Sunday 20 October 2019

George Hook: Let us not be coerced into being liberal

There is nothing racist about having a policy on how we should respond to the terror threat, writes George Hook

It's a long road: Migrants during a snow shower on the German-Austrian border yesterday
It's a long road: Migrants during a snow shower on the German-Austrian border yesterday

George Hook

Last week on radio, I had the temerity to question Europe's - and by extension Ireland's - attitude to the refugee crisis, following the Paris massacres.

I suggested we should refuse any admissions to the country until a clear policy had been established as to how many should come, where they would be housed and, above all, what security checks were to be established in the light of Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald's comment that they would be fast-tracked.

I went on to say that if refugees were kept in camps until their bona fides had been established, then in camps they should stay.

The editorial prompted the greatest response by phone, email and text in the 14-year history of the programme. The overwhelming majority were supportive, citing a lack of coverage of their views by mainstream media. They considered current commentators to be excessively liberal and lacking in understanding of the feelings of ordinary Irish people.

There was also very strong opposition to my views. Much of it was abusive, but all called me racist or xenophobic, or a scaremonger. Many were appalled that I made a connection between Isil and the Islamic faith. Yet to me there is an obvious correlation. To suggest that people who kill others for blaspheming Islam has no relationship with the religion is denying the obvious.

There was, of course, the great chestnut that the people fleeing are not terrorists. The problem is that we do not know. However, we do know that while all Muslims may not be terrorists, all the killers are Muslims.

Astonishingly, many who responded attacked Christian faiths. All religions are the problem, they trumpeted. Are we seriously suggesting that Catholics, Protestants et al should be scrutinised at border entry points as part of our security patterns?

Above all, there was a suggestion that I was making a racist slur by establishing a connection between the extraordinary inflow of migrants to Europe and Islamic terrorism. In some people's eyes, the answer clearly would be to open Europe's doors wide to the flood, certain that it contains nobody bent on creating terror in the West. In support of this argument it is pointed out that the perpetrators of the Paris atrocities were not migrants, but citizens of France and Belgium.

The problem is that because of the low, or non-existent, integration by Muslims in those countries, first and second generations are living in ghettoes replicating the culture, language and beliefs of the homeland. It will not make me popular but the new wave of migrants will, by sheer weight of numbers, irrevocably damage the social fabric of the receiving nations.

Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the suspected planner of the Paris attacks, in a series of English-language videos released by Islamic State, deemed European border controls a joke. He claimed to have moved between Syria and his Belgian homeland with ease, despite his face being well known to Europe's security services because of videos of him committing atrocities against prisoners. These videos were widely posted on the Internet. He claimed that the infidels failed to recognise him because they were blinded by Allah.

Images of a child drowned in the surf have also pulled at people's heartstrings. Interestingly, Abaaoud, at aged 12, won a scholarship to an elite Catholic school. He was a model pupil before being radicalised.

French and Belgian security officials believe Abaaoud has been closely involved with at least three other attacks. The Brussels Jewish Museum shooting in May 2014; the failed attack on a church in a Paris suburb; and the attempt to kill passengers on the Amsterdam-Brussels-Paris express train in August.

His grandfather came to Belgium 40 years ago and his father is at a loss to explain his son's actions. "Our family owe everything to this country," he said.

Sweden is constantly held out as the model to be adopted by the rest of Europe for its open-door policy to migrants. The country has accepted the highest number per capita of any country in Europe. Now even this liberal, free-thinking nation has established border controls. Their housing and social welfare systems are in disarray.

Law and order has also been an issue. A report released by Swedish police on October 24, stated that the force had surrendered control of more than 55 "no-go areas" to Muslim criminal gangs. Ultra-liberal Sweden has learned the hard lesson of unrestricted migration to its shores. Every week, Scandinavia is being quoted in support of some new agenda. Perhaps we should ask them what they think.

We forget how Irish people were treated by British police at airports when they sought to protect themselves against IRA bombers. I remember well the Irish rugby team that had travelled to play Scotland being inordinately delayed at Edinburgh Airport; my work colleague and his wife strip-searched by police at 2 am in their hotel room because they put an Irish car registration number on the check-in form; and the countless Irish that faced harassment and suspicion when going about their daily work in the UK.

We understood the threat then and we should understand the threat now.

This week, another report was issued that accused the Irish of being racist towards Africans.

Increasingly, we are being coerced into thinking that somehow we are not generous, tolerant and forgiving. It is time perhaps that those that come here remember the old adage - when in Rome, do as the Romans do.

Sunday Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Don't Miss