Funny thing, how quickly public opinion can change.
In the wake of the vaunted “Arab Spring”, when we wrote about people running for their lives, especially groups targeted by the zealots taking power — i.e. Christian and pagan minorities — half-hearted interest was momentarily feigned. Then the public returned to looking at celebrity selfies on their twitter feeds. Hashtag something-or-other. I forget.
Until, one day, a toddler washes up on shore. Suddenly there’s a name, and a face, and a story. Suddenly, we care.
The tide of public opinion sublimates from disinterest to outrage, with no intermediate step.
Suddenly, we are demanding action. What action? Immediate action! Progressive action! Government Action! Action from our leaders!
What KIND of action? The Right action! Help them!
Perhaps none of these people have yet learned the lesson associated with replying to an email while angry, or dialing the phone after “one too many”. Emotional reactions and wise decisions are seldom the same things.
What is the general outcry? Someone in need requires help. The instinct to help them is good. But what kind of help should be offered? Who should offer it? Is there a kind of help that is incorrect for the situation?
Are there clues we can see about this scenario that should give us pause?
I think there are several.
1. The refusal of five wealthiest Arab neighbors to offer sanctuary.
— When Kuwait was attacked, hundreds of thousands were offered sanctuary.
— Today, their doors are closed to Syria, citing terrorism concerns.
2. The UN’s refugee demographics show a disproportionate number of men.
— Of 381,000 refugees, 72% are men; 13% women; 15% children
(hardly the figures you’d associate with high-birthrate nations)
3. The official story that made the headlines may not be a flight-from-Syria story after all. As one article argues, it may be a looking-for-an-immigration-loophole story.
4. Reports of spurious and convenient conversions from Islam to Christianity with probable hopes it will improve their immigration chances.
As a Christian, the last point is the easy one to address first. Anyone having read the opening chapters of Augustine’s City of God will have already heard arguments for why we ought not expect faith in Christ to get us “our best life now”; certainly not better circumstances than our neighbors.
If faith in Christ merely gave us an easier life, people would be drawn to convert for exactly the wrong reasons: it would cheapen our faith. Let any rulings on immigration not be measured by whether someone can claim Christ as Lord.
Let would-be applicants eat a BLT if you wish; or maybe finger-paint a picture of Mohammad in pig’s blood, or whatever random test they think might weed out violent jihadis. Get as creative as you like. But please don’t accept a pseudo-conversion to Christ as a get-past-immigration-free card.
Whatever test they do come up with, I hope they remember taqiyya. Taqiyya is Islam’s permission to lie about personal ideas, beliefs, strategies, etc.. For the purposes of advancing Islam.
And — related to point three — why might anyone think lying about their refugee status could support Islam? I will quote one of their own leaders, although the last person who did so faced a formal human rights complaint. (Note: the following quote was originally said by a Muslim. If you dislike the idea, take it up with him!)
“We’re the ones who will change you,” the Norwegian imam Mullah Krekar told the Oslo newspaper Dagbladet in 2006. “Just look at the development within Europe, where the number of Muslims is expanding like mosquitoes. Every Western woman in the EU is producing an average of 1.4 children. Every Muslim woman in the same countries is producing 3.5 children.” As he summed it up: “Our way of thinking will prove more powerful than yours.” (quoted from Mark Steyn’s “The Future Belongs To Islam”)
What do you suppose this sudden surge of people will do to that equation?
Let’s work back to point two. In real situations of need, we typically find the most vulnerable people seeking help. Which leaves me scratching my head. Why are 72% of the refugees men? Remember, not my figures. It’s the UN.
Typically, the people most in need, and most vulnerable in these situations are emphatically NOT men. Children? Yes. Women? Certainly. Even allowing for some portion of elderly, how can we possibly have 72% men? Sorry, but this number trips my BS meter. And it should trip yours, too.
People in legitimate need should get help, yes. But think back to the demographics of these countries. Median ages are often under 18 years old. Children should be expected to actually outnumber the adults. Where are they? Statistically, wives should at least equal the men. Right? Well, where are they? What’s really driving this mass migration?
Back to point one. Why are wealthy Arab neighbours shutting their doors? Concern about security threats using this screen to enter their nations. Are we now obligated to call these Arab nations “Islamophobic”? I only ask this because it’s what Western nations would be called. Maybe they know something about the players involved, and the attendant risks?
The first — and best — place for refugees to go is somewhere with shared culture and language. (Nearby stable Arab nations.) Pressure should be brought to bear for acceptance of genuine refugees into such places.
Nations further removed might be expected to play comparatively smaller roles as differences in culture, language and distance grow between place of origin and the destination, proportional to any receiving nation’s ability to absorb them, integrate them, and care for them.
After all, a paramount obligation of any sovereign nation, is the maintaining the peace within its own borders. Among other things, this includes careful attention to who crosses into its borders — and with what intent.