cassowary wrote: ↑
Wed Jan 17, 2018 7:58 am
On a related matter, I see a difference in opinion between those who live in regions that do not have historic contact with Islam from those that do. In Europe, the division is stark. Western Europe tells us that Islam is a peaceful religion and welcome Muslim refugees while Eastern Europe is adamant that they do not come in.
I guess East Europe have heroes in their history books that fought Islam and martyrs that died at the hands of Islam. West Europe, apart from Spain had not been conquered. The Indian sub-continent which had for centuries experienced the brutality of Islamic conquest view Islam with fear and hatred while N America despite 911 also say that Islam is peace.
A shrewd observation Cassowary.
A. In the case of the Western democracies: I suspect that you have lost sight of the fact that politics is a rather dishonest game. Yes, even in my country: except for the odd discordant, maverick voice like that of Pauline Hanson; our parliamentarians keep on telling us that "islam is a religion of peace". The mass media likewise take up that litany. But do they really believe the tosh that they spout? In most cases I fear not! I have reason to believe that they do that for the dual purpose of 1. calming the fears of their non-Muslim majority constituents so that these do not take matters into their own hands and commit violence against the local Muslims and 2. to calm the fears of the local Muslims to mitigate alienation and give them the feeling of inclusiveness; to disarm these of an incentive to become supporters of violently radical groups like ISIS.
Quite apart from acting like responsible leadership, a calm community is easier to manage. Opinion formers like politicians and news editors are not in the business of being soothsayers and prophets; purveyors of universal truths but are into something closer to crowd management. So they follow the path of expediency and convenience upon which as lie is as good as the truth as long as it serves a useful purpose.
The lands of eastern Europe were right up until about 1990 under the thumb of the Soviet Union. Historically this has been the poorer and more backward half of Europe and whilst I believe that they have made remarkable [progress in the quarter century since the Soviet empire bit the dust the gap between these and the more affluent countries along Europe's Atlantic seaboard has still not closed. Succinctly, the east Europeans likely do not want to find their hard won prosperity snatched away from them by influxes of unwonted aliens.
The west Europeans are far more accustomed to having non-Western foreigners in their midst: bearing in mind that it was from these countries that around half a millennium ago ships set out into the unplumbed Atlantic Ocean to explore the World and bring home its riches. An enterprise the lands of eastern Europe were excluded from due to these being largely landlocked.
Special mention should be made of Germany. When its leader Angela Merkel made the fateful decision that Germany should take in up to a million Syrian refugees she was thinking in terms of her country living down its Nazi past. Unfortunately Frau
Merkel seems to have been very out of touch with her constituents. Many ordinary Germans disapproved even of the foreigners of Muslim heritage (such as the Turks) who had already settled in their country in large numbers so the decision to admit so many Syrians must have been the last straw.
Worth noting that the biggest public backlash came from eastern Germany - the former Communist part. The toxins left behind by a regime like that do not disappear overnight.
Germany in my eyes is a freakish sort of place. It has the strongest economy in Europe and its folk, at least on the western side of the country, enjoy living standards that are among the best Europe has on offer. Yet always memory of the two World Wars and the spectre of their national socialist past (along with fear of a re-run) hangs over what might otherwise be a very cheerful scenario like a permanent sullen, depressing, dark cloud.