by Hugh Fitzgerald
The other day the New York Times published a story about how Danes are souring on Muslim immigrants, and how some feel guilty about it:
Johnny Christensen, a stout and silver-whiskered retired bank employee, always thought of himself as sympathetic to people fleeing war and welcoming to immigrants. But after more than 36,000 mostly Muslim asylum seekers poured into Denmark over the past two years, Mr. Christensen, 65, said, “I’ve become a racist.”
He believes these new migrants are draining Denmark’s cherished social-welfare system but failing to adapt to its customs. “Just kick them out,” he said, unleashing a mighty kick at an imaginary target on a suburban sidewalk. “These Muslims want to keep their own culture, but we have our own rules here and everyone must follow them.”
When Christensen says “I’ve become a racist,” he has internalized the false charge made by Muslims, and their willing collaborators, that those who are sensibly anxious about Islam are “racists.” Since that scare-word automatically consigns one to the outer darkness, when even perfectly intelligent people with perfectly reasonable grievances turn that word on themselves, it is clear that something is amiss. Mr. Christensen needs to be unapologetic for his views, and he should start by watching his language: Islam is not a race, antipathy to Muslims does not constitute “racism.” Leave that word alone.
If Mr. Christensen wishes to feel guilty, he ought to feel guilty only about what future generations of Danes will inherit: a country which, because of the numbers of Muslims allowed in during Mr. Christensen’s time, will be far more unpleasant, expensive, and physically dangerous for native Danes than it might otherwise have been.
As the Times story notes, “Denmark, a small and orderly nation with a progressive self-image, is built on a social covenant: In return for some of the world’s highest wages and benefits, people are expected to work hard and pay into the system. Newcomers must quickly learn Danish — and adapt to norms like keeping tidy gardens and riding bicycles.”
But just look at how the Times reporter then slants the story at every point: “The center-right government has backed harsh measures targeting migrants, hate speech has spiked, and the anti-immigrant Danish People’s Party is now the second largest in Parliament.”
“Harsh measures targeting migrants,” “hate speech has spiked,” “anti-immigrant party.” It all sounds so terrible, until you ask a few questions.
What “harsh measures” are these? Apparently the “harshest” measure, passed in January, empowers the Danish authorities to confiscate valuables from new arrivals, both Muslim and non-Muslim, to offset the cost of settling them. It has seldom been enforced, and does not apply to the first $1,500 a migrant possesses.
Why exactly is this considered “harsh”? Should migrants not be expected to contribute, when they are capable of doing so? After all, they arrived uninvited, are immediately the recipients of a cornucopia of expensive benefits, and these benefits now flowing to them were paid for by generations of Danish taxpayers, who thought they were providing for poorer members of their own, that is Danish, society.
Is it “harsh” to require immigrants to pass exams in Danish? At present, only 72%, or a little more than 2/3, manage to learn even elementary Danish. Is it “harsh” to make immigrants take a citizenship exam, requiring them have studied the laws and mores of the Danes, given that they have the great good fortune to have been admitted to this peaceful pleasant land? Is it wrong to require immigrants to study the history of Denmark, since they have decided they’ve come to Denmark to stay? If the goal is to integrate these foreigners, the free courses and tests required will only further that goal.
And why are these putatively “harsh” measures described as “targeting immigrants,” rather than, in less loaded words, described simply as “applying to immigrants”? Since these are measures to further the successful integration of immigrants, of course they apply only to — but do not “target,” which has a distinctly menacing ring — immigrants. As to the casual assertion that “hate speech has spiked,” where is the evidence for this? Since not a single example of such “hate speech” appears in the entire Times piece, the reader must simply take it on faith that Danes – again labelled as “right-wing” – have been guilty of “hate speech.”
Let’s try to figure out what the reporter had in mind as conceivable “hate speech.” Suppose a member of the Danish People’s Party points out that Muslim Somalis in Denmark commit ten times as many crimes per capita as native Danes. That is a statement of fact, not “hate speech.” Or suppose a member of the Danish People’s Party notes that Muslim immigrants receive a much larger benefits package, and for a longer period, given their high unemployment, as compared to what non-Muslim immigrants and native Danes receive. Would that be “hate speech,” or simply a statement of fact?
“There is new tension between Danes still opening their arms and a resurgent right wing that seeks to ban all Muslims and shut Denmark off from Europe.”
So the reporter sees a Morality Play with two kinds of Danes: the Good Danes, “still opening their arms,” and the Bad Danes, “a resurgent right wing that seeks to ban all Muslims.” But even the Good Danes did not invite the Muslims in, and never quite were “opening their arms.” And even if the Bad Danes want to end Muslim immigration, none have as yet called for removing all of the Muslims already in Denmark. Not quite a Morality Play.
The Times reporter continues:
There is tension, too, over whether the backlash is really about a strain on Denmark’s generous public benefits or a rising terrorist threat — or whether a longstanding but latent racial hostility is being unearthed.
First, what does it mean to write “there is tension” over whether the “backlash” is about “a strain on generous public benefits” OR “a rising terrorist threat”? “Tension” over trying to apportion blame for the anxiety Muslims have caused? Why can’t there be anxiety among Danes about both the cost to their welfare system of Muslim migrants, and about the threat of Islamic terrorism to their very lives? Why can’t there be more than one reason for growing antipathy to Muslim migrants in Denmark?
And then there is that other proffered reason, which Muslims and their apologists find much to their liking: Could anxiety about the effect of Muslim migrants on Danish society reveal “a longstanding but latent racial hostility”? Just think, this “racial hostility” has been so longstanding but so very latent that no one noticed it, and strange to say, now that the Danes have revealed themselves as “racists,” their “racism” apparently doesn’t apply to all black people, for black African Christians in Denmark have rarely had any troubles, while, strange to say, even white Muslims (as from Syria) have engendered antipathy. So this hostility must have to do not with race but with Islam. The Danes are not revealing “racial hostility,” but well-grounded fears about Islam and the behavior of Muslims. Those who talk about a “latent racial hostility” in this famously tolerant country are deliberately trying to make the Danes feel guilty about their well-justified fears, and to deflect attention away from Islam
The Times reporter does concede that “perhaps the leading — and most substantive — concern is that the migrants are an economic drain. In 2014, 48 percent of immigrants from non-Western countries ages 16 to 64 were employed, compared with 74 percent of native Danes.” There then follows the sensible comments of immigration officials about the need to avoid “parallel societies,” and the story of one Muslim immigrant family’s success (but no similar stories about the many cases of immigrant unemployment and crime), that of an Iraqi engineer who allows his children to eat pork at school, and who with his family attends church to learn about Christianity. How typical do you think this Muslim immigrant family is?
This report from Denmark, with its loaded words – “right-wing,” “hate speech,” “targeting immigrants,” “harsh measures” – does not leave much room for thoughtful analysis of what is clearly a grave problem everywhere in Western Europe. That problem, let me repeat, is that Muslim migrants, in large numbers (one million arrived in Germany alone in 2015), have been moving into Europe, bringing Islam with them in their mental luggage, putting great strain on the welfare systems of every country in which they end up, and on the criminal justice systems because of their sky-high crime rate, and, given Muslim terrorist attacks in nearly a dozen Western countries, on the security services too.
Yet it is amazing that even now, after all the murder and mayhem that has been committed by Muslims, and not only those of ISIS who dutifully cite Islamic texts to justify their every act, people in Denmark are embarrassed to admit to an anxiety about Islam, and instead accuse themselves (“I’ve become a racist”) rather than ask what it is about the ideology of Islam that makes it uniquely difficult, perhaps even impossible, for Muslim migrants – always with a few remarkable exceptions — to integrate.
That is the question to be asked again and again: what explains the success of so many non-Muslim immigrants in managing to integrate into many different European countries, and the failure of so many Muslim immigrants to do so in those same countries? And why do the peoples of Western Europe allow themselves to feel so apologetic about their anxiety about, and antipathy toward, Islam? And when will we, the world’s Infidels, dare to study the texts that explain Muslim acts and attitudes, or shall we forever deny ourselves the right to engage in such study, that is, from doing the one thing that makes the most sense?
First published in Jihad Watch.
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