Breaking Down the Threat of “Radical Islam”
The following article is a joint publication from Aris Marousas and Yichen Wang.
***The below video does not represent the views and values of The Motley Experience***
Aris: Recently, I came across the above video and decided to forward it to some friends. I did this not because I believed or agreed with the points being raised, but because of how they were presented.
What we mostly see when Muslims, or Islam in general, are being discussed in a negative light is a near hysterical style of rhetoric where the speaker cries out for nationalism and the banishment of anyone from the Middle-East from that speaker’s respective country.
A prime example is the rhetoric of the GOP Presidential Candidate, Donald Trump.
So when I saw the above video, I was honestly surprised to see very similar viewpoints to Trump discussed in an almost scientific and eloquent way.
Paul Weston, a British politician, actually got me to listen to what he had to say and give it some more serious thought.
Due to what has been ongoing in global current events, I thought a discussion of this video and the ideas it represents would be appropriate (maybe even necessary) to share on The ME.
So the question is this: Is Europe’s Western Civilization in danger of being overtaken by immigrants from the Middle East?
Yichen: You sure picked a controversial topic.
Aris: Oftentimes, those are the most important topics to tackle.
Yichen: Then let’s get to it. I am going to approach this from the viewpoint of an American since I am not as familiar with the European side.
Over the past 20 years, Islamist and Western states have clashed repeatedly. This has been highlighted by the war(s) fought in the Middle East due to the posed dangers of radical organizations such as Al Qaeda and now ISIS, as well as the many terrorist attacks that have occurred globally.
The general anti-Muslim perception we see in the US is that they are invaders, social disruptors, and terrorists.. the media paints a pretty bleak picture.
This viewpoint is not shared by the majority of people. Most Americans have interacted with Muslims through school, work, and social activities, and we know that fundamentally, they are just people. In any group of people, there is good and bad; moderate and radical, But there’s enough of a vocal group that it has mainstream attention.
Donald Trump has already called for a temporary ban on Muslim migration, and his public stance has brought out many pundits who agree. The ongoing migrant crisis has brought up similar opinions in Europe. While the social, economic, and political situations vary across the European nations and the United States, the general discussion is the same.
Aris: With all that being said, though, does Europe have cause for concern? With the massive influx of migrants, I can see why they might be worried. There are even statistics detailing an increase in crime perpetrated by migrants, including those from North Africa.
Yichen: I think it speaks well of the host countries that extended their hospitality towards people in need. From what the news described, the Muslim immigrants are mainly comprised of asylum seekers, and illegal refugees, meaning, they’ve lost their homes, families, and livelihoods. This shouldn’t be too much of a surprise, though, given the conditions that these people are in. When there’s so much instability, people tend to commit crimes and act irrationally. This is not to defend their actions, of course, but it is important to take into consideration.
Aris: Right. As for what Paul Weston said about Sweden being the rape capital of Europe, I did some further research. What Paul Weston was trying to say is that all these migrants coming in are from countries that have a much different outlook on rape and women in general. He’s essentially claiming that the migrants are the cause for Sweden’s new claim to infamy.
It turns out that the way Swedish law enforcement measures and qualifies rape is different from a lot of countries. For example, if someone were to go to the police and claim they have been raped 5 times by their partner in the past year, the police must record each instance separately. The statistics are still rising though, and some say that is because of a change in perception on rape with more victims coming forward and speaking out (source: BBC).
Because rape is such a sensitive issue, I am sure it is extremely difficult to get to the bottom of what factors are truly the cause for this increase. But it is necessary to note that it is not as simple as claiming it is due to an increase in migrants from a different culture.
Yichen: Another point he brought up in the video is the change in demographic and how the Muslim population is growing due to higher birth rates at lower ages.
If he’s afraid that Islamic ideals will take over, then I’d counter with this: Wouldn’t the future generations be going through Western schooling and be trained in Western thought? As a first generation Chinese, me and many of my friends identify with the Western world far more than our ancestral country. So I say just give these kids schooling, and let them be. In the long run, the UK won’t be overthrown; they’ll have just new faces.
Aris: And as the world becomes more interconnected, that is bound to happen regardless. People from all sorts of backgrounds are moving to different countries, altering the demographics in each country in the process.
Paul Weston also mentioned alongside that point that with the increase in demographic, Muslims will “push” for what they want through terrorism.
I do think they will push for what they want as they grow, but not through terrorism. When any demographic grows, they tend to get more of what they want in a democracy… through voting. As their constituency grows, so will their power. It is a natural occurrence. Just look at the growing power of the Latino base in the US as their population grows.
I do also think that what you brought up, Yichen, in terms of a Western education will have a big impact on the sort of ideals Muslim children will have.
Having said that, it is extremely important to note that not all Middle Eastern immigrants/migrants have ultra conservative ideology; many already share the ideals of Europeans.
Yichen: Terrorism, ruling through fear and oppression, has proven to be ineffective in the long run.
The world is becoming more open to various ethnic groups and cultures. It is becoming part of the status quo for nations; their people travel, go to school overseas, and create economic opportunities with foreigners. It will still take time for different communities to come together, but society can survive, and to the betterment of nations, and the globe, as a whole
The United States is a fairly good example of this, as we proudly call ourselves a “melting pot” of a country. This country’s history is steeped in waves of immigrants from different backgrounds entering and assimilating into the American culture. And each time a different wave from a particular nationality would come in, they would be met with resentment from various factions; The Irish, Italians, Jews, Chinese, Indians, Mexicans, etc, have all faced resistance.
This isn’t to say that the US handled all of this perfectly; there are too many instances where nationalism and fear mongering got the better of citizens and led to serious backlash and, sometimes, violence against immigrants.
But overall, I believe the United States is proof that accepting different people with various beliefs and cultures can actually lead to a strengthened society and economy.
Aris: With that being said, do you think Europe is lost? Paul Weston made it sound like the UK and mainland Europe have less than two decades before they start seeing the “consequences” of the migrants entering the country recently, as well as those that have been entering European countries since the 1970s. He even claimed that he foresees a civil war in Britain!
Yichen: Europe will be fine. Paul Weston brings up some possibly valid concerns, but it also sounds like he is uncomfortable with change. If anything, things should improve 20 years from now as the recent immigrants will have assimilated, and society will have grown to be more accepting to Muslims. And no, Paul, the Muslims are not going to overthrow “the white man” 20 years from now, in fact, all this fear-mongering and anti-Muslim rhetoric only hurts progress.
Aris: As for the concerns of terrorists sneaking in among the migrants in Europe, I do not believe much can be done. If there are individuals out there that truly seek to do westerners harm, they will find the means to do so. This is not to say that we should give up fighting terrorism, on the contrary. But instead of creating more barriers, both physically and metaphorically, between non-Muslims and Muslims (or any people for that matter), let us try to build bridges.
If Europe and the US create environments where every individual feels welcome, those individuals have less reasons to want to harm that environment.
The fear is that all Muslims are supporters of radical Islam. This is not the case. There are extreme groups within every religion. Unfortunately, those who support radical Islam act on their ideals in dangerous ways which leads to the destruction that we see all too regularly.
In order to minimize the threat, we need to remove the leaders of the radical movements in the Middle East while simultaneously accepting and properly educating migrants entering Europe and the US from that area.
So, is Europe’s western civilization in danger from the rise in radical Islamic thought?
Yes and no.
Yes, because it would be foolish to underestimate the potential danger posed by radical groups. But also “yes” because of the rise in nationalist discourse among vocal minorities and even politicians calling for the separation of peoples. This sort of talk is as much of a threat to western civilization, both in Europe and in the United States, as the actions of those supporting radical Islam.
No, because western thoughts and values have influenced many parts of the world. It is highly unlikely that the combined power of the countries in Europe, the United States, Canada, Australia, and beyond will be brought to its knees from the actions of such a relatively small group of individuals.
In summation, the influx of Middle Eastern migrants is not a new phenomenon in history. There are many examples of groups of people moving to different countries, whether it by choice or forced. Western civilization was not toppled in any of these instances.
The concern with this particular group of migrants is that they are leaving countries that are know to be home to radical and dangerous organizations and might be bringing some of those unsavory individuals with them.
Does that mean we should halt the thousands, millions of people from trying to find a better home for themselves and their families? Will the action of stopping them and forcing them to return to war torn areas not cultivate even more anti-western hate?
By showing these asylum seekers and refugees even the most basic hospitality and allow them to assimilate into European (and American) culture, by allowing them to thrive, we may even persuade those tempted by radical thought to rethink their position.
What we at The Motley Experience hoped to accomplish in this article is to bring a different style of discussion than what is commonly seen/heard/read in mainstream media.
What we too often witness is loud, almost propaganda-like, discourse from all sides.
This article is an attempt to approach a relevant, sensitive, and important issue in a thoughtful and respectful manner.
We would like to apologize if we offended any individuals or groups, as that was not out intention.
If we talked about individuals or groups in too general a manner, we also apologize, as we did so only to make the conversation more efficient and easy to follow.
The Motley Experience would like to invite readers to comment on the discussion and add your own opinions.
We do caution you to do so respectfully, as vulgarity and racist comments will not be tolerated.
We hope you, the reader, have enjoyed the read and appreciate the forum we are trying to create.
Aris and Yichen of The Motley Experience