A book review of “Prey: Immigration, Islam and the erosion of women’s rights” by Ayaan Hirsi Ali (2021). The book describes the burgeoning crisis in Europe and outlines solutions to these horrendous problems created by leftist policies.
Note the spelling of ‘prey’ — this should not deter us from ‘praying’.
Ayaan is an ex-Muslim immigrant from Somalia to the Netherlands. Her integration into European society has been most effective, rising to become a member of the Dutch parliament, where her outspoken views attracted death threats from radical Islamists. She now lives in the USA with her husband and children under continuous personal protection for the rest of her life.
This book is about mass migration, sexual violence, and the rights of women in Europe. It is about a colossal failure of the European political establishment. And it is about solutions, fake and real. (xi)
It is the result of meticulous research by Ayaan and her team, yet reads extremely well — it is by no means a tedious academic tome, though at 322 pages, it’s certainly not a quick read. There are four parts:
- Part 1 – The unsafe streets
- Part 2 – The European establishment abrogates responsibility for women’s safety
- Part 3 – Clashing civilizations, revisited
- Part 4 – Solutions, fake and real
Some inconvenient truths
The start of the book is hard to read, as the reality described is confronting. There were times when I felt physically sick reading, so persevere. Ayaan documents a vast number of statistics about the waves of migration and asylum seekers arriving into Europe in the last decade, with the crest of the wave happening in 2015, primarily caused by Middle Eastern and African conflicts. She also documents the statistics relating to sexual abuse, rapes, gang rapes and murders of women during this period, and the effects this has had on local communities right across Europe and the United Kingdom.
For example, Ayaan recounts what happened on New Year’s Eve, 31 December 2015 in the German city of Cologne:
Around fifteen hundred men mostly newly arrived asylum seekers of Arab and North African backgrounds converged in the city centre… The men were drunk, unruly, and — as soon became clear — beyond the control of the police. They mobbed together and entrapped women in the square, sexually harassing and assaulting any they could get their hands on, often stealing their wallets and mobile phones in the process. In the following months, 661 women reported being victims of sexual attacks that night…
Many of the women described being separated from their husbands and male friends and pushed inside ‘hell circles’ of young migrant men. The men groped women and girls, no matter their age, appearance, or circumstances… (pp. 64-65)
The response from the police was astonishing. The Cologne police issued a statement that the evening had been ‘largely peaceful’! The mainstream media only reported the events of the ‘celebrations’ after an outpouring of actual reports surfaced on social media. Similar incidents, but smaller, had also occurred that same night in Hamburg, Stuttgart, Dusseldorf, and Bielefeld.
A further illustration of the material from the start of the book:
The human cost of this great Völkerwanderung (migration of nations) is shockingly high. More than 10,000 migrants, intent on making it to Europe, drowned in the Mediterranean between 2015 and 2017. Others risk their lives stowing away in trucks or crossing the Alps on foot in freezing temperatures. Europe should not underestimate how much these people want to make it there. (p. 96)
It seems to me that Europe and the West in general have been blinded to the realities of the impact of mass migrations without effective integration for well over a decade now.
On 2 September 2015, The Guardian newspaper ran this headline: Shocking images of drowned Syrian boy show tragic plight of refugees. Young boy found lying face-down on a beach near Turkish resort of Bodrum was one of at least 12 Syrians who drowned attempting to reach Greece.
I will never forget this news item and I suspect many of you will have had the same reaction. But we have not stitched the pieces of the puzzle together to create a clear irrefutable picture, that our policies and our politicians’ actions are not working. The West has simply has its collective head in the sand.
The rise of the ‘populist-right’
Ayaan draws a distinct correlation between the rise in refugee and asylum applications into Europe with the rise of the populist, right-wing political parties that call for a curb on the numbers being accepted. She doesn’t seek to define ‘the populist-right’ but presents their phenomenon as a given, universally understood, but not to be followed. She sees the populists as being too close to radical racism that she believes would seek to ban all future refugees and asylum seekers and the deportation of those already there.
The book’s stance on the populist-right can be seen throughout. Ayaan seems to understand where their rise has come from, but nowhere does she suggest that their perspective should be seen as a solution. This dichotomy intrigued me right up to the final chapter, where she sets out her recipe for a lasting solution.
Before leaving the discussion of the populist-right, let me explore this phenomenon a little further. Google’s definition is illuminating:
a person, especially a politician, who strives to appeal to ordinary people who feel that their concerns are disregarded by established elite groups.
Ayaan believes that the populist-right has arisen in Europe as a backlash, or reaction, to the governing authorities’ inability to address the challenges being wreaked by the mass migration, particularly of young men from Muslim backgrounds and their lack of effective integration into their host’s society.
However, I suggest that the rise of the populist-right might be a reaction to the predominantly left-leaning governments, intent on the ‘appearance’ of correct living, that is not being discriminatory to ethnic and religious minorities, but markedly ‘ineffective’ at standing up for the hard-won freedoms, particularly for women, and their apparent willful ‘blindness’ to the erosion of western civilisation in general.
Perhaps there is another angle to consider as well. Traditionally, fifty years ago ‘the left’ stood for the working man, trade unions, and the man on the street. The ‘conservatives’ on the other hand, the right wing of politics, stood for the big end of town, corporations, ‘public schools’ (private schools), the middle class and higher, who held strongly to their Judeo-Christian roots.
I propose that in the last decade, the conservatives have moved ‘left’ as they have abandoned their strongly held Judeo-Christian values and the left has moved ‘right’. The conservatives, the new left, have become so enamoured with the ‘woke agenda’, they have failed to see the chaos and tragedy unfolding in their own communities. The traditional ‘left’ has abandoned their connection to the working man and the man in the street, and as a result, are also blind to the chaos and tragedies unfolding in their own city streets.
Therefore, no wonder the ordinary people who feel that their concerns are disregarded by established elite groups, have begun to form populist political parties. I don’t think they are racist at all. I think they have eyes to see and intellects to think and they are not blinded by the elites of both the traditional left and right, who are both running headlong to the left. I propose that while Ayaan may not like the populists, I suspect the populists will have something to say about the ‘erosion of women’s rights’ because no one else has.
One last word on the populists. Why should we accept the Google definition? Why should our modern enlightened civilisation concede to the existence of ordinary people and established elite groups? Where’s the equity in that? Perhaps the populists have a point after all?
Why has Europe seen a stark erosion of women’s rights?
Firstly, Ayaan describes German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s impact on women’s rights in Germany and, like a chain reaction, throughout Europe and the United Kingdom. Ayaan recounts:
It is one of the rich ironies of early-twenty-first-century history that the single decision that has done the most harm to European women in my lifetime was made by a woman. (p. 92)
On 21 August 2015, Angela suspended the Dublin Regulation that required refugees to apply for asylum at the first point of entry to the European Union (EU). This meant that the immigrants could now transit through country after country, not stopping in states that would likely refuse them, and in turn deem them rejected by the EU. The result is that they could, henceforth, arrive at the German border unhindered.
Then on 4 September 2015, Angela announced that there would be no upper limit on the number of asylum seekers who could be admitted into Germany. The result of Germany’s opened border resulted in the admission of ten thousand migrants a day that lasted for weeks. It was clear that the government had lost control.
Why did Angela Merkel open the floodgates? Reading Ayaan’s perspective, it seems to me that it was a combination of natural human generosity and empathy for the plight of the refugees coupled with a deep subconscious desire, on her part, to seek to assuage the ethnic cleansing of the Nazi regime in World War II.
Secondly, the book examines the European asylum laws. The European border agency, Frontex, claims that they returned 3,500 people in 2015, 5,000 in 2016 and 10,000 in 2017.
However, the return of rejected asylum seekers is usually the responsibility of the national governments rather than Frontex… In Germany in 2018, there were 236,000 people who had been ordered to leave… but fewer than 24,000 were deported. Another 31,000 attempted deportations were cancelled by German authorities. In Sweden, around one third of repatriations go ahead. In the first quarter of 2018, 3,000 people were due to be expelled… but only 1,000 of them were removed. (p. 100)
In many cases, the rejected asylum seeker goes into hiding and the border police don’t find them. It does not help that some municipalities provide financial aid for rejected applicants! A report from the UK National Crime Agency said:
that illegal migrants were not worried about being caught because, rightly or wrongly, they don’t fear being returned. And that is, I think, something that is a significant player in the issue here… In the minds of the facilitators (people smugglers) and in the minds of those people willing to take the journey, there is a very low risk that they will be returned. (p. 101)
Ayaan never suggests that all migrants have criminal tendencies, but she does quote ample statistical evidence that the majority of sexual abuse, rape and gang rape cases are associated with rejected asylum seekers who have not been returned.
Finally, Ayaan proposes that a further reason that Europe has seen a stark erosion of women’s rights is that Western civilisation has lost its connection with its roots, through its blind embrace of woke dogma that seeks to delete the past as it champions inclusivity for all. It also labels any who do not adhere wholeheartedly to this doctrine as those who should be vilified and rejected. Therefore, on the grounds of anti-discrimination, Europe must be accepting of all, no matter their motive, their background and their cultural mores.
Jordan Peterson, the Canadian psychologist and prolific author, introduced me to a new perspective on woke dogma. He calls it the ‘principle of non-contradiction’:
In logic, the law of non-contradiction states that contradictory propositions cannot both be true in the same sense at the same time, e. g. the two propositions “p is the case” and “p is not the case” are mutually exclusive. Formally this is expressed as the tautology (Wikipedia).
Ayaan calls out the European and British authorities for their single-minded adherence to inclusivity and non-discrimination in regard to the immigration crisis and its impact on Western values and women’s rights and security in particular. She notes that as a consequence of their policies or their failure to manage their own policies, there are now numerous suburbs in European and British cities that are ‘no-go’ areas for women, in broad daylight as well as at night. Many institutions, bars and cafes in these areas are now conspicuous for their men-only clientele. Where has the principle of inclusivity and non-discrimination gone?
The Playbook of Denial
Ayaan opens Chapter 9 with this title, quoting psychologist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’ work on the five stages of grief — denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance:
I sometimes think that Europe is stuck at stage one. It is not only judges who make excuses for criminal behaviour by young migrant men; politicians, mayors, bureaucrats, journalists, academics, community spokespeople and refugee advocates all offer a variety of rationalizations and in some cases downright denials. (p. 123)
Regarding judicial leniency, the most common reason that an offender gets off scot-free is that they provide evidence that they were drunk at the time of the alleged offence and therefore they had diminished responsibility. This rationalisation is often coupled with the court’s inability to prove that sex was not consensual. Further, some judges even make allowances for migrant sex offences based on their evident lack of understanding of Western women’s sexual self-determination.
A Berlin judge in 2017 said:
Mrs. G. had refused the advances of the defendant, so he threw her onto a bed, wedged her head and shoulders between two metal struts, raped her for four hours while she screamed ‘Stop!” and scratched him. At some point she gave up the struggle. The assault was so vicious that she could not walk properly for two weeks. The court had no doubt that the victim had been raped. Nevertheless, the judge wondered if the 23-year-old Turkish defendant might have thought it was consensual… the judge acquitted him. (p. 116)
Another tactic in the playbook of denial is the manufacture of statistics, studies and surveys to debunk the reality on the ground. Ayaan shows that studies can be designed in such a way as to produce the conclusions the researchers are looking for. For example, one 2017 study of European attitudes towards immigration showed high stability and that attitudes are becoming slightly more favourable. The reality, however, is that the less well-educated, older and more conservative Europeans hold more negative views of migrants. In fact, the establishment can be described as being dismissive of honest academics as bigots.
Virtue-signalling politicians appeal to their people’s compassion and ask them to fulfil their moral duty to rescue migrants, vilifying those who dissent as immoral, inhumane and racist. For example, in September 2016 the mayors of New York, Paris and London issued a joint statement in the New York Times that pledged to:
continue to pursue an inclusive approach to (refugee) resettlement in order to combat the growing tide of xenophobic language around the globe. Such language will lead only to increased marginalization of our immigrant communities, without making us any safer. (p. 129)
It seems to me that this epitomises the principle of non-contraction perfectly. The politically correct virtue-signalling politician elites need to establish their moral superiority to lead their citizens into the ‘right way’. They are therefore duty bound to class anyone who does not follow their lead as aberrant and immoral. Then, they need to create the growing tide of xenophobic language around the world. So why not swing full circle and label the ‘dissenting, immoral and inhumane’ as the racists. What tautology!
Let’s turn this around. Those who are claiming the moral high ground, the left-leaning elites, are the true racists, guilty of gross discrimination and xenophobic language as they seek to bring division in the communities, they are elected by and responsible to lead. In fact, Ayaan is at pains to demonstrate that the ordinary people are the ones actually sacrificing time, resources and cash to support the new immigrants. The elites are far removed from the streets and don’t lift a finger, and don’t actually see the reality on the ground for themselves.
It is telling that the virtue-signalling politicians appeal against the use of xenophobic language, when Ayaan’s book is screaming for some serious attention to the erosion of women’s rights and their actual abuse, sexual abuse, rape, gang rape and murder. This hardly compares with the allegation of some bad language.
Chapter 9 concludes with the question: why do so many establishment institutions persist in their denial of the problem? Ayaan suggests it is simply self-interest.
The left-wing politicians have seen their traditional white, working-class voter base erode over the decades, so they have turned to the immigrants as a new source of votes. However, she concedes it is not all cynical electoral calculation. Rather, radical socialists in Germany have identified the migrant crisis as an opportunity to deal a blow to capitalism. Simultaneously, they have enthusiastically adopted refugee rights as an instrument in their project of universal liberation. Ayaan cites some as having embraced the idea of open borders as an almost revolutionary project. Indeed, the EU’s dream to unite Europe into a single confederation of states with open borders between member states, to rival the United States, has paved the way for their dream of universal liberation.
This playbook sounds remarkably like the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Great Reset Agenda of bringing universal equity between all nations and all nationalities, but only on the back of the death of capitalism under the rule of the One World Order coming from the WEF. This is the globalists’ dream.
Naturally, if universal equity is to be realised, then the cultural incongruence between the West’s Judeo-Christian values with burgeoning women’s rights and the ultraorthodox patriarchal Islamic Sharia Law — that locks up and veils girls and women for life, keeping them bound to arranged marriages, genital mutilation and child-rearing — needs urgent open debate and resolution. Encouraging and facilitating mass migration between these two cultures is an integral part of the left’s narrative, and any erosion of women’s rights in the West is simply a necessary side effect of their big picture.
A New Approach to Integration
Ayaan describes the innumerable migrant integration policies that have been enacted for decades in Europe and the United Kingdom. She reports the never-ending costs of these initiatives and questions why the politicians persist with them, in the face of mounting evidence of their failure to integrate, particularly the young men from Islamic backgrounds.
She also points out that the new migrants and refugees are taking an increasing slice of the social services budget even though they have made no contribution, unlike their host communities who have been made to contribute their whole working lives. In fact, many host citizens have seen a real cut in their own welfare in the last decade, as a consequence of governments’ attempts to balance their budgets in the light of the enormous waves of new arrivals, particularly in 2015 and 2016.
As I discussed above, Ayaan does not put any hope in the rise of the new populist political parties, fearing they would simply degenerate into radical racism as she believes they would seek to ban all future immigration and they would strengthen repatriation attempts of failed asylum seekers. No, this remarkable study of a clear and present danger to women’s rights and safety concludes with six radical proposals for a new approach to integration that Ayaan insists must receive close consideration by all parties concerned.
1. Repeal the existing asylum framework
The current Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees was ratified in Geneva in 1951. Ayaan rightly indicates that it was not written for the complex world we have now and certainly not for the numbers currently involved.
The focus should not be on the nature of the environment refugees are fleeing, but rather on how likely they are to abide by the laws and values of their host society. She goes on to say:
People like me would have been better off being given an option to prove our ability to adapt instead of having to shoehorn our life stores into the Geneva Convention’s framework. Rather than leaving it to a bureaucratic lottery, migrants should therefore be selected on the basis of their likelihood of adapting and flourishing in the West. These would be individuals with the highest probability of entering the labor market, rather than the welfare state, those who genuinely wish to become Dutch, French, or British and live among, as opposed to just near their fellow citizens. (p. 259)
2. Address the Push Factors…
Unless western counties invest more intentionally in the security and economic conditions of the counties that push their people to the West, they will keep coming in ever bigger and bigger waves. Trade and development aid needs to be tied more meaningfully with the migration issue such as forcing these counties to accept repatriated migrants as a condition of trade deals.
Ayaan is not advocating for more military interventions, but rather the development of soft power. She would also like to see more than the current norm of 2% of GNP being channelled into bringing greater global harmony. She also advocates for greater investment in border protection to run parallel with these initiatives, or the West’s investment will be wasted on leaky borders.
3. … As Well as the Pull Factors
The Nobel laureate Milton Friedman said:
… you can have free immigration, or you can have a welfare state, but you can’t have both. (p. 262)
Ayaan points out that welfare states are national, not universal. Therefore, there must be meaningful limits on what outsiders can claim just because they managed to cross a border.
Alongside this factor, Ayaan proposes that each migrant should be required to sign an Integration Declaration that includes host society language proficiency and compulsory enculturation programs such as sex education for young people and young men in particular.
If, after two years, the new arrivals have not reached the threshold standards of their host society, they will be repatriated.
Ayaan quoted an example of what she had in mind by recounting the experience of one Muslim woman on an integration program in Austria. At the end of the discussion, this woman quietly lowered her head scarf.
To me, her subtle action symbolized what an integration course should do: provide exposure to the values of one’s new society and give them the confidence to adopt them for themselves. (p. 263)
4. Reinstate the Rule of Law
Europe’s criminal justice system is simply too lenient towards violent offenders. Ayaan has wrestled with the paradox of using illiberal means to achieve liberal ends, but the rule of law without its effective enforcement is merely misrule, an abdication of responsibility.
Ayaan also calls for special units dedicated to the protection of particularly vulnerable groups and minorities. All too often in this book, I was reading that the law enforcement officers were ill-equipped or lacked the necessary training to do an effective job, so their fail-safe was simply to turn a blind eye, playing right into the hands of the populist movement.
5. Listen to the Successful Immigrants
Ayaan acknowledges that she and other successful immigrants are the ones doing most to open up the debate. She points out that one clear battle that must be won is to bring the issues of the erosion of women’s rights into the public square for full, frank, and open debate.
The irony of the recent surge in the ‘#MeToo’ movement has not touched the cultural clash between Islam and Judeo-Christian perspectives; rather, it has simply focused on the relatively superficial discrimination against women in the Western workplace. She welcomes the movement, naturally, but is incredulous as to why it stops so far short, it actually does not cross the cultural divide at all.
Ayaan is adamant that Western democracies do all they can to robustly defend liberal values and enforce the rule of law, and that individual responsibility is crucial. All too often, the young Muslim men, perpetrators of crime, claim security within the collective of their own community, as would be the case in their homeland. Personal responsibility is an alien idea for them.
5. Provide Sex Education to All Children
Nazir Afzal is an outspoken former Crown prosecutor for the first grooming gang cases in the United Kingdom. He has spoken openly and frankly about the problems of the honour culture. Nazir noted that even after some successful prosecution of gang members, the convicted did not believe they had done anything wrong. He went to say:
They have strict families. They may have a forced or arranged marriage… They have never been educated; there is no sex education or relationship education for young men in many of these communities. They don’t know what a good relationship is or how to make one. So going up and touching someone, unlawfully and without consent, is something natural for them. (p. 266)
Currently, while sex education is mandated in most schools across Europe and the United Kingdom, parents are allowed to pull their children from these classes on cultural and religious grounds. Ayaan says, this has to stop. This pandering to the cultural mores of the immigrant’s homeland is doing nothing to foster effective integration in the West’s host nations.
Where to from here?
The book ends with an intriguing reminder to me, that even in my own lifetime, back in the nineteen fifties and sixties, in many Muslim nations in the Middle East and Africa, you could see men and women sitting together in public cafes and restaurants. The women would be dressed elegantly and certainly with no headscarf or hijab.
Yes, in my lifetime, the radical Islamists have swept through the Arab world restoring their interpretation of the Koran and subjugating their girls and women accordingly. Then, these nations have seen internal conflicts resulting in horrific civil wars that have displaced millions of Muslims to the West where they have spread their illiberal ideals of Sharia Law just as they have back home.
Meanwhile, the West has looked on in horror at the public stoning of unfaithful women in football stadiums in the Arab world never believing it could come to the West; but perhaps they will, unless, collectively, we do something to turn the tide.
So many on the left of politics have devoted their whole lives and resources to lift the downtrodden of the world, but they have been blinded to the tragedies unfolding back home.
This book, by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, focuses on Europe and the United Kingdom, but it would be foolish to believe that North America and Australasia are not also in the firing line.
Here, in Australia, imagine a day when Bondi Beach, Sydney, NSW, is only frequented by men, as women have realised that it would be suicide to strip down into a bikini and sunbathe in public?
Photo by Oussama Zidane.
Thank the Source