the ABC of breaching its own standards (which is the norm) may I suggest they join the back of that long line.

Once again, victimology is never the way to go. If people want to change the aforementioned statistics of EU, America or Australia who show to be in favour of ‘vetting’, understand the cause. Whacking citizens for expressing concerns to deaf politicians is not the way to go. In Australia 18-C racial vilification laws have already shown how easy it is to abuse free speech. In Germany Merkel is cracking down on any form of ‘hate speech’ (as judged by the thought police). In Canada laws are being proposed to protect Muslims. After first passing a motion that condemns Islamophobia, last month, Iqra Khalid, a Member of Parliament (MP) from the governing Liberals, tabled Motion M-103 in the House of Commons. The motion demands that Islamophobia be treated as a crime without even bothering to define the offense. Hang on? What if Christianophobia is prevalent? Will Christians get the same rights if such hate crimes are committed against them? How is that diverse? How does that encourage equality by singling out one religion create tolerance? It beggars belief.

If tolerance and diversity are at the top of the list, where are these Islamic leaders trying to dissuade those who fear them?

You see there in lies the problem. Not only are citizens fearing job security they are now being silenced by acts of law to protest at where they see the problem coming from. As I wrote in ‘Staring at the dictator’  people are growing concerned about how to put food on the table. They see unhinged immigration with poor vetting a terrible recipe for helping them climb out of the trap they are in. The last thing they want is the odds cut. So before we point fingers let us get to grips with the ‘true’ state of the economy. I am willing to bet that if the world’s economy was in full swing, we wouldn’t hear a murmur about citizens wanting to ban particular immigrants.

Allowing the eyes to by-pass the brain on the way to the fingertips

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Society certainly brings out the best and worst in people. With social media more often than not it is the worst. The press narrative is bi-polar. The ability for rational thought has been utterly cast to the dustbin. Where can one find some balance? Social media is little more than an electronic version of Chinese whispers. Where one tweet taken out of context drives its own set of hashtags and flash mobs. Nowadays I disregard 95% of what I read. I end up doing my own reporting. Reading esoteric papers. Pouring through reams of looked over government data sets that no one pays attention to. It is a gold mine.  There is a reason why they don’t make a habit of publishing it – it is not politically consumable.

I had always held Trump would win the election. I was ridiculed and worse by some who refused to consider the facts. My assumption was completely devoid of what I thought of him or his policies. I banged on incessantly about the sorry state of the”economy” and how the headline figures espoused by so many Democrats masked increasing levels of poverty and inequality. They didn’t want to believe it. They only heard what they wanted to hear and only read what they wanted to read. Nothing has changed.

Scroll forward to the #muslimban. Yes, the seven countries nominated by Trump for the 3mth ban are predominantly Muslim. Could you deduce a large slug of the policy (even if not explicitly written) was targeted at vetting potential Islamic terrorists? Most certainly. Was it handled poorly? Without question. Yet why didn’t people show the same levels of guffaws when Obama put a ban on Iraqis attaining visas in 2011 for 6 months after the discovery of Al Qaeda terrorists among refugees? Effectively the same policy yet no protests and social media meltdowns. No one bats an eyelid that 16 countries ban Jews from traveling there. That must be acceptable because, well anything anti-Israel is. When George Bush signed in the Secure Fence Act of 2006 to prevent illegal immigration and drug trafficking who voted in favour? Senators Clinton and Obama. It seems that the ‘side’ is more important than the act. Regardless of what one thinks of the act, if you read the headlines you would deduce the ban was permanent. What is the underlying sentiment? Rasmussen Reports noted 57% of Americans supported Trump’s ban and 33% repudiated it. More for than against.

No one criticized the inaction of the Gulf States since the Arab Spring which collectively took no one in while they bashed any so called heartless governments in the West relentlessly to increase the intake in what amounted to bingo. Now the King of Saudi Arabia and the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi agreed with Trump’s request to support safe zones for refugees in the Middle East. Why couldn’t President Obama achieve the same amount of cooperation in his tenure?

The press is going out of its way to paint the Hitler narrative on Trump. I’d happily support the view that Trump hasn’t exactly helped himself by going full speed on the executive orders although in reality he is only fulfilling election promises in short order – walls, immigration, healthcare etc.  The appointment of Bannon as a national security advisor raises questions of governance. It is far from a conventional presidency and that spooks people. Yet I fail to see the Hitler narrative

The irony is that voters could have stopped this supposed dictator from seeking office if the incumbent party had revived the economic fortunes for the average Joe & Joanne Public and people not fallen for the bias in the polls and the mainstream media coverage that gave him no chance. He won the election against all the odds.

However when I read tweets calling for Trump’s assassination and celebrities threatening to blow up the White House or use their awards ceremonies to espouse their champagne socialist views I shake my head. Even politicians like Canada’s PM Justin Trudeau immediately stepped in to grab the limelight to arrest his declining popularity. Appealing to his “diversity is our strength” line. Now he deals with a tragic shooting in a Quebec mosque. While much is to be learnt from that attack, sometimes not even diversity is enough to stop terrorism.

We live in a troubled world. Wars, geopolitical risks and a world economy on its last legs. There are people that aren’t necessarily racist or bigoted but scared. They worry each day how they can put food on the table yet get patronized by governments exercising moral authority in their face. They worry how a government that can’t even help them recover lost fortunes and new opportunities can somehow accommodate 10s of thousands of new migrants. They feel outraged when asylum seekers get more benefits and better conditions than they do. It is purely rational.

Arguing over what motivates terrorists and whether intolerance leads to the inevitable atrocities is not the point. Sure, the press ham it up that way and the twitterati goes ballistic with its moral posturing. However they are missing the point. The average Joe isn’t a racist or a bigot. He is just plain unconvinced and losing faith fast. Trump won because people like Joe had had enough of the lies and the platitudes which changed nothing. In fact they have seen their position only get worse. He is not a perfect politician and his policies and methods leave a lot to be desired but make no mistake that 64mn Americans voted for him to do something radical.

Social media beings might exaggerate every move he makes but believe me that creating more noise in media circles will have the exact opposite effect. I would argue that many do not possess a mere fraction of the story yet feel compelled to write a complete mastery on the subject which in a nutshell make them no better than a misguided tweet from the President. As the title says – too many are letting their eyes by-pass the brain straight to their finger tips. The problem is much broader.