Current Conservative and Neoliberal View of Muslims? Rapists! | #Racism on Blog#42

As I am wont to do most weekends, I commented on Ross Douthat’s latest column. It was about the rather large influx of Middle Eastern immigrants into Europe, and the rise in the incidence of rape, among other things. Douthat specializes in writing specious pieces that never quite fully go all the way, but are unequivocal enough for readers to see the picture in detail. His is a critique of the “Eurabization” of Europe through policies that welcome refugees. As is the nature of racial dog-whistling, Douthat begins with rape and peppers his piece with it, the way one would punctuate a sentence, all throughout. For example:

“But there’s also a longer term issue, beyond the need to persuade new arrivals that — to quote from a Norwegian curriculum for migrants — in Europe “to force someone into sex is not permitted.””

Well, duh! Right? Douthat just plops this information without any context. No one really thinks that Muslims, be they North Africans or Syrians, really need to be told that forced sex, or rape, is not permissible. The piece Douthat fails to provide to his readers is that these people, indeed, come from a different culture, one in which women are expected to be modest in public, and when they are not, are viewed as promiscuous. Does that mean that most Muslims feel entitled to rape a woman who is immodest? The answer is no.

This relationship to modesty is the same a devout Jew has, unless he is a member of the Satmar sect. Those are the Orthodox Jews we periodically see on the news, pelting women in the streets of Old Jerusalem.

This relationship to modesty is the same we see in Catholic and Greek Orthodox places of worship that require male and female tourists to dress modestly.

But Douthat doesn’t stop with rape, he also gets to cultural purity (read ethnic), a cultural incompatibility that will theoretically fuel political violence.

“Such a transformation promises increasing polarization among natives and new arrivals alike. It threatens not just a spike in terrorism but a rebirth of 1930s-style political violence.”

Europe, historically, has undergone positive transformation after each wave of conquest and its identity, or the many identities within it, benefited without being “compromised,” whatever that means. Germany is no less German after a few waves of immigration over the last decades. Large numbers of Greeks, Spaniards, and Turks are enriching Germany both monetarily and culturally. It is the home countries of these immigrants that are feeling a terrible loss; with its young, educated class missing and economies badly in need of revitalization that the EU, with Angela Merkel spearheading the charge, refuses to fully accommodate.

Germany didn’t need an infusion of immigrants for terrorist groups like Baader-Meinhoff of the Red Army Faction or The Revolutionary Cells and other groups to come into existence. Those terrorist groups were in operation from the 1970’s through the 1990’s.

But people tend to overlook such details in their zeal to condemn Muslim newcomers and have no compunction in painting the picture of over 1.1 million Muslim refugees as members of ISIS or somehow as sharing the blame for what could well be coordinated attacks using rape. This is what is now happening in Germany and Douthat, wily as he is, stayed away from spelling out the nature of these accusations. He also stayed away from differentiating the bulk of the immigration population from new arrivals. The former consists of guest workers from countries with distressed economies, whereas new immigrants are refugees from the ravages of the Syrian civil war and ISIS’ conquests.

CBS News reports on witness statements of coordinated rape attacks by men of North African or Middle Eastern descent:

“One time a group of three or four males would come up to them, be given instructions and sent away into the crowd,” the 35-year-old teacher was quoted as saying. “Then another group of four or five would come up, and they’d gesticulate in various directions and send them off again.”

Police said that around 1,700 protesters from the anti-Islam PEGIDA movement were kept apart from 1,300 counter-demonstrators in simultaneous protests outside the city’s main train station.

PEGIDA members held banners with slogans like “RAPEfugees not welcome” and “Integrate barbarity?” while the counter-protesters pushed the message “refugees welcome.”

The incident has sparked a debate about the behavior of migrants in Germany after witnesses and police described the perpetrators as being of “Arab or North African origin.”

There are 1.5 billion Muslims on the planet, many of whom are devout and not educated in the ways of feminism and a Western culture that is sneered at in the communities they live in, in their home countries. In countries like Pakistan and India, feminism is still very much a struggle, in spite of having elected women to high political office and having an educated workforce that includes women in many professions that were dominated by males. But rape culture exists there, not because of some defect inherent in Indian culture, but a combination of the persistent misogyny perpetuated by a centuries old paternalistic tradition and exacerbated by that culture’s ongoing favoritism of boys and performing banned sex-selective abortions in order to ensure the continuation of the patriarchal lineage. The latter is the source of a marked imbalance in the ratio between the sexes and a shortage of girls. India has seen some horrific cases of rape, including gang rapes in recent years.

One cannot generalize ISIS’ use of rape to attract recruits and subjugate local populations to some inherent trait in Islam. But that is what is now being done, in spite of everything we know about Islam and the Arab world. Donald J. Trump, with his statements on Mexican rapists has normalized and legitimized this kind of public discussion of other cultures.

A sampling of replies to Ross Douthat’s op-ed

But what of our own rape culture? What of the citizens and school officials of Steubenville who all came together to defend those who not only raped an unconscious girl, but went on to brag about it in social media? What of Alabama police officer Daniel Holtzclaw who was recently convicted of the multiple rapes of Black women he had specifically targeted for rape? What of all the campus rapes we’ve been talking about in recent years and the complaints about the way they are handled – to the point where the White House and Department of Education had to get involved to ensure universities stop sweeping complaints under the rug?

In a June 2014 column, Ross Douthat blamed administrators’ “blutarksian promise” of college and young people’s natural tendency to rebel and drunk young women’ fickle nature as a reason for college rape, and even going so far as calling for counseling before a couple adjourns to a dorm room, in case arbitration is needed in the event of a consent dispute.

Rape has been a monumental problem in our military, with commanding officers in charge of investigating and punishing rapists from among their ranks. Military rape culture is so entrenched that it took months and months for the US Senate to finally push a compromise bill through that did not include removing investigation and prosecution from the purview of the unit – something that activists had been demanding, in order to bring impartiality to the process.

But the thing about Douthat’s column, and reader responses to it, that resembles every single one of Donald Trump’s racially-motivated accusations is this breakdown from a CBS News report:

“Of 31 suspects temporarily detained for questioning following the New Year’s Eve attacks, there were 18 asylum seekers but also two Germans and an American among others, and none were accused of specifically committing sexual assaults.”

1.1 million immigrants have recently entered Germany. Out of the 31 suspects mentioned by Douthat, a net 18 qualify as Middle Eastern or North African. How is it moral to pole vault from those numbers to the blanket statement that all new immigrants should be deported in an orderly manner or that Angela Merkel should resign? It isn’t. This is the same kind of amoral, racist thinking that leads conservatives to use FBI crime statistics to point to “Black on Black crime” whenever the topic at hand is not crime by civilians, but the killing of innocents by police, including children.

Taking in war refugees is still the moral thing to do. Keeping a close eye on refugees who might be ISIS operatives is not amoral. It is a necessity any sane government should act upon. But on the wider question of assimilation and Germany keeping its “Germanness” in the face of an infusion of youth to compensate for its low birth rate, Douthat’s solution is to boot out the “other” to keep the nation pure and cut off any possibility of strife, calling Merkel irresponsible.

Does Germany need to remain pure? Does France have a moral right to demand from immigrants from its former colonies to forsake their cultures? Does any European nation? Remember, these immigrants are full French citizens by right. These immigrants fulfill a role the native populations of the host countries cannot fill. That mutual advantage cannot be turned into a disadvantage with the host country stripping immigrants of their identities or isolating them as a consequence of their insistence to stay true to their roots as was done to Jews throughout the ages.

It isn’t the plurality created by the influx of immigrants that’s been the problem in Europe, but the inherent supremacy of European culture along with the refusal of host countries to respect the ethnic identities and traditions of the people it invited, along with the systematic relegation of ethnic minorities to second class citizenship generation after generation. That is what is at the source of the resentment and strife, and will continue to be for as long as this mindset remains. No culture stands above all others. All cultures are deserving of equal respect.


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Additional Reading:

Germany exploring links between sex assaults in cities

CBS News

January 10, 2016

“Police said 121 women in Cologne have filed criminal complaints for robbery and sexual assault — including two allegations of rape. They said the attackers were among a group of some 1,000 men described as being of “Arab or North African origin” who gathered in front of the Cologne’s main train station and gothic cathedral that night, some of whom broke off into small groups that groped and robbed women.

Heiko Maas told Bild newspaper Sunday that if a group came together to commit such offenses, “no one can tell me that this was not coordinated or prepared.”

Hamburg saw similar attacks on a smaller scale, and police in other European nations reported cases of comparable trouble in public places.

Maas says “all connections must be carefully checked.”

Women’s rights activists, far-right demonstrators and leftwing counter-protesterstook to the streets of Cologne on Saturday to voice their opinions in the debate that has followed the assaults.

Amid the heightened public pressure, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party proposed stricter laws regulating asylum-seekers in the country — some 1.1 million of whom arrived last year.

Police said that around 1,700 protesters from the anti-Islam PEGIDA movement were kept apart from 1,300 counter-demonstrators in simultaneous protests outside the city’s main train station.

PEGIDA members held banners with slogans like “RAPEfugees not welcome” and “Integrate barbarity?” while the counter-protesters pushed the message “refugees welcome.””

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