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Migration: the clash of civilizations?

September 14th, 2015

Pundits on both the Right and the Left fear that European civilization, based on Christian and Enlightenment values is endangered by Muslim migrants, whose culture is not compatible with European norms.

The fault lines are blurred,” Népszabadság comments in a front page report on György Konrád’s interview in the Italian daily La Repubblica. The leading left-wing daily finds it more than surprising that Mr Konrád, a well-know Hungarian liberal intellectual, should have defended PM Orbán’s plans to stop the flow of undocumented migrants. The liberal writer criticized the Hungarian government, but at the same time admitted that the Prime Minister is right to claim that the Schengen borders need to be defended “from this tsunami of undocumented migrants. He also dismissed left-wing suggestions that the fence to be erected on Hungary’s southern border is similar to the Iron Curtain. Konrád called for more understanding of PM Orbán and said that Muslim immigration is a real concern that should be taken seriously. He added that unlike Germany, Hungary does not need to import qualified Muslim professionals. If the Hungarian economy grows and the country does need more qualified employees, it should count on Hungarians living across the borders rather than on immigrants from the Islamic world, Konrád recommended.

The Left and Liberals in Europe have so far avoided seriously facing the question whether refugees whose culture is incompatible with basic European culture should be made welcome, Rudolf Ungváry writes in Népszabadság. The writer, who is otherwise a fierce critic of the government and has elsewhere accused it of putting into place a kind of Fascist regime, suggests that European civilization is based on the principle of equal dignity, while asylum seekers “come from the Islamic world and other African cultures where democratic values barely exist”. Ungváry believes that Europe has so far been pro-migration because the newcomers came from within European civilization, but “the flow of refugees from the Third World puts the achievements of the Enlightenment in jeopardy.” Ungváry interprets the experience of western European states as proof that migrants from the Islamic world cannot be integrated. The main reason is that “even Muslim intellectuals believe in the superiority of Islam and reject the separation of religion from politics,” Ungváry writes. He goes on to claim that Muslims in Europe will soon end up demanding the introduction of sharia law. As for geopolitics, Ungváry claims that so-called Islamic State intends to “Islamize Europe” by chasing Sunnis to the European continent.

In the Látószög blog, Mária Schmidt thinks that Europe will soon have to decide if it is willing to defend its culture based on Christian and Enlightenment values. The conservative historian contends that Europe is facing an identity crisis, and has been weakened by post-Christian and post-nationalist ideologies and the welfare state. As a result, western European countries have been too weak and lazy to defend their civilization and properly integrate Muslim immigrants, and thus third generation immigrants turn to radical Islam which promises community, sacrality and a meaningful life that a “secular, money- and sex-centred Western worldview” cannot deliver. Schmitt goes on to claim that Islamic values are not compatible with Western ones including secularization, gender equality and private property. Thus Europe will have to decide whether it is willing to give up these values, or fight for them “against a militant, proselytizing Muslim world”, Schmidt concludes.

Europe is about to commit suicide, Róbert Baranya opines in Magyar Hírlap. If European countries do not stop the flow of migrants, they will soon completely transform the continent, the right-wing commentator predicts. If more immigrants from the Muslim world settle down, “Europe will soon become a caliphate,” Baranya speculates.

We are at a crossroads, the decision is a matter of life and death,” György Németh asserts in Magyar Nemzet. The conservative sociologist maintains that unless mass migration is stopped, “Europe will soon resemble the scenes in Mad Max films.” If Europe is “taken over” by Muslims with the help of pro-migration liberals, European civilization will be destroyed, Németh fears. In an aside, he quotes Nobel Prize winning Hungarian Jewish writer Imre Kertész who wrote in his latest – and supposedly last – book that unless Europe defends its culture and curbs migration, Islam will take over and anti-Semitism will rise.

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