The issue of refugees in Europe is widely described as a “crisis.” While that may be true in terms of its political and financial impact, other aspects have been exaggerated and amplified, particularly by some radical voices across Europe that are shouting: “Fear the refugees!”
They may claim that they are giving advice, but really they are spitting out their poisonous ideas, warning of the cultural differences and security risks which come from refugees, saying these people cannot be integrated. In doing so, they deliberately choose to ignore the fact that many immigrants are brilliant examples of integration in Europe, whether in academia or politics. Some of the newcomers have already been the focus of news stories about their active roles in their new community.
Recently, the incitements against refugees took a terrifying turn in France, the land which gave the world the Enlightenment ideas of Voltaire and Rousseau on justice and equality. Many in that country have left behind those ideas, jailing themselves in a dark box called Islamophobia.
The French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo used the case of Alan Kurdi, the three-year-old Syrian boy found dead on a Turkish beach last year. His image lying face down appeared around the world and prompted a wave of sympathy for the plight of refugees fleeing war. Yet the magazine used his tragic image in a very offensive way, with a cartoonist appearing to welcome his death and suggesting the child would have grown up to be a sex attacker! It was the third time the magazine had used his image in an offensive way.