First-Person Testimonial from a Former Refugee Volunteer

This is a young German guy who, by his own information, studies computer science. Let's call him Udo. When huge numbers of migrants began arriving in 2015, he decided to volunteer to help some of them learn German and navigate German society. After negative experiences with the first two migrants he was assigned to help, he was then assigned to a young Syrian man in his early 20s. Let's call the Syrian guy Halil. 

Udo's task was to spend time one-on-one with Halil, teaching him about Germany, helping him with bureaucratic stuff, and generally hanging out. Udo went to restaurants and the movies with Halil, helped him with German, and talked to him for hours about his legal case and his background.

In the video, starting at abour 12:00, Udo describes the experiences with Halil that left him fully disillusioned and led him to stop volunteer work. Here's my summary of the main points in English. 

  • Halil was first registered as a refugee in Italy, and was supposed to be deported back there under existing EU law. Halil hired a lawyer, who won the case and got him a permit to stay in Germany. He then sent Halil a bill for €600. Halil was "outraged" that he was expected to pay for the lawyers' services, because after all, he had won the case.
  • When Udo told Halil that he, Udo, was an atheist, Halil was stunned, and his reaction was somewhat menacing. He said of course there was only one God, Allah, and everyone should believe in him. Halil thought it was a miracle Udo was "still alive" because God would not protect atheists. Halil drinks and smokes.
  • Halil said he believes nobody in Germany has to work, they get free money from the government. He said this is a common belief in Syria, and that is why many people are coming. When Udo explained this is not the case, Halil refused to believe him. Udo found it remarkable that in the age of the Internet, Halili had never bothered to try to find out whether this bizarre rumor was true or not.
  • Back in Syria, Halil was was the 'ass' of the family, his father bossed him around and forced him to run errands. They sent him to get the free money in Germany because he didn't seem to have much of a promising life ahead of him. When asked directly by Udo, Halil said his family had no problems in Syria, and that they were not going to try to follow him because "they're doing OK" there.
  • Halil claimed that he had studied, computer science. Udo was thrilled to hear this, and said "That's great news! Germany needs people like you, with skills. You could have a great future here." But when Udo, who studies computer science himself, actually questioned Halil, it turned out he was completely ignorant on the subject. Either standards in Syria are incredibly low, Udo decided, or Halil had simply told him a bare-faced lie ("knallhart gelogen"). Udo tends to think the latter.
  • Halil said there was drug dealing in the migrant shelter every night. Nobody has ever been arrested for it, and Halil assumed it was either not against the law, or tolerated. When Udo told him it was against the law, Halil became frightened of being arrested. The migrant shelter is right next to a middle school. Udo said it made him angry to learn that there was an active drug market in the migrant shelter right next to a middle school, and that the police were had done nothing. Udo thought the "rumors" about migrant selling drugs were "right-wing propaganda", but no longer believes this.
  • The straw that broke the camel's back, according to Udo, was when Halil reacted with rage to an official letter saying that he should begin looking for an apartment, which would be funded by the state, but that he should limit himself to under 50 square meters (538 square feet). He protested: "How can I live in a place that small?" Udo, being a student, lives in a 23-square-meter apartment, and must pay for it himself. Udo said he fould Halil's demanding attitude so frustrating that he called up the volunteer service and withdrew from the program.
  • Udo concludes by noting that he continues to be sympathetic to refugees and to treat each case on its own merits. However, the media "have not shown" many of the less-appealing sides of the issue. From his own personal experience, he now believes many of the things that he used to consider right-wing lies and propaganda are true.

On his YouTube page Udo has turned off comments, because there was so much nastiness from all sides. I have to say I think what he did takes courage, and I appreciate it. Udo mockery will not be tolerated in the comments here, either.

I have one comment about Halil being the "ass" of the family. I get the strong impression that this is extremely common among migrants. The stories of migrants who appear to have mental problems (low cognitive ability and non-existent impulse control) are legion. Some have burned down their own shelters, many commit crimes on impulse and don't even bother to flee, they get blind drunk on alcohol and engage in all sorts of antisocial behavior. And this doesn't even count the tens of thousands of career petty criminals. There are, by now, thousands, of reports of sexual assaults by migrants. The same goes for migrants on trains or buses who begin staring at a female, then expose their penises and masturbate.

In a crowded train car.

That sort of behavior is not normal anywhere. Which leads me to believe that when families are deciding which young male to send off at to get a job -- or free money -- in Germany, they are likely to send the young men who are "touched in the head". After all, if you have four sons, and three of them are gainfully employed or already fathers, but one has never fit in and causes you constant trouble, who are you going to send off to the West to cast an anchor on the shores of paradise? You send off the Halils. After all, there are no special education classes or government programs for the mentally challenged in most Arab countries. If Halil leaves, your family gets rid of a troublemaker who costs money and constantly threatens the family honor, and in return you get a chance to relocate to Germany. From their perspective, it's win-win.

 


Immigration Skepticism is a Revolt Against the Elites

Megan McArdle talks to ordinary middle-class English people about immigration in Luton: 

I bought some Polish sausage and pastry at an off-license, some Indian dumplings and Thai noodles at a couple of food trucks, and I sat on a bench in the mall, listening to people from three continents chat with each other in more than half a dozen languages, none of which I spoke.

As an American, this did not strike me as odd; this is what our cities have been like for centuries, particularly on the coasts. One group of immigrants moves in, creates an enclave, then gets rich, assimilates and moves out, making way for the next group that will throw a little of their food, their language and their customs into our vast melting pot. But this is not normal in most of the world. Nor is it necessarily welcome.

Anti-immigration sentiment in the U.S. is often found in places that don’t have enormous immigrant populations, and wonks who proclaim this to be irrational seem not to grasp that those people may be looking at the places that have been transformed by immigration and responding with a fervent “No, thank you.” There’s a lot to be gained from globalism, the mixing of two or more cultures into something new. But something specific and local and much-loved is inevitably lost at the same time, and the people who feel that loss most keenly are the inward-looking people who stay in place, not internationalist elites.

So it’s not that my food was bad -- it was all quite good -- or that there was anything wrong with the immigrants serving and eating it. They all looked like quite nice people. But it was all very different from traditional British food, traditional British people. And no matter how hard we try to argue that it doesn’t matter, it does -- politically, if in no other way. Especially when things aren’t going all that well for the natives.

Somehow, over the last half-century, Western elites managed to convince themselves that nationalism was not real. Perhaps it had been real in the past, like cholera and telegraph machines, but now that we were smarter and more modern, it would be forgotten in the due course of time as better ideas supplanted it.

That now seems hopelessly naive. People do care more about people who are like them -- who speak their language, eat their food, share their customs and values. And when elites try to ignore those sentiments -- or banish them by declaring that they are simply racist -- this doesn’t make the sentiments go away. It makes the non-elites suspect the elites of disloyalty. For though elites may find something vaguely horrifying about saying that you care more about people who are like you than you do about people who are culturally or geographically further away, the rest of the population is outraged by the never-stated corollary: that the elites running things feel no greater moral obligation to their fellow countrymen than they do to some random stranger in another country. And perhaps we can argue that this is the morally correct way to feel -- but if it is truly the case, you can see why ordinary folks would be suspicious about allowing the elites to continue to exercise great power over their lives.

Much of what is foolish and tendentious in the German immigration debate is caused by the failure to realize that immigration affects people in different social classes differently. The Europhile consultants in Prenzlauer Berg associate immigration mainly with delectable ethnic food and cheaper home renovations. As long as they are unable to understand why supermarket cashiers don't share this view, they will continue being (hypocritically, disingenuously) baffled by anti-immigrant sentiment.


"A large swath of the Muslim-majority world has a serious problem with gays."

In the New Republic, Omer Aziz takes up a theme I've posted about before many, many times:

Growing up, I attended Koran classes in Toronto every day between the age of 6 and 16. I have traveled around the world and discussed Islam in Geneva, Jordan, Jerusalem, Iraq, and Turkey. I harbor no resentments towards Islam, and despite my current agnosticism, I still call myself a Muslim because the world of Islam has been an integral part of my identity for my entire life. I confess that when discussing Islam with white people, the writer in me tussles with the spokesman who seems to overtake the wheel of my mind, responsibly steering the conversation away from moral gray areas. The offer to become an informant on one’s culture will be familiar to any minority writer, as well as the guilt that comes with confirming a white person’s presumptions that a non-white culture may be inferior. The native informant trap is all too real for any non-white writer and must be avoided; it is doubly real for Muslims who can easily cash in by criticizing their own kind.

With all of that being said, the Orlando killer was a Muslim, and so it is worth stating this in the clearest possible terms: A large swath of the Muslim-majority world has a serious problem with gays. No, Islam does not have a monopoly on homophobia. Countries like Jamaica, Honduras, Uganda, Russia, and China have all passed anti-gay legislation. In America, Lawrence v. Texas, the pivotal Supreme Court Case that struck down the ban on homosexual sex, was decided just 13 years ago, in a 6-3 vote. Both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton opposed same-sex marriage in 2008. During the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s, gays were evicted from their houses, fired from their jobs, and turned away from hospitals. Even after they had left this earth, their dead bodies were rejected by funeral homes. The great Martin Luther King thought homosexuality was a mental illness, which is probably why the great James Baldwin never spoke at the March on Washington.

Still, there is no getting around the truth that homophobia is rampant in the Muslim world. It is clerically justified and socially defended. Fifty-one states constitute the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), and ten of them punish homosexual activity with the death penalty, including Afghanistan, where the Orlando killer traced his roots. Nearly all the others have criminalized homosexuality with sentences ranging from one month to life in prison. Gays and lesbians are viewed as demonically inverting nature, as sinners, freaks, deviants, corrupters, insurrectionists, miscreants. Their sexual orientation shames whole families into denouncing them. They live in perpetual fear and perpetual hiding....

Even among far too many Muslims in the West—especially young Muslim males—homophobia takes on either a passive, silent form or an aggressive, vociferous one. In all those years in Koran classes, there was no end to the round-bellied mullahs opining on the Jews or the gays as we children unthinkingly nodded along. The word “faggot” was used as a routine epithet in our vocabulary, a stand-in insult for anything—what did it matter what the Koran said about swearing? Even as an adult, I have found myself time and again in conversations with young Pakistani or Indian or Afghan or Iraqi or Somali men (women tend to be more open-minded), and have heard such grotesquely homophobic comments in such casual tones that it was clear that homophobia was encoded in their—our—brains. I recall one such conversation from a few summers ago when a young Muslim man my age justified the stoning of gays because he said it was in the Koran. When I pressed him on whether he would stone gays himself, he said no, because the Koran stipulated four witnesses to the act and so corporal punishment for gays would never be a concern. (The Koran actually says nothing about stoning gays.) If you are a Muslim and think I am exaggerating about Muslim attitudes towards gays, walk into your local mosque this Friday and inform the imam that you are gay and watch his response. A shield of white liberal guilt protects socially conservative minorities from having their positions challenged, and this shield is harmful—it turns the intellectual space into a cultural ghetto where stale ideas become barriers impermeable to dissent and diversity....

Sexual repression breeds maniacal obsessions. The old men who spend all their waking moments trying to veil women are themselves responding to the self-hatred that comes from self-abnegation. The young men who are tormented by the thought that two gay people might be in love somewhere are, in fact, bedeviled by the belief deep in their hearts that others are free but they themselves are chained to an antiquated morality. Something has gone terribly wrong in the mental and sexual life of a culture—once rich in diversity—when it is hijacked by a conservative puritanism that is autocratically enforced by repressed men.

Laws that are both impossible to follow and impossible not to break create a terrorizing bipolarity in the minds of individuals and the societies they inhabit. Such customs are passed on from generation to generation, abetted by an elaborate facade of traditional purity. These facades are exposed the moment they are challenged, but challenging them comes with consequences, often fatal. Thus, many Muslim families in the West still practice first-cousin marriage despite the many health risks this carries. In what twisted morality is dating bad but borderline incest ok? Homosexuality sinful but grandfathers marrying teenage girls virtuous?...

The fact that a gay bar was attacked by a Muslim man is not to be brushed aside or understated—it is the unconscionable but predictable consequence of a deep-seated homophobia. Which brings me back to the alleged homosexuality of the Orlando killer. His sexual orientation is not a laughing matter, nor is the Muslim-majority world’s attitudes towards gays “irrelevant,” as Yasir Qadhi said. Mateem’s sexual orientation and what Islamic culture says about homosexuality are central to this massacre. The killer’s unrelenting homophobia was a lethal synthesis of what he knew was true about himself and what he knew his fellow Muslims thought of gays. He appears to have been rejecting his own homosexual impulses, which are as natural as heterosexual impulses. His father was himself ruthlessly homophobic. Mateem was afraid of his god, of what his family would say, of how his culture would condemn him, and so his visceral shame became visceral hatred.

Muslim leaders have repeatedly been silent on the sufferings of LGBTQ individuals. They have treated them as though they were unworthy of god’s love. But in debasing gays, Islam’s homophobes have only debased themselves. The battle for civil rights and for dignity will never be won, peace in the Muslim-majority world will never be won, freedom of thought and conscience will never be won, until and unless a sexual revolution accompanies an intellectual one.

One of the reasons to oppose the uncontrolled mass migration of hundreds of thousands of young uneducated Muslim males (all of those adjectives are important -- let's abbreviate them as the suspiciously gay-sounding YUMMs) to Europe is because it will be bad for gays here. I know plenty of gay people, and I appreciate the fact that Germany is one of the most tolerant places in the world. Mass immigration of YUMMs will impair, and possibly destroy that. There are already hundreds of reports of gay or effeminate migrants being threatened, harassed, and beaten in German migrant shelters.

Pro-immigration groups have responded in three ways to this urgent problem.

The first is to denounce anyone who refers to it as xenophobic and racist. However, this strategy quickly ran into a buzz-saw of enraged opposition, and has shown rapidly-diminishing returns. If you spend enough time denouncing reasonable people as xenophobes and racists, the tables quickly turn and you begin to look like the screeching fanatic.

The second is to point out that there are anti-gay people and groups in Germany, as well. While this is certainly true, it's easily countered by two observations. First, while some Germans privately disapprove of homosexuality, it is quite rare for them to openly insult or attack people merely because they are gay. Germany is without doubt one of the most tolerant societies for homosexuals in the world today, and anyone who disputes this has lost touch with reality. Second, the observation that there are Germans with backward views is hardly an argument to import more people with backward views. If you're in a hole, stop digging.

The third response is to call for 'integration' courses in which a pony-tailed social worker explains why it's wrong to insult, beat, or kill gays. This course, it is assumed, will magically cause hundreds of thousands of people to abandon their most deeply-held convictions. This assumption is, of course, a fantasy. No self-respecting European urban liberal would ever agree to despise homosexuals simply because they relocated to a country in which that attitude is common. They may say they believe YUMMs will do the converse, but they probably don't. The question of what happens if the YUMMs don't change their mind is never addressed by pro-immigration groups.

Anyone who wishes to immigrate to Germany for any reason should be grilled extensively on their attitudes toward homosexuals. They don't need to agree to dance in a Christopher Street Day parade in crotchless chaps, but they must endorse complete tolerance toward gays and a categorical rejection of any form of persecution of them. If they show any deep-seated antagonism toward gays, they should be put on a permanent blacklist. Period.

Does this policy hold immigrants to a higher standard than Germans? Yes, and that's a feature, not a bug. As noted above: if in hole, stop digging.

Would this policy result in the exclusion of genuine refugees because they hate gays? Yes, and that's a feature, not a bug. If their hatred of gays is so important to them, let them seek refuge in a country in which that attitude is common. Providing asylum is a humanitarian duty, but it is not absolute. It can and should be balanced against the host country's legitimate needs.

Does this policy privilege gay citizens and residents of Germany above foreigners? Yes, and that's a feature, not a bug. The needs of people already in your country who have rights should always take precedence over the needs of outsiders seeking to make use of the mere privilege of immigration.

Will this policy privilege worldly, educated, tolerant Muslim immigrants over YUMMs? Yes, and that's a feature, not a bug.

Why is any of this controversial?


"Are 'Safe Zones For Women' Europe's Future?"

Swedish columnist Paulina Neuding bluntly states some uncomfortable truths: 

Indeed, the refugee crisis in Europe is more a matter of culture than of numbers. And cultural clashes are much harder to address than logistics – especially once they leave the regulated confines of the asylum center, which can mitigate potential conflicts with surveillance and design. How will individuals who cannot share a shelter with gays and Christians without harassing them be able to integrate into liberal European societies?

The German and Swedish governments have not placed a high priority on addressing this question. In fact, both have failed to take seriously the cultural differences – on issues like women’s rights, minority rights, family honor, and individual liberties – between asylum-seekers, mainly from the Middle East and North Africa, and the European societies where they hope to live. In Sweden, in particular, a strong commitment to political correctness has severely limited public debate.

In ignoring these differences, the political elites in both Germany and Sweden are risking some of their countries’ most valuable social assets, including security, stability, equality, tolerance, and individual freedom. Yet they fail to note these risks. They act like their hard-won social advantages are inexhaustible natural resources, rather than the product of centuries of development – a product that is far more fragile than is widely assumed.

Perhaps the most obvious example of the threat European societies faces occurred in Cologne, Germany, on New Year’s Eve, when more than 600 women were sexually assaulted – and in some cases also robbed – by large gangs of men, most of whom were illegal immigrants or asylum-seekers. Only four of the 153 suspects detained were German nationals.

Though mass sexual abuse is not unheard of in Europe, it has historically occurred only during conflicts – for example, during the Balkan wars of the 1990s and in the areas occupied by the Soviet Red Army at the end of World War II. What happened in Cologne last December has no equivalent in peacetime Western Europe.

Nor was it a one-off event. Shortly after the news of the Cologne attacks broke, it was revealed that similar attacks had taken place at the We Are Stockholm youth festival in the Swedish capital two years in a row, with young refugee men encircling and sexually assaulting teenage girls. Police had to escort 200 male attendees from the festival area last year....

In response to the mounting anecdotal evidence of sexual abuse, Swedish police undertook an analysis of all harassment that has been occurring in public spaces. Their findings confirm that there is a problem with immigrants acting in groups to attack women and girls.

In response to this so-called “culture clash,” Sweden has launched an initiative to educate young asylum-seekers about gender equality. Likewise, Germany created an informational website, offering advice on sex and sexuality, among other topics. Whether or not such initiatives ultimately have an impact, there is no denying that in Germany and Sweden – two of the world’s most open, tolerant, and equitable societies – women and girls now face a new reality....

Large numbers of police, together with safe zones for women, helped to protect against mass sexual assaults at the carnival festivities in Cologne in February. But, as the debate over refugees rages on, one must ask: Are “safe zones for women” Europe’s future?


Immigration Policy Should Exclude Crackpots and Fanatics

The father of the Orlando shooter, an Afghan immigrant who came to the USA sometime in the 1980s, hates homosexuals just as much as his son did, but thinks we should leave it to God to punish them. Plus, he makes long, rambling, controversial YouTube videos about obscure ethnic conflicts which have nothing to do with the US. This case raises the same questions as the Tsarnaev case: Why is the US welcoming and granting citizenship to crackpots with medieval views from the most unstable parts of the world? The question is also obviously relevant to contemporary Germany.

Being permitted to live in another country is not a right, it's a privilege -- I should know, I'm doing it now. A country's constitutional guarantees only apply with full force to nationals of that country who are within its borders. The USA, like any other country, is permitted to discriminate on any basis it chooses when it comes to deciding who should be permitted to relocate permanently to within its borders. This is why Donald Trump's proposal to ban Muslim immigration is quite possibly constitutional, as long as it's not applied to US citizens. It may be a bad idea, it may be bigoted, but it's not against the law.
 
Many people have some vague idea that countries are not allowed to engage in ethnic and religious discrimination when it comes to immigrants. There must be some international treaty or something that says this is not allowed, right? The answer is no: There never has been, and there never will be. Countries may voluntarily bind themselves to non-discrimination in immigration, but no international law can force them to do so. It's the privilege of any nation to choose whom it wishes to let in and keep out. Germany grants privileged access to Russian-Germans and Jews over all other ethnic groups, and this was and is legal and proper under international law.
 
This means that people from culturally remote, conflict-torn regions where backward views and noxious superstitions are commonplace (such as Afghanistan) can and should have to face high hurdles and extensive, days-long background questioning. Sure, we'll let Afghans in, but only if they have worldly, tolerant views comparable to the mainstream of the developed Western country they wish to relocate to (let's say the US). 
 
Allah hates gays? Permanent blacklist. Wife-beating's alright? Permanent blacklist. Any trace, no matter how remote, of sympathy for extremists? Permanent blacklist. Anything but 100%, full-throated, unequivocal support for Western-style representative democracy, with all its attendant flaws? Permanent blacklist. As a practical matter, this will mean the majority of Afghans who are given the right to permanently resettle in the US will be members of the educated urban elite.
 
This is a feature, not a bug.
 
In the next line over, Norwegians of Norwegian ancestry who want to enter the USA are whisked through with just a few superficial questions. Why? Because it's statistically likely that the majority of Norwegians hold views which will enable them to successfully adapt to American society. The chances of finding a Norwegian who prefers God's law to democracy or passionately hates homosexuals is so small, it can be ignored as a heuristic matter. 
 
A typical counter-argument is that there are plenty of American crackpots with extremist views, so why should America get to exclude Afghan crackpots? The answer is: Because they're our crackpots. They are our problem. The fact that we have problems in our society doesn't mean we should import additional problems from other societies. Especially societies we don't understand, whose problems mean nothing to us.
 
And even if this argument doesn't strike you as rational, it doesn't have to. If you are allowed to discriminate, that means you can discriminate for good reasons, bad reasons, or no reasons at all. If Germany wanted to, it could pass a law saying that only people with green eyes can immigrate to Germany. If some international tribunal asked Germany why, Germany would not even have to give an answer. 
 
Countries like the USA and Germany have enormous leverage: they are (comparatively) safe, prosperous, well-run societies to which millions of people would like to relocate. They should leverage their desirability to attract only the most adaptable and talented immigrants. Anything less is a disservice to their people.
 
Why so many mainstream German (and some American) politicians cannot seem to grasp these obvious principles has the world scratching its head.

A Modest(y) Proposal: Muslims, Build Your Own Pools

The Washington Post looks at the burqini ban:

While the burqini may sound straightforward, it is quite controversial. German media recently reported that a public pool in Neutraubling in the German state of Bavaria had banned swimmers from wearing burqinis. According to Abendzeitung, the decision had been made after a young woman had turned up to a water aerobics class in a burqini. A number of other women in the class had complained, which led town officials to decide the outfit was not appropriate at the pool and should not be allowed.

Town Mayor Heinz Kiechle told the paper that there was no “burqini ban” per se, and that instead swimming pools simply required conventional swimwear. For women, that would be a standard one-piece swimsuit or a bikini. A burqini would not be allowed, but nor would a wetsuit or a T-shirt. An additional reason for the rule, Kiechle told the Mittelbayerische Zeitung, was that there had been complaints about male asylum seekers in the area attempting to use the pool while wearing underwear.

Swimming pools have become a surprising battleground in Europe’s culture wars in recent years. At the start of this year there were reports that asylum seekers and migrants in a number of countries had been banned from swimming pools after alleged sexual assaults. A more complicated issue is female modesty: In Sweden, a country that prides itself on gender equality, the idea of female-only swimming hours has prompted a backlash by those who say it goes against the country’s ethos.

There are two cultural divides at work here. First, the obvious one between the burqini wearers and the other women.

The other is between an American and a European reading this article. When an American reads this article, the question that pops up is: why are all these people sharing the same pool? If the Muslims want special rules and conditions for pool use, then they should all get together, pool their money (so to speak), and build a pool.

European society still reflects an ever-diminishing glimmer of the idea of communal ownership and enjoyment. You don't have to buy your own car, big plot of land, or swimming pool. We will provide trains, parks, and public pools for you. You'll have to share them, of course, but you'll get 80% of the enjoyment at 1% of the price. And besides, sharing is good for society. Helps combat alienation and selfishness. Sweden's social democrats once lived by the motto: 'Nothing is too good for the people'.

But communal goods presuppose a community of people which can agree on how to use them. There has to be social trust and consensus. Immigrants who don't understand or accept that you have to bathe in different clothes than you live in screw that up. And it's important. I won't go into details, but bathing in clothes causes disgusting hygiene problems.

America is a place with lots of room, prosperous immigrants, cheap real estate, plenty of different ethnic groups, and no broad sense of entitlement that the government should provide free amenities to all. So if Muslims want to swim in a way that fits their culture, they can build a private swimming pool. They can keep everyone else out, if they want, or let them in. It's up to them.

America is full of communal gathering places for various ethnic groups -- there's even a Slovenian Hall in San Francisco. Now, the name is merely historical, you can rent the Slovenian hall for weddings. This is because Slovenes moved out of the immigrant ghettos in a few generations, forgot Slovenian, and no longer feel the need for ethnic solidarity.

The US Midwest is plastered with hundreds of thousands of remnants of the era when German-Americans created their own Singvereine, Kulturvereine, restaurants, festivals, cultural meeting places, and other institutions. There are thousands of American hospitals with ethnic and religious names, which were founded to provide medical care mainly -- and sometimes exclusively -- to one religion or ethnic group. New York City used to have a German hospital located in 'Little Germany'. It changed its name to Lenox Hill Hospital in 1918.

And all of these buildings were built with private funds. Jews built their own hospitals for their fellow Jews, Germans for their fellow Germans, Catholics for their fellow Catholics. Now the objection might be that the kind of conservative Muslims who might want a private swimming pool might not have enough money to build one. As is the case almost everywhere, there's an inverse relationship between how devout people are and how rich they are. The typical American answer to this question is: tough toenails. American-style cultural laissez-faire means nobody will interfere if you want to build your own separate institutions, and that nobody will help you.

Muslim Germans are a minority in a country whose majority doesn't share their cultural predilections. They have a right to fair treatment, but can't expect any sympathy or help from that majority to help them preserve their own alien traditions. Gentiles didn't build Jewish hospitals for American Jews, nor did the US government help Catholics build their own hospitals. If Muslims want their own swimming pools, but cannot yet afford them, they will just have to be patient and keep saving. Or follow the rules at public pools.


Intercept and Return is the Only Workable Policy for African Boat Migrants

As I have been pointing out for some time now, there's only one workable answer to the coming African migration 'crisis': Europe must intercept all migrant boats in the Mediterranean and immediately return them to their place of origin. No exceptions. This is the Australian policy. Austria's foreign minister, Sebastian Kurz, broke the taboo two days ago (g) and said boats must be intercepted and people returned (after a brief on-the-spot asylum hearing). Other European politicians are still in denial about this fact, wasting time in virtue-signaling, but they will eventually have to buckle under and accept reality.

Typically, what happens now is smugglers pack a boat full of all the migrants that fit. Then they add 20% more, and send it off. The boats don't even have a destination. The migrants wait until they are in international waters, and then send an SOS signal. At that point, they are intercepted by European ships and brought to European territory to file asylum claims. This foolish policy is a pull-factor that has encouraged millions of Africans to pack their bags and bribe smugglers. There are now something like 800,000 migrant waiting in North Africa to board rickety boats.

If they are all brought ashore in Italy, this will be a crisis of unimaginable proportions. Italy is already a country with massive problems, and is already dealing with hundreds of thousands of African migrants sleeping rough, working illegally, committing petty crimes, and dealing drugs. Adding 800,000 new unskilled illegal migrants might well push Italy over the brink into -- well, it's hard to say, but it will be ugly. And trust me, those 800,000 migrants are all going to stay in Italy. No other European country will take them, except perhaps a token contingent for Germany. Austria has already announced it will monitor its border with Italy to prevent passage north. Italy and the EU have been locked in fruitless negotiations for months about what to do with the migrants.

Italy's other plan is to address the so-called 'root causes' of migration (g) by helping African governments better protect their borders and intercept migrants on the way north. In return, Europe will establish asylum processing centers in Africa and open up legal means of immigration to Europe. This is as far as the center-left Renzi government can go. But like the EU's agreement with Turkey, this silly plan outsources Europe's immigration policies to repressive, corrupt, and/or ineffectual states. The whole world asks why Europe should do this instead of simply securing its own borders effectively.

Other countries have long since grasped the nettle. Not only do they reject all illegal boat migrants, they openly announce that they are doing so, and explain why:

As the United States' primary maritime law enforcement agency, the Coast Guard is tasked with enforcing immigration law at sea. The Coast Guard conducts patrols and coordinates with other federal agencies and foreign countries to interdict undocumented migrants at sea, denying them entry via maritime routes to the United States, its territories and possessions.  Thousands of people try to enter this country illegally every year using maritime routes, many via smuggling operations.  Interdicting migrants at sea means they can be quickly returned to their countries of origin without the costly processes required if they successfully enter the United States.

When successful, illegal immigration can potentially cost U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars each year in social services. In addition to relieving this financial burden on our citizens, the Coast Guard's efforts help to support legal migration systems. Primarily, the Coast Guard maintains its humanitarian responsibility to prevent the loss of life at sea, since the majority of migrant vessels are dangerously overloaded, unseaworthy or otherwise unsafe.

The US, like Australia, unapologetically protects its own interests, and defends its policy as more humane than any alternative. 

But then, of course, the United States is notoriously hostile to refugees. Right?

Wrong. UN Dispatch places the US in the top four countries worldwide for refugee resettlement:

The United States. Influenced by its political and military position regarding conflict in Syria, the U.S. has not favorably made the news on the current refugee crisis, offering to resettle only approximately 10,000 Syrian refugees. Yet looking holistically at its system reveals a sunnier picture of U.S. refugee policy. The United States permanently resettles more refugees than any other country in the world, historically taking half of all applications received via the UN Refugee Agency. Last year, this amounted to about 70,000 refugees worldwide who, for the most part, were living in limbo in the country to which they fled.  The USA may not be a viable option for Syrian refugees, but large numbers of refugees from elsewhere are routinely resettled in the USA.

It's simple: if you bribe a smuggler, cram yourselves into boats, and try to sneak into the country illegally, you will be summarily rejected (except for Cubans, but that's changing as we speak). If you comply with the law, cooperate with international organizations, and can actually prove you as an individual face severe persecution, we will resettle you.

It's called setting the right incentives. And it's not only a reasonable policy choice, but by far the best one. All you have to do is give up a few sentimental illusions. But boy, do Europeans love those.


Europe Doesn't Have Private Charities for Refugees

 
Non-Europeans can't understand the immigration debate in Europe without recognizing a key fact: Every single migrant who enters a (Northern) European country and files an asylum claim is immediately entitled to state-funded housing, healthcare, and education, plus a monthly cash stipend and child benefit. And is automatically legally entitled to all these things indefinitely, no matter what.
 
If they eventually get to the point where they are employable and then turn down suitable jobs, the benefits may be reduced. But never eliminated. Since the vast majority of migrants arrive not speaking the native language, and a large percentage never learn it to proficiency, all immigrants will be welfare cases for at least 10-15 years, and many will never stop being welfare cases.
 
In many Western countries, including the U.S. refugees are sponsored and funded by a public-private mix of government (which does the screening), and private charities, often religious in nature, who find housing and aid in integration. This doesn't happen to anywhere near the same extent in Europe. In Europe, private charities operate on a much smaller scale, since they have essentially been frozen out by state welfare. Religious charities run by the major established churches usually have significant government involvement. As the chart above shows, Germany has a comparatively small private charity sector. It's about the OECD average, but it's worth remembering that the OECD includes a lot of countries much poorer than Germany. 
 
So every migrant let into the country who possesses no job skills immediately begins costing the state money. And lots of migrants cost lots of money. Germany is now spending an amount on refugee welfare that exceeds its annual federal education budget. It is spending almost €3 billion per year (g) just caring for 65,000 unaccompanied minor migrants.
 
Denmark has similar policies to Germany's. Which brings us to Daham Al Hasan, his three wives, and his twenty children: 
In Denmark these days, Daham Al Hasan is making headlines. He has twenty children with three wives, but two years ago fled alone from Syria to Denmark, and left his wives and children behind. Recently, under the Danish rules of family unification, one of his wives and eight of his children have joined him in Denmark. But Al Hasan wants all his children with him, as well as all his wives. He has been granted permission for nine additional children to join him, but as Denmark does not allow polygamy, the two remaining wives, under the same rules of family unification, are not permitted to join him. Lawyers, however, estimate that the remaining wives will also be able independently to join their children in Denmark, once they are there.
The case has caused rather a shock in Denmark, not only because of the extraordinary size of the family, and what it will cost the Danish state just in child allowance, but because Al Hassan claims that he is too ill to work or even to learn Danish. "I don't only have mental problems, but also physical problems", he says by way of explanation, "My back and my legs hurt." He has admitted that his "mental illness" consists of missing the children he voluntarily left behind. This means that he and his family live exclusively off the Danish taxpayers' money.

More Chechens, More Trouble

Hat tip to Stakhanov for a link to this article:

More and more people from the Russian Caucasus region are crossing from Belarus into Poland, where the vast majority immediately apply for refugee status. According to the Polish border authority, 90 percent of all asylum requests are made at the Brest-Terespol border crossing. In the first half of 2013, 9,500 people requested asylum: 8,730 were of Russian origin. That's almost twice as many as in the previous year.

Passport control at the train station in Belarus is not usually a problem for North Caucasians. Belarusian border officials are not required to check whether Russian citizens have a visa for the EU, they just have to check that their passports are in order.

When the train leaves the station, it's immediately apparent how nervous people are. They are reluctant to engage in conversation. All you find out is that most of them are from Chechnya, and that they're travelling without an EU visa. They say they want to go to the West, and that they have relatives already living there. The situation in their homeland is "not good". There is "no freedom."

When the train arrives in Terespol, people with a valid EU visa are allowed to leave the train first. Those without a visa sometimes have to wait several hours in the train before Polish border officials take them to a special room where they are questioned by the Polish authorities. The asylum seekers have often been advised what to say by fellow Caucasians in Belarus.

...Caucasians abroad are well-connected. If someone has been recognised as a refugee in a EU country, the news spreads very fast, and more and more people come from the northern Caucasus to Brest as a result.

Only around 30 percent of the asylum seekers stay to complete the asylum procedure in Poland. For most of the Caucasians, Poland is not their final destination. They quickly leave the refugee housing and travel illegally to other EU countries, like Germany.

They are usually not aware that according to EU law they cannot apply for asylum in another EU country if they have already applied for asylum at the Belarusian-Polish border. They have to reckon with the possibility that they will be deported back to Poland. But for these North Caucasians, it's still preferable to going back to their homeland.

Here's the most important fact, which this article completely ignores: Chechnya is a hotbed of radical Islamic terrorism:

Since the September 11 attacks, and the Arab revolutions, a new generation of Chechen Muslim radicals, who want to create a Taliban-style government across the Caucasus Mountains to be governed by Sharia, has risen to fight. They are in their 20s and 30s and use the Internet. They reportedly have a website, where Chechen jihadists, from around the world, now fighting in Syria, Pakistan and Turkey, post their reports.

Their new leader, Doku Umarov, called by some Russia's Osama bin Laden, has said, "Today in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, and Palestine our brothers are fighting. Everyone who attacks Muslims wherever they are our enemies, common enemies. Our enemy is not Russia only, but everyone who wages war against Islam and Muslims." Three weeks ago he called to Chechens living in other countries to come home to Chechnya to take part in the fight.

Chechen Islamists are also helping Ukrainian separatists:

The Chechens are also renowned for their deft ambushes and raids. In the Chechen wars, insurgents had a policy of killing officers and contract soldiers who were taken prisoner, but conscripted soldiers were spared.

In Ukraine, the Chechens’ calls of “Allahu akbar,” or “God is great,” are said to strike fear in the hearts of the Russians.

In the interview, the Chechen commander said his men liked to fight with little protective gear. “This is the way we look at it,” he said. “We believe in God, so we don’t need armored vests.”

And let's not forget that Chechens were responsible for the most spectacular acts of terrorism after 9/11: 

Russian analysts correctly assessed that without the liquidation of these Islamist warlords, low-intensity warfare in Chechnya could have lasted for a very long time. This assessment was substantiated by tragic terrorist attacks that followed in Chechnya and in Russia itself – airliner bombings, assassinations of pro-Moscow Chechen leaders, and unprecedentedly brutal attacks in the Moscow Theater Siege (2002), Moscow metro (2004) and in Beslan (2004).

The Moscow Theater (Nord Ost) siege was a devastating terrorist event, conducted by a few dozen Chechen terrorists. Armed with automatic weapons and explosives, the assailants took 850 hostages and demanded the complete withdrawal of Russian forces from Chechnya. The siege was led by Movsar Barayev, who was killed along with most terrorists and 129 hostages in the controversial counter-terrorist operation conducted by Russian Special Forces.

In February 2004, Moscow’s residents experienced another severe terrorist attack in the Avtozavodskaya metro station. Forty persons lost their lives this suicide attack, which was perpetrated under the instructions of Shamil Basayev and Ibn al-Khattab.

The attack in Beslan in September the same year was a pinnacle of Chechen Islamist brutality – an event in which hundreds of hostages were killed, including 186 children and hundreds more were wounded or reported missing.

I could go on and on and on citing sources. Everyone except for naive Germans understands that Chechnya is probably the country with the highest proportion of radical Islamists in the entire world right now. Predictably, both Vladimir Putin and his handpicked viceroy in Chechnya are cracking down hard on Islamism in the North Caucasus.

So when these taciturn Chechens vaguely complain that it's "not good" for them and there is "no freedom" in their homeland, it is entirely possible that many of them are radical Islamists fleeing government security measures. But of course, they will lie to German immigration authorities, recycling stories that were already used successfully by former migrants.

Will Germany do what any sane, self-respecting nation would do? That is, detain all of these migrants until a thorough background screening can be performed, carefully analyze their stories of persecution, and immediately reject anyone who lied about his grounds for asylum, and anyone with any ties to radical Islam? Will Germany, in other words, put the security and safety of its citizens -- and by extension, the citizens of Europe -- first and foremost?

A few months ago, I would have said "no". But voices of common sense seem to gradually be re-asserting themselves in Germany recently, so I have a very, very cautious hope.


Putin to Europe: Take Our Chechens -- Please!

The number of asylum-seekers in Germany from Chechnya is on the increase (g). Chechens are notorious in Russian novels for being the most violent and fractious minority in the empire. The list of terrorist attacks carried out by Chechen Muslim terrorists is rather long (including the Boston Marathon bombing and several attacks at Domodevovo Airport). And this just in, fresh from today's headlines: "CHECHEN jihadists posing as Russian football supporters are plotting to attack English and Welsh fans at the Euro 2016 championships, security chiefs fear":
One of the big fears the French have is the threat posed by Islamic State terrorists from Chechnya and the Caucasus region. They are apparently planning to travel to France among Russian fans. 

“They will almost certainly avoid any stadiums because of the massive security and instead will look to shoot supporters drinking in bars or restaurants. “Their main target is most likely Russians but they will want to kill British fans as well as local French people because in their eyes they’re all enemies of IS.”

Mr Moniquet said large Chechen populations live in Germany and Belgium. Belgian police carried out investigations into extremists on the northern coast and in the city of Leuven last year.

More than 400 Chechen jihadists are fighting in Iraq and Syria while terrorist group Caucasus Emirate, which has as many as 15,000 fighters, pledged allegiance to IS last summer.

A young Chechen man whose family lives in Austria was recently asked during a TV interview what he would do if his sister left the house without a headscarf: "Then I'd kill her."
 
Young Chechen males are notorious in Germany now for being unusually likely to cause problems in migrant shelters. Many are Salafists who insult and attack fellow shelter residents for homosexuality, insufficient Islamic zeal, or apostasy. Just a week ago, there was a mass riot (g) between Chechens and Yezidis in Bielefeld, Germany. Dozens of people from both groups rioted, attacking each other with clubs and knives. Five people had to be hospitalized, some of them with serious injuries. A spokesman for the Yezidis reported that the hostilities started when Chechens attacked the (non-Islamic) Yezidis, calling them infidels. There are dozens of other reports of militant, violence-prone Chechens attacking non-Muslims and minorities in German migrant shelters.
 
Chechen migrants have formed criminal gangs in Austria, and are engaged in gang wars (g) with Afghans to control various rackets, giving them a "disastrous" reputation. A recent newspaper report from Austria, where many Chechen migrants have settled, concluded (g): 
The biggest problem for law enforcement is the Chechens. They are listed as Russian nationals in the statistics. There were 1528 suspected criminals in this group, which was 49.2% of all the suspected criminals among asylum seekers and illegal immigrants in 2014. In the first six months of 2015, 673 Chechens were registered as criminal suspects.
Russia, according to sources cited by the first link above, is intentionally funneling large numbers of Chechens into Germany to further destabilize the country. And, of course, to further re-stabilize Russia by dumping extremists and career criminals onto gullible Western European nations. And no, Germany's getting the criminals, not the persecuted human-rights lawyers. Under 6% of asylum-seekers from Russia get legal recognition.
 
German CDU politicians are now calling for the European Dublin regulations on asylum to be enforced on Chechens. These require asylum-seekers to file asylum claims in the first EU country they set foot in. For Chechens, this is almost always Poland.
 
So Poland would be responsible for housing and feeding thousands of illegal Chechen Muslim immigrants, notorious as the perhaps most violent and unpredictable group among all the various nationalities entering Europe. Plus, all of these people -- largely young males, of course -- will be frustrated that they couldn't make it to Germany. Actually, frustrated isn't the word. Incandescent with rage comes closer. Poland would also have to hire hundreds of new bureaucrats to decide their frivolous asylum claims. And somehow force them into planes for deportation.
 
Can you imagine how Poles will react to their rich neighbor Germany trying to dump this problem from hell onto them?
 
Vladimir Putin certainly can, which is why he may well be urging Chechens to set out for Germany -- the more, the merrier!
 
Once again, Europe is being effortlessly manipulated by politicians who have no illusions about human nature or culture, and who are unabashedly putting the interests of their own people first.