Tuesday, November 03, 2015
Refugee influx turns Europe to the right
An estimated 1.5 million immigrants and refugees will arrive in Europe this year, and the inundation is driving Europe to the anti-immigrant right in election after election.
For several years, the Canadian author Mark Steyn has been starkly pessimistic about Europe. He recently travelled to Europe to see what the immigration influx looked like. He began in Sweden, the most generous country to immigrants in Europe, and had barely arrived when he had an encounter, described on his website on September 29:
"I was looking forward to sitting back and enjoying the peace and quiet of Scandinavian First Class. But, just as I took my seat and settled in, a gaggle of 'refugees' swarmed in, young bearded men and a smaller number of covered women, the lads shooing away those first-class ticket holders not as nimble in securing their seats…
"They seemed to take it for granted that asylum in Europe should come with complimentary first-class travel … The conductor gave a shrug, the great universal shorthand for there's-nothing-I-can do."
What Europeans can do is vote, and, in the wake of more than a million immigrants arriving this year, their voting is showing a clear pattern:
Britain. In the general election of May 7, by far the biggest increase in votes since the 2010 election went to the UK Independence Party, up from 867,000 votes (3.5 per cent), to 3.9 million votes (12.7 per cent). UKIP is now the third force in English politics.
France. Opinion polls show that the most supported politician in France is now Marine Le Pen, leader of the National Front, an anti-immigration, anti-Muslim, anti-European Union party. In national provincial elections in March, the National Front polled the second-highest number of votes, 25 per cent, behind the centre-right UMP, with 30 per cent. Their combined vote routed France's socialist parties. Le Pen will seek the presidency in 2017.
Denmark. In the national election on June 8, Denmark swung right and the Social Democrats lost power. The anti-Muslim Danish People's Party surged from 22 seats to 37, while the conservative Venstre party won the highest number of seats, 47, and formed government.
Netherlands. In the months since the immigrant influx, Holland's most strident critic of Islam, Geert Wilders, has become the country's most popular leader. His Party for Freedom (PVV), has polled an average 33.5 per cent in recent opinion polls, far more than any other party.
Switzerland. In the national election on October 20, the anti-immigration Swiss People's Party won the largest vote, with 29.4 per cent, a record for the party, giving it 65 seats in the 200-seat National Council. Coupled with a swing to the conservative Free Democratic Party, which finished third, Switzerland made a decisive tilt to the right.
Poland. Last Sunday, Poland turned right in the national election. The Law and Justice Party, which is anti-immigration, anti-Euro and sceptical of the European Union, won 39 per cent of the vote and formed government.
Austria. In the Styrian state election on May 31, the hard-line anti-immigration, anti-Muslim Freedom Party of Austria won a 16 per cent swing, to 27 per cent, just behind the first-placed Social Democrats.
Italy did elect a liberal president this year, but the country is still scarred by the excesses of the right-wing president Silvio Berlusconi. In Spain's regional elections, the left made big gains, but the right was in power during a recession.
What is driving the general lurch to the right is fear, a fear of rapid demographic change, high welfare costs, higher unemployment and declining social cohesion.
The epicentre of tension is Germany, where Chancellor Angela Merkel announced her government would accept 800,000 refugees from Syria this year alone. The subsequent inundation, with the majority of arrivals not Syrian, forced Germany to try to rescind its promise.
Too late. More than 500 arson attacks have occurred in Germany this year targeting housing designated for refugees.
In Cologne last weekend, the mayor, Henriette Reker, a pro-immigration politician, survived an assassination attempt. She was severely wounded in a knife attack by an anti-immigration assailant.
Crime flows both ways. A confidential police report leaked to a German newspaper revealed that 38,000 asylum-seekers in Germany were charged with crimes in 2014.
Police are now urging segregation in immigration shelters, with numerous media reports of violence between Sunnis and Shiites, and intimidation and rapes by Muslims of Christians.
In Munich, a German doctor recently posted a warning online that went viral: "The situation here and at other Munich hospitals is unsustainable … Many Muslims are refusing treatment by female staff… Since last weekend, migrants going to the hospitals must be accompanied by police with K-9 units."
I began with Mark Steyn and I'll conclude with his prediction, published on September 24, that what is happening in Europe is an invasion, not an influx:
"The trains pull into German stations to disgorge men who meet no known definition of "refugees"… and who, according to the UN, make up 75 per cent of the "refugees" … Only one in five … are Syrians fleeing the implosion of their country…"
"[It is] the ruthless demographic logic of what happens when an impoverished tide of humanity [is] next door to a depopulating, not-so-gated community of soft decadent poseurs … Angela Merkel has given a generation of young men … their battle cry. And the lesson of this month is that no one will stop them."
This encapsulates a growing view in Europe from which you may recoil, as it contrasts starkly with the liberal belief that the West has a moral obligation to help the wretched.
I doubt the liberal view will prevail. The dots are starting to connect. They point to a gathering storm, building on millions of small indignities and disappointments which, over time, will add up to something large.
Christian minister disciplined by prison authorities for quoting verses from the Bible deemed to be homophobic
A Christian minister has been disciplined by prison authorities for quoting verses from the Bible that were deemed to be homophobic.
Rev Barry Trayhorn was acting as a volunteer chaplain at an institution for sex offenders when he recited the passage from the New Testament during a service.
The verses from Corinthians include homosexuality in a long list of sins, along with adultery, theft and drunkeness.
Mr Trayhorn said he wanted to explain to the congregation of inmates - many of whom have committed horrific sex abuse crimes - the Christian message that God will forgive those who repent.
However, following the service he was given a final warning after his bosses ruled that he had breached equality laws because the verses criticised homosexuality.
The ruling came despite his argument that he should be free to quote from the Bible during a religious service as the congregation would be familiar with the traditional teachings and could leave if they were offended.
He is now taking HMP Littlehey in Cambridgeshire to an employment tribunal, which opens in Bedford on Monday, claiming he was forced out of his main paid job as a gardener at the jail because of the intimidation he suffered as a result of his faith.
He said: ‘I was very angry. All I was doing was preaching the Bible and repeating the same message of repentance that was heard in many services.’
The 51-year-old father of three, a Country and Western singer who has played in clubs for years, started work supervising prisoners in the jail’s gardens in 2011, and later began helping out with music in the chapel, even preaching formal sermons at some services.
But in April last year, he was told by managers that he should not preach again, officially because he had not completed anti-terrorist paperwork required for clearance to work as a chaplain.
He said, however, that he had later heard there had been a complaint about a remark he had allegedly made at a service in February about same-sex marriage, though he could not recall it.
At a service in May, while he was leading the music, he said he had been ‘moved by the Spirit’ to urge the congregation to repent and quoted the Bible verses - as is common in Pentecostal services where worshippers often speak out spontaneously.
One version of Corinthians VI: 9-11, reads: ‘Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who have sex with men, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor slanderers, nor swindlers will inherit the Kingdom of God.
‘And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.’
Mr Trayhorn denied he was formally preaching, but an investigation was launched by the prison.
Because he was also suffering stress as the result of problems he was having with his job in the gardens, he was signed off sick and resigned days before the disciplinary hearing in November.
But as he was still working out his notice, he was still sent the final warning in which the governor, David Taylor, ruled that, while he was not an ‘antagonistic individual’, he was guilty of making ‘provocative’ statements that breached the prison’s code of conduct.
With the support of human rights lawyer Paul Diamond and the Christian Legal Centre, he is now suing the prison for constructive dismissal and will claim compensation.
In its defence, the prison said it had acted reasonably throughout and rejected Mr Trayhorn’s claims that it had discriminated against him because of his religious beliefs.
Andrea Williams, of the Christian Legal Centre, said: ‘Mr Trayhorn’s words were nothing that couldn’t be found in a rural parish church on a Sunday morning and were an explanation of repentance and forgiveness.
‘Is the Bible given to prisoners now to be censored to remove anything that people may find difficult to hear?’
The Ministry of Justice declined to comment.
With Israel, the headlines tell a very different story
On Saturday, Oct. 3, an Israeli couple and their 2-year-old son were walking in the Old City of Jerusalem when a 19-year-old Palestinian man attacked them with a knife.
The attacker, Muhanad Halabi, killed 21-year-old Aharon Bennett and stabbed his wife many times, leaving a knife stuck in her neck as she went desperately looking for help. A local man, a rabbi, heard the commotion and rushed to the scene. Nehemia Lavi, 41, tried to stop the killing, but the attacker grabbed Lavi’s gun, shot him to death and also shot 2-year-old Natan, hitting him in the leg.
Halabi was still firing when Israeli police arrived and shot him, killing him.
These facts are beyond dispute. A Palestinian man attacked a young family. He killed two men, also injured a baby and nearly murdered his mother. The police killed the attacker.
I want to make that part perfectly clear before I tell you about the headlines reporting the story.
Al Jazeera English quickly sent out a tweet reporting: “Palestinian shot dead after fatal stabbing in Jerusalem; 2 Israeli victims also killed.” The Twitter message linked to a website story with a similar headline. The death of the attacker was the news; the Israelis’ deaths were secondary, coming after the semicolon.
Here’s how the BBC described it: “Palestinian shot dead after Jerusalem attack kills two.” Notice the disembodied “Jerusalem attack,” without a hint of a perpetrator. Notice we’re not told who the “Jerusalem attack” killed. We do know that the main subject of the headline, who was shot dead, was Palestinian. The Jewish Israeli victims are essentially not noted.
To long-time observers of media coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, tendentious wording from Al Jazeera and the BBC will hardly come as a surprise.
This, on the other hand, will come as a shock: The Washington Post story on the Jerusalem attack was the most egregious of all. “Palestinian is Killed After a Fatal Attack,” read that headline.
If you didn’t trouble to read beyond that, as many people do, all you knew is that a Palestinian was killed. Nothing more.
That tragic incident was just one of a series of Palestinian attacks against Israelis in recent days. The upsurge in violence is the result of a number of factors, which I will resist listing here. After years, nay, decades of covering the dispute, everyone has a point of view on who bears the greatest responsibility for the stalled conflict.
For news reporters (and headline writers) that creates a challenge. Journalists (not commentators) are required to keep their opinions out of the news they cover. But when it comes to Israelis and Palestinians, the personal views of the writers have been creeping into international coverage for years.
The examples from the Old City murders are particularly transparent, with the prejudice shouting its presence from the headlines.
The journalistic transgression was so egregious that Al Jazeera English apologized. It deserves credit for doing something that the Washington Post and the BBC should emulate.
In an editors’ note the next day AJE acknowledged the criticism from “many people in our audience,” who said the tweet and the corresponding headline with similar wording minimized the killing of Israelis. (It also misled about the character of the event, but the apology did not address that.) “The criticism is valid,” the editors said, “and we regret the wording.”
With violence increasing and drawing attention back to the conflict, this event is a timely reminder for journalists and for news consumers. Subtle bias shapes the opinions of readers, policy makers, and potential combatants. It has a very real impact.
Journalists have a responsibility to safeguard the integrity of their work.
The rest of us, news consumers, must remain alert to bias and, with today’s many open social media platforms, we should communicate and protest when unfair coverage appears. After all, the killings, stoked at least in part by tendentious media coverage, are likely to continue.
With our way of life under threat, focus on what unites us
Gerard Henderson regrets that most intellectuals and many Muslims and blacks in Australia feel no loyalty to Australia
In reviewing John Howard’s The Menzies Era in The Times Literary Supplement last May, Clive James made a tough-minded assessment about refugees, immigration and all that.
James wrote: “Until recently, in Australia, every ethnic group that came in was assimilated if it wanted to: the Muslim extremists are the first consignment of immigrants to hate Western civilisation almost as much as the resident intellectuals do.” Tough minded, for sure. But fair. Except that the intelligentsia in Australia is not into murder and/or destruction.
On the other hand, some Islamists openly proclaim their intention to overthrow Australian democracy and establish a caliphate whereby everyone will live in accordance with the dictates of an Islamist theocracy.
Certainly this is the view of only a very small minority of the Muslim community. Yet it is both real and threatening. This was made clear in the important report by Sean Rubinsztein-Dunlop and Dylan Welch on the ABC’s 7.30 last Monday.
The program interviewed a 19-year-old supporter of the so-called Islamic State, or Daesh, who knew Farhad Jabar, the 15-year-old who murdered Curtis Cheng outside the Parramatta police station.
The 19-year-old, who came to Australia as a refugee from Afghanistan 10 years ago, did not attempt to disguise his hatred for Australia and non-Islamist Australians. While demanding anonymity on the ABC, the young man understands he is known to NSW Police, the Australian Federal Police and the Australian Security and Intelligence Service.
He described himself as “a normal dude”. But there was nothing normal about his religio-political ideology. Asked why he found it hard to say that Cheng’s murder was a tragedy for the victim and his family, the reply was brutal: “Why should I please the kafir — the disbelievers?”
So, to this Islamist, the battle is unambiguous.
There are Islamists like him and there are the kafirs. And he is waging war against disbelievers: “There is no other law except Allah’s law; people that smoke drugs, there’s no cigarettes, there’s no alcohol, there’s no brothels, there’s no clubbing — all shut down.” That’s life under the caliphate.
Earlier he had declared that “everyone wants to die for Allah” and those who died for Allah get to live “the best life in the hereafter”. It was no surprise, then, that he declined to answer whether he was prepared to get killed for Allah. This, after all, is the Islamists’ distorted interpretation of 15-year-old murderer Jabar’s death — who was shot by NSW police acting in self-defence.
The uncomfortable truth is that there are a number of Jabars in contemporary Australia who are prepared to kill kafirs, to die for what they believe is Allah’s cause. This deauthorises the position of academic Waleed Aly, who described such terrorist acts as the Boston Marathon bombing as a “perpetual irritant”, and journalist David Marr, who said last year that “the amount of fear being thrown into the community at the moment is disgraceful”.
The Islamists involved in acts of terrorism in Australia — or conspiracy to commit terrorism in Australia — during the past decade include Australian-born, immigrants and refugees alike. This problem is likely to be with us for a long time despite the best efforts of police and intelligence services along with the mainstream Muslim community.
In view of this reality, it makes sense for the rest of the Australian community to focus on what unites us rather than what divides. Yet this is not the fashion in Australia where, as James and others have noted, many of the best educated happen to be the most alienated.
This is evident, for example, in the indigenous community. Talented [Aboriginal] actress Miranda Tapsell was interviewed by Karl Stefanovic on the Nine Network’s "The Verdict" on October 15. Despite her evident success, Tapsell said no when asked if she identified herself as Australian. Asked the reason for this, she replied: “When I go to Australia Day, I don’t feel like an Australian that day because people are telling me I can’t be part of that.” It is not clear who made such an assertion.
Asked whether she would sing the national anthem, Tapsell responded: “I’d mumble it in the corner of my mouth, maybe.”
Deborah Cheetham, associate dean of music at the University of Melbourne, has gone even further. In an article in "The Conversation" this week, the famous indigenous soprano revealed that she had declined an invitation to sing Advance Australia Fair at the Australian Football League grand final in Melbourne this month.
Shortly after her piece in The Conversation was published, Cheetham received a soft interview on ABC Radio 702’s program Mornings, hosted by Linda Mottram.
Mottram described the article as “wonderful” as the author spelled out her opposition to the words of the national anthem.
In short, Cheetham will not sing the words “For we are young and free” primarily because she believes it is condescending to indigenous Australians to describe the nation as “young”. Her point is that Aborigines, in what became known as Australia, go back more than 50,000 years.
True, of course. But it is also true that the Commonwealth of Australia was created in January 1901, which makes the country relatively young.
Moreover, many indigenous Australians have European, Asian or Islander ancestors in addition to their indigenous ancestors.
Tapsell, for example, told The Verdict that her father had an English and Irish background.
Mick Dodson in 2009 raised the familiar question as to whether Australia Day should be called “Invasion Day”. That was a reasonable point, provided that all Aborigines who have some non-indigenous ancestors acknowledge that they are part “invaded” and part “invaders”.
The threat to democratic society is real and immediate. It makes sense to embrace the reality of a young and free nation and to reject alienation, whether it is sparked by discontented intellectuals or murder-endorsing extremists.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.