The Future of Europe

Violent crime has tripled in the last twenty years. Rapes are now commonplace, some even occurring in broad daylight, and young women are afraid to go outside after dark. Certain neighborhoods are now so dangerous that even emergency services and police refuse to enter them out of concern for their own safety.

This sounds like a description of Compton in the 1960s, or perhaps the Bronx or Detroit at their very worst.

Yet this is the current state of Malmö, the third-largest city in Sweden.

What has caused this seemingly sudden and dramatic change in this traditionally peaceful Northern European country? It is first helpful to examine exactly who is committing the crimes. The Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet reported in March of 2000 that 9 out of 10 violent crimes in Sweden were committed by ethnic minorities, mostly immigrants from Morocco, Algeria, Libya, and Tunisia, all Muslim-majority countries. Thirty years ago, there were only very small numbers of Moroccans and Algerians in Sweden. Yet since Sweden’s current immigration system was implemented in the 1970s, refugees from these countries and others have been accepted by the hundreds of thousands, transforming historically homogeneous Sweden into today’s multicultural society.

While Sweden is the most shocking example, it is by no means a unique case. Similar trends can be found in neighboring Norway and Denmark. And violence is not the only problem. In addition to increasing crime rates among immigrants, Great Britain faces a Muslim population with a disturbingly large fundamentalist contingent; an ICM opinion poll in 2006 revealed that nearly 40% of British Muslims support Islamic sharia law replacing current British law, and 20% have some sympathy for the suicide bombers who attacked London on July 7, 2005. The large number of Muslim immigrants in Britain has changed the character of some areas so drastically that native Britons are leaving the country at unprecedented levels, heading to the United States, Spain, and Australia to start their lives anew.

France’s dealings with its large Muslim population have made international headlines more than a few times in the past several years, from the 2004 ban on religious head-coverings to the 2005 countrywide civil unrest. Such strife continues to plague France today. Muslim immigrants in France have such a high birthrate compared to the native French that some projections foresee a Muslim-majority nation within just twenty five years. Muslims are already a majority in French prisons, where they comprise a shocking seventy percent of inmates.

The Muslim populations of several major cities in Italy were large enough in 2002 for journalist Oriana Fallaci to feel compelled to write her controversial book, The Rage and the Pride, which laments what she views as the loss of her own country to an invading culture. Religious tensions in the Netherlands came to the forefront in 2004 with the brutal murder of filmmaker Theo van Gogh, killed by jihadist Mohammed Bouyeri in the heart of Amsterdam. In a letter affixed to van Gogh’s corpse by the dagger that killed him, Bouyeri linked the murder to van Gogh’s 10-minute film, Submission, which deals with violence against women in Muslim societies. Bouyeri named Dutch parliament member Ayaan Hirsi Ali, an outspoken critic of radical Islam, as his next target, causing Hirsi Ali to flee to the United States, where she remains today. The leader of the Dutch Party for Freedom, Geert Wilders, has received numerous death threats for his anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim comments and now lives under twenty-four-hour police protection.

As the above data show, nearly every country in Western Europe faces a similar, very worrisome situation.

So why do European governments continue to admit still more Muslim immigrants each year, towing fundamentalism and intolerance in their wake? Their main argument is that these immigrants are needed to support the welfare state. The native European population is aging rapidly and their low birth rates are not replenishing the workforce, compelling many states to import immigrants in order to keep the system afloat. Unfortunately, the most recent wave of immigration is actually a net drain on the system. An article from The Copenhagen Post published in 2005 states that half of all immigrants from the Third World are not qualified for even the lowest-paying jobs in Denmark. According to Paul Scheffer, a professor of urban sociology at Amsterdam University, close to 60% of first-generation Turkish and Moroccan populations in the Netherlands are unemployed. Without jobs, the immigrants receive unemployment benefits, straining the system even more and pushing it ever closer toward inevitable bankruptcy. Since they already receive free food, housing, and spending money from the government, many immigrants (especially women) never work a single day in Europe. Apparently the architects of this immigration plan did not anticipate the fact that increased immigration does not necessarily correlate to an increased tax base.

There are two major problems with the situation in Europe today.

The first is that native Europeans are being steadily reduced to a minority in their own countries. Never in the history of the world has any nation, let alone so many nations simultaneously, accepted so many immigrants in peacetime. And not just immigrants, for that alone would not be a problem, but immigrants from a completely alien culture who largely refuse to integrate into the respective societies of their adoptive nations. It should be noted that without immigration, the current incredibly low European birthrates would lead to a net loss in population over the next several decades. However, these levels would eventually recover, and the civil strife currently wracking the continent would be absent. Some pundits, most notably Mark Steyn, believe that events like the 2005 riots in France are the opening shots of a European civil war. While the accuracy of this prediction is not yet clear, what is clear is that Europe has a serious problem, and at this point nothing is being done to resolve it.

The second major problem with mass Muslim immigration to Europe is the way it has chipped away at the precepts of liberty and free speech on which all Western democracies were built. Those who criticize the policies which have led to the current crisis are either threatened, ostracized, or killed, often by native Europeans. The most prominent example of this tragic treatment was the late Pim Fortuyn. His highly critical views of Islam (perhaps best exemplified by his 1997 book, Against the Islamization of Our Culture) earned him great acclaim by some and vilification by others, including the Dutch media and many left-wing organizations. Widely considered the frontrunner for the Dutch Prime Ministry, he was assassinated in 2002 by native Dutchman Volkert van der Graaf, who felt Fortuyn was “an ever-growing danger who would affect many people in society.” Excluding events during World War II, it was the Netherlands’ first political assassination in over 300 years. This is an ominous indicator of just how dangerous the political landscape has become, and paints a bleak picture of the future.

While immigration in itself is not inherently bad, the way and the extent to which it is being embraced in Europe is doing irreparable damage to the continent’s historical foundations as well as its social fabric. These problems will continue to compound and worsen unless Europe’s national governments reconsider their immigration policies and take immediate action. One helpful first step would be to end knee-jerk rejection of constructive criticism from people like Pim Fortuyn who truly have Europe’s best interests at heart. Europe must assess its current situation from an objective standpoint and determine whether it wants to identify itself in the next century as it has in the past—as the vanguard of progressive thought and haute culture—or as “Eurabia,” a mere extension of the repressive, intolerant Middle East.

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