“Pope expresses concern over national policies dictated by fear,” by Giulia Segreti, Reuters, March 11, 2018:
Pope Francis on Sunday expressed concern over national policies dictated by fear, speaking only one week after Italy’s general elections which brought populist and anti-immigrant parties to the forefront.
The Italian elections were over in early March, and the parties in Italy that the Pope clearly was referring to as “dictated by fear” managed to make the greatest electoral gains. These parties are not really, as the non-Italian media and the Pope himself suggest, “anti-immigrant,” but, rather, they are “anti-Muslim immigrant.” There is a difference. Chief among these center-right parties is La Lega (“The League”), headed by Marco Salvini, who constantly declares that Islam is “incompatible with European values,’’ and unremarkably notes that Muslim immigrants are responsible for some of the country’s economic and security problems. It is to be expected that The Arab Weekly would describe La Lega as “a xenophobic and racist party that regularly speaks of an ‘Islamic invasion’ in Italy.” But the party is neither “xenophobic” nor “racist”; there is no “irrational hatred of foreigners,” but a rational fear of, and opposition to, Muslim migrants, based both on their observable behavior in Europe and on an understanding of the ideology of Islam. The “racism” canard, repeated ad nauseam, has to be refuted, just as often, by stating the obvious: Islam is not a race, opposition to Islam is not “racism.”
Pope Francis, the stout defender of Islam and Muslims, the man who has claimed “there is no such thing as Islamic terrorism,” that “authentic Islam and the proper reading of the Koran are opposed to every form of violence,” that “Islam is a religion of peace, one which is compatible with respect for human rights and peaceful coexistence,” is naturally alarmed by the increasing success of the so-called “anti-immigrant” parties. He who has made the defense of migrants and especially, of Muslims, a key pillar of his five-year papacy, finds that Italian voters do not agree.
Although the pope did not specifically refer to the elections, his words may resonate as a strong criticism of Italy’s center-right bloc which has strongly campaigned using anti-migrant policy promises.
“The world today is often inhabited by fear. It is an ancient disease … And fear often turns against people who are foreign, different, poor, as if they were enemies,” said the leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics.
The “fear” of Islam and of Muslims that many now experience, especially in Europe, is not an unfathomable “ancient disease,” but a rational response to the unprecedented influx of people who, because of the ideology of Islam to which they are in thrall, cannot, and do not wish to, integrate into European societies. Muslim migrants are quite understandably feared not because they are “foreign, different, poor” as Pope Francis may think, but because they have been taught in their Qur’an to believe that they should regard non-Muslims as the “most vile of creatures,” that they should heed the 109 Qur’anic commandments about waging violent Jihad against the Infidels, including several verses specifying that they should “strike terror” into the hearts of those Infidels, and that they should never take “Jews and Christians as friends, for they are friends only with each other.” (5:51) There is little desire expressed in Italy, the subject of Pope Francis’s latest vaporings, to remove non-Muslim immigrants — many of them “foreign, different, poor” — including Chinese, Hindus, Filipinos, Eastern Europeans. Not being Muslims, none of these immigrants are irremediably hostile to Italy and to Italians. After more than 35,000 terrorist attacks by Muslims around the world since 9/11/2001, it makes perfect sense to “fear” the millions of Muslims now in Europe, and to work to prevent more from coming. Instead, Pope Francis wants to welcome still more of them, wants Europeans to believe, despite all the evidence, that there is no reason to “fear” the Muslim influx.
The Pope thinks “fear” is somehow an illegitimate emotion for fashioning political policies. Why? In 1917, the records of the Duma show, Aleksandr Kerensky mocked the Bolsheviks, even asking aloud during one particularly contentious debate, “What are you going to do — shoot us?” There was laughter from his supporters, while the Bolsheviks remained tellingly silent. We all know how that turned out. Having no experience of such people, Kerensky did not fear them, and failing to fear them, did not suppress the Bolsheviks when that was still possible. Throughout the 1930s, Winston Churchill, a lonely voice of reason, continually expressed his alarm about the policies and plans of Adolf Hitler. He “feared” what was to come if Hitler was allowed to get his way during a time of supposed peace. Churchill was correct to be “fearful” of the Nazis. Others — the Cliveden Set, Lord Halifax, Prime Minister Chamberlain — were too hopeful that accommodations could be made with Hitler; these people were not “fearful” enough of his monstrous plans. Were we in the West not right to be “fearful” of the Soviet takeover of Eastern Europe after World War II? Were we wrong to create the Nato military alliance out of “fear” of Soviet military aggression? Were we wrong to be “fearful” of the powerful Communist parties in Italy and France in the postwar period, and as a consequence of that fear, we channeled huge sums to the anti-Communist left in those countries? Didn’t that do the trick, keeping the Communists from coming to power in either country?
Are we not right to “fear” Putin’s Russia, and its attempts to undermine Western democracies through meddling in our elections, spreading false news, and in many insidious ways employing social media on the Internet to weaken the social fabric of our societies? Shouldn’t we fear Vladimir Putin’s effort to control the Eastern Ukraine? Are the European nations now expressing solidarity with the British by expelling Russian diplomats wrong to fear what Putin’s agents will do unless there is a clear and united response to this latest poisoning of a former Soviet agent on European soil?
Should we not be “fearful” of China’s ruthless economic competition, its theft and exploitation of American companies’ patents and trade secrets and its unfair trade practices? Shouldn’t we be fearful of Chinese bullying of its nearest Asian neighbors, including its staking of its claims to expansive territorial waters in the South China Sea? Aren’t we right to “fear” Kim Jong-un’s nuclear threats? Should we not “fear” the war on free speech being conducted on our college campuses, where those who speak sensibly about Islam are shouted down, or their audiences by pre-arrangement walk out, or those speakers on Islam are prevented even from coming to the campus in the first place?
What about causes dear to this Pope’s heart, such as global warming? Does Pope Francis think we should be a little “worried” but not “fearful” of the consequences if we are collectively unable to limit the use of greenhouse gasses? We know what his answer to that would be. When it’s his ox that’s gored…
Similarly, should young women not be “fearful” of Muslim grooming gangs in Great Britain, now that we all know what happened in Rotherham and so many other places (Telford, Rochdale, Oxford, Newcastle), and know, too, that elsewhere in Great Britain, similar gangs may have claimed as many as a million victims? Should non-Muslim women not be “fearful” of sexual attacks by Muslims, attacks that have soared in Europe in recent years — in Paris (especially on the metro), in Berlin, in Cologne, in Malmö, in Stockholm?
Does the Pope think it would be wrong — unwarranted, unhelpful — for Jews in Europe to be “fearful” of Muslims? When two elderly Jewish women in Paris were murdered, in separate incidents, by Muslim neighbors, with one of them stabbed repeatedly, then thrown out a window, while the other’s incinerated body is found in her apartment, which had been set on fire, might “fear” not be the clear-headed response? When a Muslim gang kidnaps a young Jewish man, Ilan Halimi, and for three weeks holds him hostage, torturing him until he finally dies from that torture, isn’t “fear” — along with fury — fully justified? When three small Jewish children are shot dead by a Muslim terrorist in front of a rabbi, the father of two of them, who is then also killed, should Jewish parents not feel “fear”? When Jewish pupils are taunted and beaten up by Muslim classmates so that they have to change schools? When the French Jewish leader, Roger Cukierman, already in 2015 declared that “All violence [against Jews] in France, and we must say this, all violent acts today are committed by young Muslims”? Does the Pope think it would be crazy or “unhelpful” for Jews to fear Muslims and, as a consequence, to support those policies, opposed by pollyannish Pope Francis, to limit the number of Muslim migrants?
The absence of “fear” when fear is warranted should not be praised but deplored. We should also recognize that there can be too little of the right kind and too much of the wrong kind of “fear”: the police in Rotherham were insufficiently fearful of what was happening to the English girls who were the victims of mass rapes, and too fearful of being called “racists” if they pursued the Muslim grooming gangs.
Pope Francis has it wrong. Those who intelligently fear Islam and the large-scale presence of Muslims in Europe have much to be fearful about. They fear Muslim terrorists, responsible for so many tens of thousands of attacks since 9/11. Of course, they fear Muslim sexual predators, with the grooming gangs in Rotherham only the most publicized example of what has apparently been going on across the U.K. They fear the attacks on Jews, homosexuals, on priests, on those who publicly criticize Islam or Muhammad. For a few unflattering paragraphs he wrote in a 2006 article for Le Figaro about Muhammad, the teacher Robert Redeker has ever since had to live in hiding under police protection. Others, such as the writers Eric Zemmour and Alain Finkielkraut, may not be in hiding, but they do require extra security for their speaking engagements, and cannot move around without worrying about their safety, because of what they write and speak about Islam. All those who care about the freedom of speech in Europe should now be “fearful,” despite the Pope’s glib assurances that such “fear” is uncalled for.
There are other things to “fear” about the Muslim presence in Western Europe, aside from the threats and acts of violence. Europeans now find themselves faced with ever-mounting expenses, as their governments offer long-term support to increasing numbers of Muslims who are in no hurry to be employed, but eager to batten on a host of benefits — free housing, free medical care, free education, family allowances — offered by the generous welfare states of Western Europe. An estimated 40% of Muslim youth in France and 50% in Germany are unemployed, but far from destitute. Rather, they receive a wide range of social benefits. For example, an estimated 40% of welfare outlays in Denmark go to the 5% of the population that is Muslim. According to Otto Schily, former German interior minister, speaking of immigrants in general: “Seventy percent of the newcomers [since 2002] land on welfare the day of their arrival.” As to unemployment, Christopher Caldwell notes that “in the early 1970s, 2 million of the 3 million foreigners in Germany were in the labor force; by the year 2000, 2 million of 7.5 million were.” In 2015, only 500 out of 163,000 asylum seekers in Sweden had found jobs by the next year; the rest remained on the dole. Such colossal spending on unemployed Muslim immigrants makes taxpayers angry, and because they do not see their governments willing to cut down on those benefits, also “fearful” for the future of the Swedish welfare state. Europeans have other reasons to fear the Muslim influx. They fear Muslims who, with their astoundingly high rates of criminality, fill disproportionately the prisons of Western Europe (at great expense to the state), where they conduct prison da’wah, often resulting in “convenience conversions” of non-Muslim prisoners who are eager to “join the biggest gang” (that is, the Muslim gang) in order to insure their own security. They fear the willingness of their own societies to capitulate, by authorizing prayer rooms in schools and workplaces, by granting Muslims permission to interrupt work or class schedules in order to say some of their five daily prayers, by allowing the five-times-a-day Call to Prayer to be electronically amplified and broadcast, even though such a call is no longer necessary, given that a smartphone app can vibrate at the appointed time as a “silent” Call to Prayer. Europe’s Kuffars fear that Muslims may eventually come to dominate, through demographic jihad, the countries of Europe. All those who have these fears and are not paralyzed by them are exhibiting sober signs of sanity; it is the Pope’s denial of any problem with Islam that is unhinged.
Pope Francis’s attempts to dismiss “fear” as a legitimate reaction to the Muslim invasion of Europe only serve to confuse, and to undermine the morale of, the indigenous peoples of Western Europe. May Pope Francis be persuaded to take an early retirement, like his worthier predecessor Benedict, and when the white smoke next rises from the Sistine Chapel, let us hope it will signal the choice of a successor equal to the task, someone unafraid to fear the onslaught of Islam.