Making Culture an Element of Immigration Policy
by Daniel Pipes
Translations of this item:
For years, Geert Wilders of the Netherlands has been the leading European politician to argue for religious criteria for admitting immigrants. I joined in ten months ago with a more cautious article that suggested cultural zones to which refugees are encouraged to go. This blog watches as others argue for the need to take culture – religious and other – into consideration in immigration policies.
July 28, 2014 update: The political spokeswoman, Inger Støjberg, of Denmark's largest opposition party, Venstre, wrote a newspaper article arguing for a distinction between "a Christian American or Swede" on the one hand and "a Muslim Somali or Pakistani."
(July 28, 2014)
Dec. 17, 2014 update: In "A Vast Migration Tragedy," William Lacy Swing contrasts the deep and lasting pain of immigration tragedies at sea during the World War II era (the Mefkure, the Struma, the St. Louis) with the much larger tragedies taking place right now. "In 2014 more migrants have died traveling — nearly 5,000 — than there were passengers and crew on those three voyages." Indeed, "2014 will be the deadliest year for migrants on record."
Despite these much larger numbers, Swing notes, immigrants no longer win the compassion as they did 70-plus years ago.
To which I reply: culture is the key. Unstated by Swing but the assumption behind his entire article is that the West is the destination for all the world's refugees. But why focus only on the West and not on other parts of the world? Surely non-Westerners have moral obligations too.
As I noted in my article above, Muslim refugees are on their way to the West: Bangladeshis, Pakistanis, Afghans, Iranians, Iraqis, Syrians, Lebanese, Palestinians, Egyptians, Somalis, Algerians, and others. It is not realistic to ask Europeans, Americans, and Australians to accept these populations; rather, they should be redirected toward Saudi Arabia and other countries culturally more akin and compatible.
Jan. 12, 2015 update: Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán responded to the Charlie Hebdo attack by bringing up the culture topic. Hungary Today paraphrased his comments on television:
Mar. 22, 2015 update: The ruling VVD party in the Netherlands has come out against accepting non-European refugees, though on security grounds (some may be terrorists), not cultural grounds.
May 26, 2015 update: Poland's Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz announced that her government will accept 60 Christian Syrian refugee families "for a start," explaining that "Christians who are being persecuted in a barbaric fashion in Syria deserve Christian countries like Poland to act fast to help them."
Comment: Will other authorities in eastern Europe and maybe elsewhere adopt this Christian-only policy?
July 11, 2015 update: Spokeswoman Malgorzata Wozniak of the Polish ministry of internal affairs has announced that "Poland would be ready to host 2.000 people by 2017," meaning Poland will accept 2,000 migrants from Syria and North Africa as part of the European Union's plan to relocate refugees away from its southern states. Again, only Christian refugees are welcome. Starting the process, some 50 Christian families from Syria have already arrived in Poland.
Aug. 19, 2015 update: The Slovak government has agreed to accept 200 Christian Syrian refugees. An Interior Ministry spokesman of the Central European country explained, "In Slovakia, we don't have mosques." Therefore, he went on, Muslim migrants would not feel at home there. Accordingly, he concluded, "We only want to choose the Christians."
Comment: It's a clever way for a government to effect the culture zone policy I advocate.
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