Last week’s attacks in Paris have demonstrated again the potential dangers that many see in large scale immigration into Europe. Even before the attacks took place, we have seen in Germany the rise of the “Pegida” movement which has been campaigning against what they claim is the ongoing Islamisation of Europe. Tensions between native populations and immigrants are one of the downsides of large scale immigration, and yet Germany is one country which needs immigration to keep its population from falling due to its very low fertility rate. As we reported last year, immigration to Germany is going through what some describe as a “boom” and is now the second most popular destination for immigrants (after the US). Yet many in Germany, and elsewhere in Europe, are worried about the large numbers of Muslim immigrants in their countries. Worries heightened by the Charlie Hebdo attacks.
As Caroline Wyatt of the BBC reports popular discontent with immigration is growing, forcing political parties to confront the issue:
“France has the largest Muslim population in Europe, some five million or 7.5% of the population, compared with Germany’s four million or 5% of the population, and the UK’s three million, also 5% of the population.
In all three, mainstream political parties are being forced to confront popular discontent over levels of immigration and the apparent desire of some younger, often disaffected children or grandchildren of immigrant families not to conform to western, liberal lifestyles – including traditions of religious tolerance and free speech.”
The attacks in Paris were not only against scatological, immature and inane cartoonists and publishers (before anyone gets worked up, this doesn’t mean I think they deserved to die!) but also against Jews – it was no random choice to attack a kosher supermarket. This anti-Semitism is a disturbing feature of France of late, as Wyatt notes:
“But some in its Jewish community have responded to increasing anti-Semitism and the killing of Jews in France and Belgium by Islamist extremists by emigrating to Israel and elsewhere.
Recent physical attacks on synagogues and Jews in the suburbs of Paris, where Jews and Muslims often live side by side in poorer areas such as Sarcelles, only exacerbated fears that the violence in the name of religion that grips parts of Africa and the Middle East, and which so many flee to Europe to escape, has followed them here.”
Is it suprising that so many Jews are fleeing France for Israel? According to Stephen Pollard, France’s Jewish population is falling quickly:
“From being the largest Jewish community in the EU at the start of this decade, with a population of around 500,000, it is expected by Jewish community leaders to have fallen to 400,000 within a few years. That figure is thought by some to be too optimistic. Anecdotally, every French Jew I know has either already left or is working out how to leave.
Natan Sharansky, the former Soviet refusenik who is now chair of the Jewish Agency Chairman, said last year that 2,254 French Jews moved to Israel during the first five months of 2014, against only 580 in all of 2013. That is a staggering 289 per cent increase, but in recent months the figure is thought to have increased exponentially.
The number expected to leave this year for Israel was estimated at over 10,000 – and that was before today’s events. And that is just to Israel. Many are coming to Britain as part of the wider French exodus under President Hollande”
As Wyatt states, Western European nations are now “beginning to divide” on how to best tackle radical Islamism within their Muslim migrant communities. It will be fascinating to see if anything does change in the years to come in this respect in France, the UK, Germany and other European nations. Will the Jewish exodus from France continue and will anti-immigration and anti-Islamist marches movements grow in Germany and elsewhere? And will politicians acknowledge that there may well be a problem and that their people want to have a say on current immigration policy?