A Trump-ed Up Case Against Immigration

Far-right English conservative, Douglas Murray, released a highly controversial book in 2017 called The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, identity, Islam (Bloomsbury Continuum, London). The book was written amid the European refugee crisis that caused a political turmoil in the aging continent—a crisis that highlighted the rise of contemporary right-wing populism. Murray describes himself as a Christian atheist (a non-doctrinal atheist with “Christian” values), a neoconservative, and an openly gay activist. Murray has accused the European Union establishment for promoting the inheritance of guilt for Europe’s 20th Century ugly past that will become become indoctrinated in future generations and is already fracturing the continent.  The author stresses that modern day Europe should never be carrying the guilt of what their ancestors did during World War I and II. Add to this the concept of “tiredness,” or ennui, or, as the Germans call it “gesichtsmüde”—which means ‘weary of history’*(1)—and you have a recipe for a total abdication of sovereignty of a once great continent.

The book also focuses on how much a collectivist identity can distort the distinguished identities in many European countries by globalism and the failed culture of integration. Moreover, the idea of culture neutrality is a myth. Murray says that we can’t accept that fact that all cultures are equal when women are forced to cover their head in Iran and Saudi Arabia; yet many Islamists are compromising the liberty that Europe offers and promote its fundamentalist ideology.

The book fiercely attacks the European establishment in Brussels about the systematic censorship against any criticism of Islam. According to the writer himself, ‘islamophobia is a myth,’’ invented to tolerate the uncontrollable. Murray stated that censorship against Islamic criticism started with the attempts to assassinate Salman Rushdie after his infamous book ‘’Satanic Verses’’ was  released in 1988. As Europe is trying to polish it’s sinful pasts, any attempts to show solidarity with the writer or sceptics are demonized. The Charlie Hebdo mass shooting was proof that Islam is imposing an exclusivity from public scrutiny in Europe. The writer emphasises that Europe cannot be the centre of the world and Europeanism isn’t a mindset that can be easily embraced by anyone who decides to step onto the continent. Hundreds of millions of people are living in extreme hardship and poverty—would it reasonable to allow millions every year to come into the content and identify as European?

In terms of immigration policies, Europe is the most liberal  place in the world for asylum-seekers. While only 8% of asylum applications are in fact refugees, it might take several years for denied applicants to be forcibly removed from the country. This is because of the bureaucracy that is chaining the immigration system. The denied applicant seeker can appeal up to three times in the country of asylum before getting deported!

The spread of ghettos and the increasing societal segregation is becoming the norm in many countries like Belgium and England. Europe is now experiencing increasing ethnic tensions among the immigrant communities at an rampant scale. There is also an epidemic of honor-related crimes that are spreading across the continent, especially in England where the writer argues that there are 20,000 illegal polygamous marriages within the Muslim community.

In a counter argument about this book, many points can be defined from the reader’s perspective. Europe is nicknamed the ‘’Aging Continent’’ because over 1 in 5 Europeans are now above 65 years of age. The average fertility rate per woman is 1.4 across the 28 members of the European Union. No civilization can persist at this rate, and it could take Europe at least a century to recover this decline.

Moreover, most people who fled into Europe since the early 21st century are from countries that experienced an inhumane and unjustified wars led or supported by the West itself, primarily in Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, and later, Syria.
Murray failed to mention In his book that the idea of integration and multiculturalism is a very recent concept in Europe. European nations who welcomed temporary guests from places like Turkey and Pakistan assumed that those migrant workers would be returning home (or at least moving on)  sooner or later. But as millions of first generation immigrants remained in the continent, the overwhelming majority of them were isolated, creating a cultural vacuum or void. The wealthy Muslim countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar funded Islamic missionaries that discourage any association with the European modernity which is deemed un-Islamic. The layered discrimination against immigrants in Europe combined with the militarisation of global politics by funding wars against vulnerable Muslim countries has indeed radicalized generations of Muslims that will hold Europe and the West accountable for their misery for years to come.

Reviewed by Fidel Azazi  

January 10, 2019

*(1) As the author explains the condition, “It isn’t an entirely new phenomenon. For centuries Europe has had terms, including pseudo-medical ones, to describe personal listlessness and fatigue, including varieties of nervous exhaustion….even nineteenth-century exhaustion was not only about frayed nerves, but also existential tiredness.”