This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Confronting Asylum Seekers

"These refugees do not respect our women. I have four daughters, and they used to be safe in Finland. We need to do something about it."
Ilkka, 33-year-old sprinkler installer, Tampere, Finland

"Some of them coming now have a lot to learn. They do not understand a woman dressed like that [Western dress, without full body covering and niqab]."
"Now Muslim women are afraid to go in the streets because of the Soldiers of Odin. What have we achieved? We are afraid of them, and they are afraid of us."
Abbas al-Arja, 25, Iraqi boxer, Immigrant to Finland

"We want to have a society again in which women and elderly people can move safely and freely in our streets."
"The misogyny and contempt we have seen unfortunately has Islamist roots ... because it is directed against infidel women who are often insulted as whores for not wearing a head scarf and a veil."
Freedom Party leader Heinz-Christian Strache, Austria

Members of a group called the Soldiers of Odin walk the streets Jan. 16 near a refuĀ­gee center in suburban Tampere, Finland. After some reported cases of harassment against women, allegedly by migrants, the Soldiers of Odin decided to start patrolling in the evenings. (Alessandro Rampazzo/For The Washington Post)

The backlash is reaching full-swing. The calibre of many of the male migrants from Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia, Libya and Eritrea have not gone very far in impressing their hosts with their demonstrated suitability to join Western society. Perhaps more to the point, the very mass of the influx of refugees and migrants has overwhelmed Europeans who see their society engulfed with a culture, social mores and above all, religion, politics and allied system of law that directly confronts their own.

The transformation that has already taken place with previous waves of Muslim immigrants has unnerved many Europeans. The Islamic propensity to ghettoize themselves, to shun the presence of others, to clamour for Islamic rights and demand Sharia law be viewed as equal to the existing European system of law and justice, and the ubiquitous and growing presence of mosques along with incidents of behaviours that are socially threatening have convinced many that their way of life is doomed.

In Finland, vigilante groups have begun to surface. One, in Tampere, has named itself the Soldiers of Odin (the Norse god of war and death), labelled far-right and multiplying as the fear and suspicion of the Islamic hordes motivate people to push against the inundation of all that is familiar, and the resulting empowerment of Islam. Attacks against Muslims have begun to surface in the wake of the commission of sexual assaults undertaken by identifiable Muslim, Arab or African migrants.

From Sweden to Greece new barriers to halt the influx of more migrants are being erected. Male asylum seekers have been banned from public pools in Germany, resulting from their harassment of women. In the German city of Zwickau, claims of asylum seekers ejaculating and defecating in public pools have gone the rounds with outrage expressed on social media.

The right-wing Freedom Party in Austria has enacted a total ban on any new asylum seekers. There are those in society who disagree, feeling that suspicion and danger from the presence of asylum seekers has been exaggerated, even while some among the asylum seekers agree that within their ranks have emerged some who have made matters difficult for all by their clearly unnerving habits of targeting women.

In Tampere, where over four thousand asylum seekers were settled, mostly from Iraq, there  have been 50 recorded incidents where asylum seekers are either the perpetrators of assaults or the victims of them. Pepper spray sales have vaulted across Finland and Germany. Self-defence classes are appearing everywhere and sales of fake weapons are soaring.

A snowy street in Tampere. Alleged sex crimes committed by migrants in Finland and Germany have changed the tenor of the debate over the refuĀ­gee crisis in Europe. (Alessandro Rampazzo/For The Washington Post)

Many now point the finger of blame at German Chancellor Angela Merkel whose initial reaction to the flood of migrants into Europe was to pledge that Germany would absorb as many as could make their way to the country. Her open invitation has been responsible, as far as many are concerned, in stimulating and encouraging greater numbers of refugees than would otherwise make the perilous journey from Turkey's refugee camps to Europe, to continue to flood borders with their claims for refugee status.

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