Cultural experiences and funny musings by two twenty-somethings living abroad
Given the recent attacks in Brussels, we are now facing a huge problem with the rapidly changing face of our societies. We no longer feel safe, we are lacking ways in which we could confront the problem and thanks to the refugee crisis, we seem to have become destabilised and very concerned for our own future. This fear and general instability in many European countries is leading to the rise of extremist right-wing parties gaining power and popularity which, as history has taught us, is by far not the greatest solution.
The attacks on civilians, whether here on European soil or in the Middle East are vicious and are supposedly done in the name of religion. This does not help matters when many refugees in Europe are Muslims as well as there being a large (European-born) Muslim population. The fact that there were already feelings of exclusion from society for this minority, is now an even bigger problem. Of course, extremism in all forms does not represent the views of the majority, but what the Western media presents is a very loud picture of Muslims being violent for religious reasons as well as being against Western culture and values.
The problem here is that these recent attacks in European cities have been committed by the very people who were born and raised there. Does this mean that Europe has no place for Muslims or does this mean that there has been a huge lack of integration with the minorities, leading to extremism quickly rising. Furthermore, what does this mean for the new refugees here in Europe if the other minority cultures have been badly integrated?
Amid this backdrop, the arrival of so many people from muslim countries fleeing war and conflict in their home countries is met by some with a great degree of suspicion. It is absolutely worth pointing out that the vast majority of refugees fleeing violence in the Middle East are good people who simply want to rebuild their lives after losing so much. But the inability of the EU to establish effective border controls have allowed European jihadis, who would have gone to Syria to fight for IS, to return undetected among the large number of migrants making their way to Europe. Whatever the solution is for dealing with this however, it is not the actions of German Neo-Nazis who firebomb asylum centres, it is not the actions of the Polish government who are now turning away all migrants in light of the Brussels attacks, and it is not the crackpot idea of those like Donald Trump who somehow thinks building a wall will keep out all of the country’s ills.
Of course, it is still very much up to governments to keep their citizens safe – a feeling that is not shared by many currently in Europe. However, many of their solutions do not actually solve that much or if they do, it would be very short term and would lead to more problems anyway. This is an unfortunate consequence however of the fact that no-one could have predicted the scale of the refugee crisis that was to unfold. And thus in hindsight it does look like Angela Merkel’s decision to adopt an open-door policy actually exacerbated existing problems rather than truly making Germany and Europe the beacon of humanity it would like to be, as there has been a resurgence in the far-right and the three major attacks that took place in the last 15 months or so in Paris and Brussels were committed by people who had received training and funding by Islamic State.
One thing worth mentioning though is that this is not exclusively a European problem. In March this year alone asides from Belgium, Nigeria has been struck, the Ivory Coast has been struck, Iraq has been struck and both Pakistan and Turkey have been struck twice. Of course, most of the news coverage focuses more on Europe as it’s a much closer territory for us therefore a lot more emotion is generated for the readers, however the war has been brewing for quite some time in many other parts of the world. Whilst these terrorist attacks are committed in the name of Islam and the warped beliefs these extremists believe in, the majority of attacks have also been committed against other muslims.
Of course, there is no clear cut end to this in sight however, the extremist terrorist groups will not last for ever and currently, ISIS have lost a significant amount of territory in both Iraq and Syria thanks to the Russian and US led air strikes. The problem of course is their presence now in the West and the terrorist attacks on civilians as well as their threats of many more. It’s this that’s scaring many people into believing immigration is a problem and refugees should not be helped in any way.
This is why instead of succumbing to this campaign of terror, we should instead be united against the people who seek to put innocent people against one another, no matter the ethnicity, colour or religion. One thing is for certain, innocent lives have been lost all around the world, not only due to extremist terrorist groups like ISIS but also government bodies. Someone, somewhere it seems has the mad notion to kill for purpose a, b or c.
We should not turn against each other but instead work together and to understand more the situation at hand.
As a final note, for those who may think it’s predominantly a Muslim problem – we have written an article here detailing why Islam has lost its place in the West.