By Soumya Sundar Chowdhury
Migration is not a new phenomena in human history. It existed long before the borders started defining human identity. But on September 2, 2015, humanity has been crushed under a horrid agony, when the picture of a three-year-old Syrian refugee, Aylan Kurdi’s lifeless body surfaced on the seashore of Turkish coastal town, Bodrum, and made its way to social media. The European State heads are reluctant to absorb the wave of refugees from the gulf-states in recent times. So no wonder, they suffered the first blow of public wrath for their lack of human apathy.
Truth be told: recent geopolitical events have compounded the crisis and Europe’s wishy-washy stand on this issue has drawn an unfair criticism.
Issue One: European economy is horribly stretched with the Greek economic meltdown. Unlike the United States, European economy never really enjoyed the rebound from the recession hit financial condition of earlier years of this decade. Major European countries are already absorbing huge influx of jobless people from Eastern Europe. Economies of Eastern European countries are in shambles. The Chinese economic meltdown has augmented the problem further.
Issue Two: Europe is still coming to terms with the fact that Islamic radicalism among the European Muslims is so wide-spread that close to forty percent of the Islamic State terrorists, i.e. around 30,000, came from the European countries. Social scientists around world blamed the inability of European state machineries, and inherent xenophobia of European society, for failing to assimilate Muslims in their socio-economic space. At the same time, it cannot be denied that Muslims are deeply committed to their religion, sometimes overly protective, which is reflected in a recent pew research survey.
Muslim refugees, who have entered European countries over the years and whose children stayed in ghettos to protect their religious identity, remained uneducated, unemployed, and reluctant to adapt to European culture. Despite having diverse regional identities, which is connected by a religious identity, Muslims around the world try to project a monolithic cultural identity, which resembles grossly the cultural aspects of seventh century Arabs. Close to eighty percent of the fifty million Muslims in Europe live on government aid, which implies that the European taxpayers bear the burden for the socio-economic well-being of European Muslims. Despite the alienation of European Muslims, demand for implementation of Sharia law from the fringe elements has given European State heads sleepless nights.
The US has 11 million illegal immigrants from Latin America alone and a lot of them live in an abysmally oppressed condition but they hardly ever indulge in organized terrorism. 2.4 million Indians, predominantly Hindus or 20 million Chinese/Asians are hardly ever in tussle with American culture, while retaining most of their regional cultural identity intact. It is unheard of that Hindus would demand that Wal-Mart keep beef in a separate shelf than other meat, or want to go to office in a dhoti or saree. But Muslim individual’s resistance to serve alcohol or listening to harmless Peppa Pig song due their religious sentiments is common in non-Muslim countries. And Europe is no exception to this. On top of that, the ISIS and the al-Qaeda are already asking its followers to infiltrate European countries, camouflaging as refugees. Influx of people from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bahrain posing as war-affected Syrians have made the situation even more complex. Besides that, Europe is already facing other social issues related to the Muslim immigrants regularly. A staggering 84% of refugee Muslims or their progeny are perpetrators in cases of meteoric rise of rape in Sweden (second highest in the world), as suggested by a Gatestone Institute Report.
It will be a gross injustice to the vast majority of peaceful people among 1.6 billion Muslims around the world, if we stereotype them as radicals or anti-socials. But the current refugee crisis involves more than few million Muslims, which has the potential to engender a demographic shift. The European leaders cannot deny the common issues associated with a large Muslim demography.
Truth be told: despite the unnecessary mindless political correctness of sanitized media discourse, nobody associates freedom of speech, freedom of religion, equality of genders, freedom of attire, freedom of sexual orientation with the large Muslim demography. The truth is that the majority of these threats are real. It’s not just 250,000 Muslims actively working in more than 1000 terror organizations such as ISIS, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram etc. around the world are posing the threat of fundamentalism. The pew research organization came out with a report on Muslims which shows that the majority of them believe in Sharia Law and extreme punishment for moral defection such as adultery and apostasy. The report shows how a large number of Muslims actually considers extreme punishments in these cases as the right thing. This shows how extremism and intolerance is deep-rooted in an average Muslim’s thought-process.
Issue Three: The relatively affluent countries in the Arab region have completely absolved themselves of their duty in this crisis. Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, UAE literally washed their hands off the whole issue. Additionally, a lot of observers have also pointed out that Saudi Arabia and Qatar’s harsh treatment of their legally immigrated low-skilled workers could be linked to the aversion of refugees from Syria and other war-affected countries. Though Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon have absorbed a huge number of refugees, they failed to rehabilitate them, which makes this wave move towards the European nations. In fact, Aylan’s whole family was living in Turkey for last three years in the refugee camps, before trying to venture in Europe. In recent times Turkey has refused to absorb the Yazidi refugees fleeing from the ISIS persecution in Syria, and Iraq. The same phenomenon might be observed in case of Bangladesh and Indonesia in the case of Rohingya Muslims. Non-responsive neighboring countries must share equal blame for this tragedy.
Finally, the European state heads are confused in choosing between their duties towards a humanitarian crisis and the future security of their citizens.
Do the European countries deserve to be flayed unilaterally?
Soumya Sundar Chowdhury is a Civil Engineer by profession. He completed undergraduate degree in Construction Engineering at Jadavpur University and graduate studies at West Virginia University in Civil Engineering. An avid follower of Indian and world politics, his opinions are personal and mostly right-leaning. He tweets at: @sundarsoumya
Disclaimer: The views expressed here are author’s own and don’t necessarily reflect the views of Café Dissensus Everyday.
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