Europe has a long history of taking in refugees---and of creating them. During the French Revolution, England took in many fleeing the horrors in France. Germany took in Jews fleeing the Soviet Union---to make up for their Nazi period of creating refugees and then murder of Europe?s Jewish population. After World War II, millions of people became refugees, having been bombed out of their cities, including a remnant that survived the death camps.
The United States has a different history of taking in refugees. Almost every large refugee group in the 19th century was admitted out of need for labor and the desire to settle the vast land. Each experienced hostility at first: the Irish, Chinese, Italians, and Jews. But over time, this country has absorbed and succeeded to Americanize them.
Europe?s current refugee crisis, however, is very different from what they experienced in the past---or what America experienced. Furthermore, the Europeans have a different refugee culture than Americans, a difference that had better be addressed right now.
This difference stems from what constitutes national identity in Europe and in the United States. In Europe, national identity rests upon shared history, shared blood, common language, and shared historic religion. Although most European countries are now secular, the majority of people have a Christian past. This is one reason why Jews never fit in---until today, with a secular identity.
The United States bases its national identity on shared language (English), shared behavioral norms, and common customs. One can become an American by accepting these norms. Most immigrant children in this country go to public school where they learn English and learn American customs. It is behavior that characterizes an American, no matter their origin.
Europeans have tried a different model: multiculturalism. After World War II ended and economic refugees, most from Muslim countries, trickled and then poured into Europe, the western and northern European countries demanded nothing from these refugees. There was no effort to integrate them into Europe?s culture. Instead, they lived in self-contained ghettos with generous welfare. Unfortunately, some with a new militant Muslim ideology seized the opportunity to intimidate these communities and seduce their youth. European host countries looked the other way while a virulent fifth column was flourishing and is now threatening their hosts.
Who are these new refugees flooding Europe? Right now, many are fleeing Syria?s horrific civil war: parents with young children, most of them, while nominally Muslim or Christian, are secular and middle class. These people can be absorbed by Europe; not only that, when the Syrian war is over, many would return home. These are truly "refugees."
But along with the Syrians are Iraqis, Afghans, Pakistanis, and many from the Muslim parts of Africa---mostly men looking for economic benefits (either work or welfare). Unfortunately, many have been poisoned by today?s Militant Islam. Not only do they not become European, but are actively hostile to Europe?s secular culture.
While opportunistic ISIS takes credit for sending this flood of Muslims to overwhelm Europe, they did not organize it but are right about its potential consequences. If Europe does not carefully triage whom they let in and whom they must send away, they will indeed be overwhelmed.
The elite class of Europeans in the EU or UN wring their hands in sympathy for the plight of these boat refugees, condemning public concern as bigotry. Already, conservative and nationalist political parties are beginning to win adherents. They can become a force that will not let their countries perish without a fight. Denmark will take no more and even Sweden is finally waking up.
The current refugee hordes threaten to get even larger. Climate change is pushing millions out of their no longer feasible homes. Years of uncontrolled population explosion, bad governance, and bad luck are propelling people to flee. If militant Islam were so wonderful ("Islam is the answer," they say), why are so many running away? Jordan and Lebanon keep the refugees in wretched camps and offer no work. The Saudis only offer Europe money for more mosques!
Dr. Laina Farhat-Holzman is a historian, lecturer, and author of God's Law or Man's Law. You may contact her at Lfarhat102@aol.com or www.globalthink.net.