In 2016 the world was shaken by two seismic events: Britain’s referendum to exit the European Union and America’s election of Donald Trump as its next president.
Myths and super myths
Both cases were considered by some as a shift to the Right, a repudiation of the Left, a rebellion of the down trodden white proletariat victims of globalization and liberalism who did not seem to share in their nation’s growing economic cake. Others explained both events in terms of identity politics, we are being overrun by aliens who are taking our jobs and homes, our jobs are being exported to Mexico, China is flooding us with cheap goods, and in the case of Brexit our laws are being hijacked by foreign bureaucrats in Brussels, we are losing our independence and identity as a nation.
The above statements are simplifications perpetrated by politicians’ spin to a populace imbued with ignorance and fear. In the words of Stephen Colbert, we now live in the era of “truthiness” where political narrative with no basis in fact feels right to the average person who is desperate to believe in whatever fits his pre-existent attitudes. In this Not-so-Brave New World we inhabit, also referred to as the post-truth world, our deeply rooted views are our facts and all we seek are conclusions to support these facts and not ones to question them or disprove them.
The basic facts are now clear. Brexiters and Trumpers won the arguments by spreading false information however inconvenient or uncomfortable it was, bogus statistics and references to deep rooted nationalism.
Xenophobia and fear of the perceived invasion of aliens were the two issues common to all Brexiters and Trumpers, be they redundant industrial workers in Chicago, unemployed English Northerners, or English Seniors who have been witnessing the slow transformation of their country and look back with nostalgia to the “good old days”. No one seems to have told the disaffected that we live in a rapidly changing world in which what applied yesterday does not necessarily apply today.
When dissected, the main arguments for Brexit (Control of money, Laws, borders and sovereignty) do not survive under the microscope of clinical scrutiny. Most of those concerns could have easily been resolved within the legal EU framework. In other words, Brexiters sold nationalist slogans which they knew would appeal to the peoples’ most basic fears and ignorance. Give us our nation back was their motto unaware that in this globalized world, the days of nation states are fading away and will soon become a relic of the past.
There was however one glaring twist in the narrative relating to immigration. Whilst there was no “invasion of aliens” Europeans and Americans have become fearful of one strand of immigrants whom they rightly considered a danger to their peace and security. In Europe, this danger was ignored and glossed over by liberals and only clearly highlighted by extreme Right wing parties. In the UK Brexit chief advocate Nigel Farage referred to “reaching a Breaking Point” particularly regarding the 80 million Turks (the entire population of the country!) who would be eligible to come to Europe/England once their country became a member of the EU, which as things stand now is highly unlikely to happen.
This issue was bundled into one generic package under the heading of immigration/border security which included both migrants from outside the EU and workers from within EU nations who had the legal right to move freely within the Union.
The flaw in this argument is glaring. To give but one example, of the three million EU migrants living in the UK one million are Polish. They have the highest rate of individuals in employment among all ethnic groups in the country. Until Brexit raised its ugly head there were few issues of assimilation or integration with Poles and other East European citizens. East European immigrants do not owe loyalty to a higher authority. Also, Brexit advocates did not point out to their prospective voters that migrants are a net benefit to the growing economies of Europe in a continent of falling birth rate (1.8 per woman in the UK and much lower in most other EU nations).
EU migrants living in the UK became the unforeseen casualty of a misleading narrative by self-serving politicians who did not dare nor wished, due to Political Correctness to call a spade a spade.
Whilst there is a case for stating that mass immigration, regardless of the country of origin, has placed a heavy burden on schools, hospitals and the welfare state, which must be addressed, leaving the EU is not the answer and will not by itself address these legitimate concerns.
This brings us to the elephant in the room. Ultimately the reason why a majority voted for Brexit and for Trump can be summed up in one word, Islam or to put it more accurately the fear of the creeping islamisation of Europe. In earlier times when there was no perceived Islamic terrorism few people paid much attention to Islam as a religion. However, recent terrorist attacks in Europe as well as the arrival of over a million mostly Muslim refugees in early 2016 have stirred fear in the hearts of Europeans and focused their attention on the continent’s Muslim population.
Source: Global Religious Futures Project
Interest in Islam itself peaked and a lot of research and analysis of the religion is taking place. What is Islam? Is it a religion or an ideology? “Why do Muslims hate us” have become common questions asked by ordinary citizens when discussing recent events. And as Muslims clearly do hate us, why then do they keep coming to live amongst us?
Before the recent spate of terrorist attacks, calls for restrictions on Islamic immigration were few and far between and went unheeded because they came mostly from fringe right wing parties. By 2016 however every citizen in Europe knows who Islamic State, Boko Haram, Al Qaeda, Taliban and many others are and that these organizations are responsible for all terrorism in Europe and almost everywhere else in the world. When Marie Le Pen leader of the National Front in France warned against Islamic terror, she was accused of being a racist, and an “Islamophobe” Her views on this matter and probably only on this matter are now accepted by a considerable majority of French citizens. In most EU nations, what was once considered fringe is now becoming mainstream.
After the referendum in the UK and the victory of Trumpism in the US, European centrist politicians began to wake up to this ticking bomb in the body politic of their nations. Francois Holland, the socialist President of France was reported to have confided to two Le Monde journalists recently that “France has a problem with Islam” and that “there are too many Muslim immigrants in the country”. These remarks were made in private but not repeated in public. Holland’s PM at the time Manuel Valls, also warned that the EU project will fall apart if the concerns of the citizens on Islamic immigration are not addressed.
Many political observers believe that now is the time for Europe’s centrist political leaders to call for a complete halt on Islamic immigration. It is also time for leftists and liberals to rid themselves of their delusion that Islam is a religion of peace.
Islam of today is the very same Islam of the seventh century. Hatred and non-acceptance of others is part and parcel of the religion. Any reader of the Hadiths and of the Quran in Arabic will find numerous suras advocating violence against non-Muslims. This is where the terrorists seek justification and solace for their violence.
Unreformed seventh century Islam, in practice today, will continue to spawn terror groups who will find ample justifications for their actions in the Islamic scriptures. In other words, they will consider their terror to be no more than the fulfilment of Allah’s commands.
Most citizens of Europe are now aware of this fact and see no immediate alternative other than the total ban on Islamic immigration until the seventh century scriptures on which the Islamic edifice is constructed are updated and humanised to conform to twenty first century morality and internationally accepted values.
Failing this, the alternative will inevitably be a steady drift to the bosom of extreme nationalist parties who appear to be the only parties to echo the inner fears of ordinary citizens. This alternative is catastrophic to the future stability of the continent and invokes memories of 1933. And with every terrorist attack this nightmare scenario will loom closer.