An intifada in Europe

It is clear that many, perhaps the majority, of first and second generation Islamic cultural background ‘settlers’ have values at variance with prevailing ‘European’ values and codes of conduct

Reading Raphael Vassallo’s interview last Sunday with Silvan Agius, newly-appointed director of the Human Rights and Integration Commission, made me think back to MEP Elisabetta Gardini’s intervention in the European Parliament in Strasbourg just a few days earlier, on 25 November, 2015.

Speaking during the debate on the outcome of the Valletta summit of 11 and 12 November, 2015 and of the G20 summit of 15 and 16 November, 2015, she made reference to the matter of a possible link between terrorism and migration, and asked a very simple question “If we have been unable to integrate those who came here and grew up here how will we be able to integrate the many who are arriving now?” 

It is clear that there are many Muslim cultural background individuals who are fully ‘integrated’ in French, Belgian, British and other European societies. Halima Saadi and her sister Hodda Saadi, Kheireddine Sahbi, Mohamed Amine Ibnolmobarak, and Salah Emad El-Gebaly were following eminently European pursuits such as listening to a concert or sipping a glass of wine with friends when they were slaughtered like sheep during the recent attacks in Paris.

Nevertheless, it is now also clear that many, perhaps the majority, of first and second generation Islamic cultural background ‘settlers’ have values at variance with prevailing ‘European’ values and codes of conduct, with thousands having gone off to fight with Daesh (aka ISIS/ISIL) and hundreds of thousands, possibly millions, sympathising with them. 

A fascinating study a few years back published in Studies in Conflict and Terrorism  in mid-2011 entitled “An Intifada in Europe: A Comparative Analysis of Radicalization Processes among Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza versus Muslim Immigrants in Europe” highlights the uncanny similarities between two seemingly very diverse phenomena.

The writer, Boaz Ganor, puts forward interventions that could delay if not avoid the emergence of a European Intifada, a phenomenon which would have disastrous consequences not just for European societies in general but I suspect even more so for European Muslims in particular.

In the meantime, I see no reason to change even one word of what I wrote in a letter to this same newspaper ten years ago, on 1 January, 2006, entitled “The Limits to Multiculturalism”:

“There is no doubt that the way ahead is not particularly palatable for those of us who think that human beings from different backgrounds should be able to live in peace and harmony, but I sincerely believe that it is a matter of choosing the lesser evil. I am of the opinion that European governments should, first of all, really endeavour to ensure that none of their citizens are marginalized.

“Secondly, they should not vacillate about the upholding of core values, which should be upheld and defended against all comers. For example, they should not, out of some misplaced sense of political correctness, fail to make clear that certain behaviour such as the subordination of women is not only unacceptable but will also be severely sanctioned.

“Thirdly, and perhaps most controversially, they should seek to attend to their manpower needs internally in the first instance and from culturally kindred societies in the second instance. As regards those countries, such as Malta, which do not yet have sizeable minorities which cannot a priori be easily assimilated for a number of reasons, then no effort should be spared to prevent entry in the first place.”