Is the West turning its back on ‘multi-kulti’?
In October, Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, joined a growing debate on immigration. Multiculturalism had “utterly failed”, she said.
To balance this somewhat racist statement, she admitted that Islam “is part of Germany”.
Horst Seehofer, chief of the Christian Social Union, the Bavarian sister party that supports Merkerl’s ruling Christian Democratic Union (CDU), said Germany needed no Muslims from Turkey or the Arab world.
In Netherlands, the recently elected minority government survives on support from a Muslim-baiting populist.
In Tennessee, US, residents in September moved a court to block construction of a mosque, arguing that if it came up, the place would be at risk of “terrorism”, “sexual abuse of children”, “death edicts” and anti-Constitutionalism, etc. It is a different matter that mosques have existed for decades in America without infringing on its Constitution and there are two Muslim Congressmen, one of who took oath of office with his hand on the Quran.
Britain has announced its intent to limit the number of economic migrants from outside the European Union. The move stems from a Conservative poll promise to cut overall annual immigration.
All of the above, one way or the other, are instances of a West turning its back on Muslims and Islam. Some of these measures and behaviour go against reason and even human rights.
Half of Britain’s immigrants are Britons who stayed abroad or Europeans from EU countries, who enjoy unrestricted movement across member states.
According to Eurostat agency, if one looks at the distribution of non-EU foreigners by continent of origin, the “largest proportion of them are citizens of a European country (37%, corresponding to 7.2 million people), of whom more than half are citizens either of Turkey, or of Albania or of Ukraine”.
Africa accounts for the second biggest group (25%), followed by Asia (20%), America (17%) and Oceania (1%).
European governments have no effective control over people leaving but want curbs on people arriving. This will disrupt the natural balance of economic migrations, i.e. both immigration (inbound) and emigration (outbound).
Eurostat data show that during 2008 about 3.8 million people immigrated into one of the EU member states. In 2008, the total recorded emigration was 2.3 million people.
Europe no longer allows unskilled migrants. So, the cap hurts only skilled and highly skilled categories of immigrations, such as IT professionals, doctors and service staff.
On the other hand, American and European job-seekers are fanning out across countries, especially the Middle-east. Most European car-makers that operate in India have non-Indian CEOs, for example.
Europe is railing against Muslim immigrants when it needs them still. Germany’s shortage of skilled labour in 2009 cost its economy $12 billion. On the other hand, migrants in that country fare poorly on socio-economic indicators.
Migrants eating into natives’ share may be a valid concern. But that calls for enhancing employability of natives, not stifling immigrants who possess skills. Yet, the statistics can be baffling at times. In 2008, more migrants (16.4%) were without jobs than locals (7.5%) in Germany
A majority of Germans may feel threatened by Muslim immigrants and “fear Islam”. However, history needs to retold. The fall of the Wall in Berlin fused two Germanys – one richer and the other poorer – into one. Berlin went bankrupt.
Faced with a sliding GDP and severely lacking skilled workforce, Germany launched a liberal immigration policy, which attracted immigration. If Muslims filled a gap in your economy when you needed them to, you cannot kick them out now. People stay on, strike roots and spread. That’s how immigration goes. Germany cannot conveniently switch between Leitkultur (being German) and being multikulturell. It should rather stick to the latter.