For those who are moved by the tragic story of individual refugees and are seeking to admit them in large measures, how many should we admit? How many will be enough? The president of the European Union wants the EU to accept 160,000, but what happens when that number barely meets the demand?
Remember, the refugees bring with them the same culture that caused the Middle East to spiral into chaos. Yes, many are victims, and they deserve compassion, aid, food, and shelter. But resettling large numbers of people who come into Western society with the desire to remake it in their image is neither in our interest nor appropriate to our cultural responsibility to succeeding generations.
Large numbers of Muslims have not acculturated into Western society. Our secular values, our historical concerns for individual liberty, and individual freedom stand at variance with a culture based on submission, misogyny, and triumphalism.
A documentary by German public TV shows that Muslim children born in Germany express values that are consonant with their Islamic heritage but at variance with the political socialization they should be experiencing as German citizens who will one day bring their values into the polling booth.
Can German democracy survive when a segment of its citizenry believes that women are inferior beings, that gays are sinners whose fate should be determined by the Sharia, that insulting the Prophet of Islam justifies murder, and that given a choice between the values of German constitutional democracy and Islam, they must choose Islam?
Clearly, one should not tar all Muslims with the same brush, and Muslims, like members of all faiths, practice their religion to varying degrees. At the same time, other religions have evolved and changed. Europe went through the Reformation and Enlightenment. Islam did not.
The version of Islam that blows across the West is the fundamentalist Wahhabi Islam of the desert, one that is propagated by Saudi riches and is reinforced by a revival of Islamic fundamentalism across the world.
The Middle East refugee problem is not Europe’s problem, as a New York Times headline tells us. It is Islam’s problem. It is a manifest failure of Islam to evolve beyond its desert roots that has produced strife from Africa to the Maghreb to the Tigris/Euphrates. It is as if Islam were now experiencing the Christian wars of the early Reformation and expecting the Christian West to rescue it from itself.
This is not an argument for failing to exercise compassion, but to recognize that compassion and permanent resettlement are not one and the same. The Middle East refugee problem should not be the reason for the West’s commission of political and cultural suicide. In too many parts of Europe, there is a discussion of one country, two different worlds, to describe the parallel and separate society Muslims have created in Western culture in order to further their own culture.
Cultural equality is a myth fostered by a multicultural vision that exists mostly in college classrooms. A culture of repression is not equal to a culture of tolerance, unless one is willing not to see tolerance as a virtue.
If the West were obligated to take in and resettle refugees from every strife-torn nation, there would no longer be a West. It would be overrun by refugees who refuse to be acculturated, and who carry their internecine conflicts into the refugee camps themselves, where Christians and Yezidis fear to go because of Muslim bullying, where even among Muslims nationalism revives ancient conflicts.
Although Germany is nominally a Christian nation, Muslims bully Christians out of German government-provided public housing, showing that even in the face of common adversity, there is no such thing as multiculturalism among the refugees. The same cultural oppression has taken place in Sweden.
In speaking of the refugee problem, President Obama has appealed to our historic roots as a nation of immigrants. Yes, we are a nation of immigrants, and between 1880 and 1920 we received, almost without restriction, all those that Europe sent to us, whether Sicilian Catholics, Scandinavian Protestants, or the Christian Orthodox of Eastern Europe. Despite their differences, they had one thing in common. They did not just yearn to come to America; they yearned to be Americans.
No nation can afford to open its doors to those who choose to be a people apart, absorbing the largess of a society, including its welfare, medical care, and education, while seeking to establish a parallel world. That’s not an immigration policy that advances a culture. It is one that causes its disintegration.
Abraham H. Miller is an emeritus professor of political science, University of Cincinnati, and a senior fellow with the Salomon Center for American Jewish Thought. This article originally appeared in The American Spectator and is reprinted with permission of the author.