AMERICAN THINKER — In September 2015, the photo of a three-year-old Syrian child lying dead on a Turkish beach next to his mother and five-year-old brother, who had all drowned, as had over 2,000 others, was a poignant picture. Everyone recognizes the need for humanitarian assistance to a reasonable degree for those trying to escape from the brutality of the war in Syria and barbarous Islamist terrorism.
While recognizing the moral problem involved, the countries of Europe are confronted with the pragmatic problem of responding in the context of 4.6 million Middle East refugees seeking asylum and 13.5 million people needing assistance inside Syria. The numbers will grow as the civil war in Syria continues and ISIS, the Islamic State, still exists.
There are three factors involved. The first is the unwelcome straightforward issue of the number of would-be migrants, genuine refugees, from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somali, and Eritrea, who can realistically be accepted by European countries and, to a lesser extent, by the United States. A second is whether those migrants, mostly Muslim, can be satisfactorily integrated into Western democratic societies. Already in 2015, more than 1 million people came to Europe by sea, and another 34,000 by land. A third problem is the fear that some of them may be Islamists or jihadists prepared to cause harm, rather than genuine refugees.
By coincidence, these factors were discussed on successive days, February 3 and February 4, 2016. On the first day, the president of Finland, Sauli Niinistö, said that migration into European by people, almost all Muslims, is a serious threat to Western values, culture, and identity. It is now clear that a considerable number of those seeking asylum are not genuine refugees fleeing war. Tougher laws are needed to prevent migrants from entering Europe simply because they are in search of a better life. The West should try to some extent to help those in distress or who are being persecuted but not those people who are not really in need.