Tuesday, July 29, 2008

[illegal immigrants] to exclude or to house?

Please look at Welshcakes' current post on the incidents in the Cathedral. Illegal immigrants went into a church and occupied it, from which action police were then involved. Welshcakes concludes:

Does a country have a right, or even a duty, to look after its own citizens first? On the other hand, surely everyone has a right to be treated with some human dignity? What would any of us do if we suddenly found ourselves homeless through no fault of our own?
Many, many questions to think on and I have others too. I was reading in La Sicilia [dead wood version] how in Genoa there is also a bunfight over a proposed mosque being built.


Am I an extremist? I hope not, I really do, as I lived among muslims for 13 years, worked with and for them and can only say they were fine people in my eyes. There's no ingratitude here. There were mosques everywhere and I sometimes went into them with muslims and discussed their religion.

More recently, some readers know I was close to some Indonesian friends [and still consider myself a friend.]

One of the reasons for the Italian intransigence on Islam coming in is their observation of what went wrong in Britain. Having said that, I have now invited trouble upon myself. So be it. On the other hand, the plight of the refugees is a humanitarian one - these people need to have something to eat, they need to have the dignity to be able to just wash or lay the head down somewhere.

They are mainly muslim and their desperation to flee their countries or die is an indictment of those countries. I strongly suspect that the powers that be in those countries know full well what they're doing through their oppression - both offloading excess population and indirectly bringing Islam back into southern Italy.

Welshcakes took the point of view - how can a country say yes to a Christian church, yes to a Buddhist and Jewish but no to a mosque? My answer is that you have to look at the track records of each of these. I ask you now - would most Brits feel that the Jewish synagogue was a major threat to Britain? How about a Christian church? And so on. Of course not.

And why not? Assimilation of the group - most groups coming in do assimilate with the local society. Not necessarily adopting all so-called "British culture" per se but certainly willing to get on with life here as a Brit.

They don't demand special rooms during Ramadan or refuse to accept public housing because it is not to their specifications. Most religions and other groups coming in don't have houses of worship in which trouble is stirred up by extremists. Most don't even have extremists.

And don't forget the question of sheer numbers.

In the end, this question comes down to two things - firstly, are all religions and cultures equivalent or are there, possibly, some groups which really do have a track record of trouble coming out of them and export that trouble en masse? Secondly - is democracy their inalienable right, the right to incite etc.?

Or does the classic liberal maxim apply - freedom to do anything as long as it doesn't impinge on anyone else? The Italians have a fierce attachment to democracy but they've drawn the line at Islamic inroads along the British pattern. That's their decision. Democracy yes - but for registered citizens.

So to return to the poor boat people in the cathedral. Why would they have chosen to go to a Christian cathedral and not, say, to the local police station or hostel or mission for homeless people? Why would a group of muslims choose a Christian church to occupy? Minor point perhaps.

I don't believe we can trot out relativistic and equivalent positions without also considering track records of certain populations. For example, the Somalis are well known here for their intransigence. They can argue this out with the Italians - I'm just mentioning it. I'm certainly not getting into the Roms.

Whilst reasonable people would surely concede that the trouble comes from a small proportion of a population, it still happens though, doesn't it?

The Italians have decided that they don't want a bar of it and this is a proud nation which reveres its tolerance in these matters, which is evident in all other dealings with the Clandestini. But now a state of emergency has been declared in this country and no one really knows what to do.

I certainly don't know either.

You might like to look at my previous post on the Clandestini and Tony Sharp's post link within it.


Wolfie said...

I am sceptical that these immigrants are really asylum seekers in the true sense of the word because if that was really the case they would be fleeing to neighbouring African states for protection but instead they make a perilous journey across the ocean to Europe. They seem to be economic Migrants who come here for the simple reason that they can rely on our many faceted kindness, that's why they chose the church rather than a state institution.

I'm not without compassion for them but there still remains the problem that if we continue to offer solace to every newcomer then more will simply come and this will continue indefinitely. Its not what I'd consider a workable plan given the scale.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

I don't think that a democracy can deny its citizens somewhere to practise their religion.
Thyanks for the link,James.

jmb said...

No easy answers to these questions James. However when these people turned up at the church they should have received consideration, even on humanitarian grounds if not religious conviction. However I guess it's easy to judge from afar.

CherryPie said...

I don't know the answer either... I just know I have a problem with the rules which I know are there for a reason. Humanity should come first. I just can't reconcile the two thoughts :-/