Moral Tradeoffs and the Muslim refugees

In response to the migrants fleeing the Middle East, our government has just announced that it is raising the refugee quota to 100,000 per year, and that is apart from regular immigrants (in just one year (2013) we admitted 300,000 Muslim immigrants.) In Britain, Prime Minister David Cameron confirmed that Britain will act with its ‘head and its heart’ and accept thousands of refugees. But there is a question about the “head” half of that statement. Consider the following true story:

Brigitte was a nice Christian girl who lived in on a ridge between two idyllic green valleys in a land that has pristine beaches and snow-capped mountains. Her best friend was a Muslim girl called Khadija. The two girls walked on the playground together, ate lunch together, and were inseparable. Brigitte believed that Jews were evil, but that was what her school taught her. She was a nice girl. Her country, Lebanon, had a slim Christian majority, and was an island of freedom in the Middle East. They were a modern democracy, with a diverse population – Christians and Muslims, dark-skinned and blue-eyed blonds.

Her town, Marjayoun, was like a small town in the USA, with churches and a movie theater, which doubled as a place for community activities and school stage productions.
Brigitte lived in a majestic two story stone house surrounded by gardens of flowers, and trees carrying plums, peaches, apricots, lemons and cherries. Her country attracted celebrities such as Cary Grant and Frank Sinatra, as well as oil-rich sheikhs.

So how did this tolerant, multi-cultural paradise become anything but?
“We did not realize that the intolerant Islamic side of our culture was gaining strength on the back of our Western openness and pride in diversity. With our open-border policy, we unwittingly allowed [in] what would turn out to be our enemy…”

Beneath the surface, there were persistent hatreds. Sunnis and Shias had their differences, Muslims and Christians too, Christian clans distrusted each other, and everybody hated the Jews. In Brigitte’s Christian private school, the New Testament was taught, but never the Old Testament, which was considered the enemy’s book. She was told that the Jews were demons, and that “the only time we will have peace is when we drive all the Jews into the sea.”

The Muslims had more children than anyone else, because the men could have many wives, either simultaneously or serially, and would have many children with each wife. Osama Bin Laden, for example, was one of fifty-three children. He himself had twenty-seven children.
By 1970, the Christians were the minority and Muslims demanded more power in the government. This might have worked out peacefully, except that a wave of Palestinians came in, escaping a crackdown in neighboring Jordan. Lebanon was one of the few countries that accepted them. The Lebanese Christians allowed them to study side by side with them in their universities, gave them jobs, and felt sympathetic toward their plight.
This was naive. I’ll fast-forward to the ultimate result.

Brigitte was sheltered by her parents from the dark currents that were afoot, though Christians were already curbing their own travel, because of Muslims setting up checkpoints, checking IDs, and shooting anyone who was Christian. (You may have heard of the “humiliation” that Palestinians suffer being stopped at Israeli roadblocks in the West Bank. But being shot dead because you are a Christian is worse than being humiliated because you are a Palestinian.)

You also may have heard (and disbelieved) Israeli claims that Hamas fires missiles deliberately at Israel from the midst of its civilian population. It does sound like self-serving propaganda.
But Brigitte said that is exactly what happened in Lebanon – Palestinians would come into a Christian village, fire missiles at Israel, quickly withdraw and when the Israeli returned fire, it would hit the Christians.

Then came Brigitte’s own personal 9/11.
Rockets suddenly started hitting around her house. Then one came through her bedroom window.

The explosion blew me out of my bed into the corner. The blast was so loud and the flash so bright that I thought I’d never hear or see again….I woke up from the dream of a perfect childhood and found myself in a hellish nightmare…From where I lay on the floor, I could see fires burning around the room, including on the bed where I had been sleeping…I couldn’t feel my right arm..I could move my left arm..but when I moved it, I felt as if I were in a shower, with hot water pouring over me. [it was blood]…Like in a dream, slowly I began to hear myself screaming…I kept wondering, “Who is pouring hot water over me?”

So who was fighting this war apart from alienated Palestinians? “A lot of Muslims poured in from…Iran…Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Jordan, Libya, Iraq, and Egypt…[and] started massacring the Christians in city after city. The western media seldom reported these horrific events. “The combined forces of the PLO and the Muslims would enter a bomb shelter and see a mother and a father hiding with a little baby. They would tie one leg of the baby to the mother and one leg to the father..” (bloggers note, you can guess what they did next).

“A close friend of mine became mentally disturbed after they made her slaughter her own son…They tied her to a chair, tied a knife to her hand, and holding her hand, forced her to cut her own sixteen-year-old son’s throat.”

drownedBoyI saw the now famous picture of that little boy washed up on the beach, from a Muslim family that tried to escape the extremely unpleasant Middle East for the peaceful and prosperous, though not as prosperous as they think, countries of Northern Europe. It doesn’t feel good to advocate shutting people out, especially if at least some of them are escaping very dangerous situations. It doesn’t feel morally pure to say “stop!”.

I have Jewish relatives in England who live in Leeds, which is near Bradford, which has a large Muslim population. Jewish children in their town are told to not wear head-coverings because if they do, they attract attacks. My Jewish relatives do not want any more Muslims to settle in Britain, once described by Shakespeare as:

This fortress built by Nature for herself
Against infection and the hand of war,
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone set in the silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall
Or as a moat defensive to a house,
Against the envy of less happier lands,–
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.

I include this because Shakespeare saw England as a protected island in a turbulent world.

The point is that Muslim immigrants bring a problem with them that immigrants from other countries (Poland, Mexico, etc.) do not. Back home, they are not insightful into the causes of their widespread illiteracy, their economic sclerosis, the widespread violence in their own countries. And when they flee dictators like Assad, or Islamic movements such as ISIS, they don’t necessarily learn the appropriate lessons either.
Neither do we. Our dopey government had a Muslim (Siraj Wahaj) deliver a patriotic sounding prayer at the House of Representatives, the same fellow who a year later told a Muslim audience “If only Muslims were more clever politically they could take over the United States and replace its constitutional government with a caliphate.”

Brigitte wrote her book in 2006. At that time, she seemed to be paranoid (to me) when she said:

“The Islamic community throughout the world is out-reproducing Christians and Jews almost seven to one. It will be a matter of a few generations before they can get voting power to challenge state laws and change the constitution of the United States….”

Recently though, Mordechai Kedar reported that:

In the USA, there are Muslims who demand an end to the ringing of church bells and in some areas, Muslims have demanded that crosses be moved to where they cannot see them because they find them offensive..

He also adds that:

And although the coercive methods of Islamic State are not acceptable to most Muslims, the group’s religious demands, especially on the treatment of Christians, are acceptable to Muslims in many different countries.

This raises a final question. Life has moral tradeoffs. You can trade one evil for another. One evil is saying to a Syrian or Iraqi who just wants to escape the violence around them to “stay in the awful, baking desert camp in Jordan that has been taken over by a criminal element” or “stay in an area where you could be blown to smithereens any minute.”
But if the alternative is welcoming a large population with anti-democratic ideas into your country then which evil should we choose? Or as a third alternative, should we mount an armed invasion into part of the Middle East and Libya, and create a benevolent dictatorship (at the cost of many a dead or maimed American soldier) so that Muslims have a peaceful place to live?
Or finally, should we let them in and see our countries follow the path of Lebanon?

Brigitte has been called names such as “Islamophobe” and “bigoted” and so forth, but we ignore her story at our peril.


Because They Hate – Brigitte Gabriel (2006)

Kedar’s comments are at:

Comments are closed.

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner