Bruce Bawer, Frontpage Mag, August 28, 2017
Three years ago, Aideen Strandsson, an Iranian actress who had converted from Islam to Christianity applied for asylum in Sweden on the grounds that apostasy is a capital offense in her home country. (Don’t ask me why her name sounds Swedish rather than Iranian.) This summer, Swedish authorities turned her down. They were fully prepared to send her back to Iran – and to her death – when the Hungarian government stepped in and agreed to take her. It is just one individual’s story, but it illuminates the dramatic difference between Western and Eastern Europe when it comes to matters that will, before too long, decide the future of the continent.
Sweden, of course, is one of those Western European countries that have eagerly granted asylum to armies of Muslims who pose as refugees from persecution but who are, in fact, economic migrants, eager to climb onto the welfare-state gravy train. Hungary, meanwhile, is one of those Eastern European countries that refuse to take in Muslims but are willing to accept Christians.
The logic, in both cases, is clear. Western European politicians and bureaucrats tend to be postmodern multiculturalists – in Sweden, fanatically so. They feel a contempt for their own civilization and they regard this contempt as a mark of sophistication and virtue. They have made a fetish of unqualified respect for other cultures, however objectively undeserving those cultures may be of any decent person’s regard. They are especially fond of cultures that share their own contempt for the West, and hence there is no culture for which they show more deference than that of Islam, which since its founding has been at war with what used to be called the Christian world.
The postmodernists live, of course, in countries that are – or were, until they started ruining it all – free, prosperous, and safe, and they feel an obligation to share their good fortune with as many Muslims as possible, even if it means, in the long run, destroying that freedom, prosperity, and safety. In the case of Sweden, this self-destructive impulse is so strong that the country has actually opened its arms to returning ISIS terrorists – and given them all kinds of freebies to make them happy.
When a Muslim such as Strandsson converts to Christianity, however, all bets are off. Her otherness is immediately erased, effaced, nullified. Western officials who reflexively treat everything having to do with Islam with delicacy and respect take an entirely antithetical view of a Muslim who has converted to Christianity. While they regard Islam, the religion of “the other,” as by definition virtuous – as a faith whose adherents should be automatically esteemed, appeased, and rewarded – they view Christianity, the faith of their despised Crusader ancestors, as intrinsically iniquitous, a religion of conquest and oppression. In the eyes of the truly fervent Swedish multiculturalist, sending someone like Strandsson back to a place like Iran to be brutally executed by the merciless enforcers of sharia law is not obscenely immoral but is, rather, the ultimate gesture of respect – and thus an act of virtue.
What makes Eastern Europe so different from Western Europe in this regard is simple: it is not postmodern. It rejects multiculturalism. Its officials, perversely enough, are actually on their own side. Having been under the Soviet boot within living memory, they have not enjoyed freedom long enough to take it for granted. In their view, their primary duty is not to serve the interests of strangers from distant lands but to preserve the liberty, culture, prosperity, and security of their own people – and to reach out a hand to those who need their help and have embraced their values. “Taking in persecuted Christians,” said Hungary’s Deputy Prime Minister, Zsolt Semjén, about the Strandsson case, “is our moral and constitutional duty all at once.”
Strandsson’s story is far from unique. Last September it was reported that Sarmad Ozan, an Iraqi engineer and Christian deacon whose home city of Mosul had been overrun by ISIS and cleansed of Christians, had requested asylum in Britain, where he was studying. But the Home Office denied his request, ordering him to return home. Since Ozan is a Christian and his former neighbors in Mosul have all become ISIS supporters, the Home Office’s decision amounted to a death sentence. He appealed; as of last spring, he was still awaiting a reply.
Then, this past February, Front Page’s Daniel Greenfield told the story of an Iraqi Christian family who were denied asylum in Germany by a headscarf-wearing Muslim official, of which there are apparently many working in that country’s immigration service. A Member of Parliament, Wolfgang Bosbach, complained, pronouncing it ridiculous that a devout Muslim should be in a position to rule on asylum applications by Christians fleeing the Islamic world; but the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees dismissed his concerns.
Under President Obama, of course, the U.S. government pursued a similar policy toward Middle Eastern Christians. As of the beginning of 2015, reported the Daily Mail in September of that year, the U.S. had granted asylum to 4,200 Muslims but only 727 Christians. Lisa Jones of Christian Freedom International asserted that these numbers made “no sense”: “These are people from a Christian culture like our own that needs protection from ISIS…. While many more Muslims are granted asylum over here, Christians are being systematically exterminated.” In 2016, according to a Pew report, “about 99 percent of Syrian refugees admitted to the U.S. were Muslim, while less than 1 percent were Christian.”
When Donald Trump announced shortly after his inauguration that he would be reversing this disgraceful policy – giving priority to Christian refugees from Muslim persecution and instituting “extreme vetting” for possible jihadists – all sane, decent Americans should have applauded. Instead, millions reacted in outrage at what their brainwashing by multicultural-minded news media, teachers, and professors led them to see as an expression of bigotry – confirming yet again that if Islam is the number-one enemy of Western freedom today, multicultural indoctrination in our own ranks is Islam’s most potent ally.