The Far Right Is Obsessed With a Book about Muslims Destroying Europe. Here’s What It Gets Wrong.

This March, Hungary’s authoritarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán posted a photo of himself to his official Facebook page holding up a book, titled “The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam.” Orbán’s photo was of the book’s Hungarian translation, but author Douglas Murray, a British political commentator and journalist, wrote the volume in English. Since its release, the book has made considerable waves. Last summer, Murray was among a group of pop intellectuals collectively deemed to be members of the “Intellectual Dark Web” by the New York Times. Despite being a year old, his book continues to be cited by anti-immigrant hard-liners in the United States, as well as right-wing European politicians like Orbán. If you’re curious what the book is about, the entire argument is helpfully summed up in the title. Europe is dying — being murdered, in fact — by hordes of Muslim immigrants, aided in their task by craven liberal politicians. As Murray describes it, insufficiently harsh border policies have opened the gates to migrants bent on committing no lesser crimes than mass rape and indiscriminate murder. Meanwhile, white Europeans, exhausted by their own history and driven into moral relativism by the decline of the Christian faith, are slowly being replaced by an implacably hostile and alien population of foreigners. (…) The picture of Europe that Murray paints is nothing less than apocalyptic. Over 300 pages, he recounts a litany of crimes committed by immigrants, asylum-seekers, refugees, or people with European citizenship who happen to be minorities. Like far-right American publications that maintain running lists of crimes specifically committed by black people and Latino immigrants, Murray collapses all these cases together to give the impression of one gigantic, rolling crisis. Echoing President Donald Trump’s warnings about Latin American rapists flooding the United States from Mexico, Murray depicts a wave of migrants from Muslim-majority countries who are not simply fleeing violence in their homelands, but are on a mission to conquer, violate, and insult the people of Europe.
In case it needs to be said, some migrants, particularly young people, do commit crimes. There have been violent crimes involving migrants, including some who were refugees. But Murray’s narrative of lawlessness is blinkered to the point of being propaganda. While European Union-wide statistics are not readily available, it’s worth noting that Germany, the country that took the most refugees during the peak of the crisis, reported its lowest national crime rate this year since 1992. Similar decreases have been recorded in Italy, one of the front-line states for those arriving from across the Mediterranean. Across the continent, the wave of refugees has already crested, without the breakdown of law and order claimed by far-right polemicists.

via intercept: The Far Right Is Obsessed With a Book about Muslims Destroying Europe. Here’s What It Gets Wrong.

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