H/T to the ever -fruitful blog Refugee Resettlement Watch for alerting me to a seminal Australian article which, with the North African fiasco now brewing, is liable to be all too relevant to America: How I lost faith in multiculturalism, by Greg Sheridan, The Australian April 02 2011.
Sheridan, long-time foreign editor of The Australian ("...the biggest-selling national newspaper"—Wikipedia 04/09/11) is a Bigfoot in his country's media scene. Professionally, he has broadly been an Australian-version Invade-the-World/Invite-the world neoconservative, with the special local twist of advocating Asian rather than European involvement for his country—including immigrant sourcing. (Hostility to the British link is a tedious tradition amongst Irish-Australians.)
Now he has developed a new opinion: no Muslim immigration. Also, more scepticism about refugees.
It takes Sheridan almost 4,600 words to say this! Partly because it is clearly a painful retraction:
"...once I wholeheartedly supported multiculturalism, I now think it's a failure and the word should be abandoned".
And partly, no doubt, because Australia's contemptible anti-free speech laws have made racial issues dangerous to discuss. Remember Professor Andrew Fraser? Another Australian journalist, Andrew Bolt, is currently being prosecuted for pointing out that a group of light-skinned Aborigines are light-skinned. [Plaintiffs called themselves 'white Aborigines', says QC, by Norrie Ross, Melbourne Herald Sun. April 02, 2011]
"...it is the real world that has changed my views.
"In particular it is four real-world experiences: watching the debate unfold about the illegal immigrants who come to Australia by boat; a month in Europe researching and writing about immigration issues; 30 years reporting on political Islam in Southeast Asia and the Middle East; and, above all, living for nearly 15 years next door to Lakemba in Sydney's southwest, the most Muslim suburb in Australia."
Sheridan really dislikes Islam
"...the only people who don't think there is a problem with Islam are those who live on some other planet. The reputation of Islam in the West is not poor because of prejudiced Western Islamophobia, still less because Western governments conduct some kind of anti-Islamic propaganda.
"Instead, it is the behaviour of people claiming the justification of Islam for their actions that affects the reputation of Islam."
This is an opinion which distresses him
"All my life I have been, intellectually and as a matter of personal experience, strongly supportive of a big and completely racially non-discriminatory immigration program".
But, to his credit, he accepts that facts are facts:
"...the evidence of my own eyes...convinced me that many North Africans were not going to Europe to embrace European values but to continue their North African life, with its values, at a European living standard and at the expense of the European taxpayer."
Particularly facts appearing in his own former neighbourhood
"...in the nearly 15 years we lived there the suburb changed, and much for the worse.
"Three dynamics interacted in a noxious fashion: the growth of a macho, misogynist culture among young men that often found expression in extremely violent crime; a pervasive atmosphere of anti-social behaviour in the streets; and the simultaneous growth of Islamist extremism and jihadi culture...
"A senior policeman from nearby Bankstown once told me that policing in the Bankstown area was unlike working anywhere else in Australia, and he was amazed how much violent crime went unreported by the media.
"Does Islam itself have a role in these problems? The answer is complex and nuanced but it must be a qualified, and deeply reluctant, yes."
"The inflow of illegal immigrants by boat in the north, almost all Muslim, mostly unskilled, should be stopped.
"Within the formal refugee and humanitarian allocation of 13,500 places a year, a legitimate stress should be placed on need but also on the ability to integrate into Australian society.
"And, finally, we simply should not place immigration officers in the countries with the greatest traditions of radicalism."
(A.K.A Muslim countries. Australia still actively recruits immigrants.)
There is sadly a pattern of prominent journalists seeing the light on immigration and then running for cover when they realise how dangerous the subject is. The cases of former London Times writer Anthony Browne, and more recently Matt Taibbi come to mind. Sheridan positions himself as still being an immigration enthusiast generally. Maybe that will protect him.
But the article is well worth reading. And at least it is a start.