ٍStrasbourg – France – DPA – AFP – Agencies – the Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon warned on Tuesday of a “dangerous trend” of anti-Muslim incitement in Europe, in a speech before the European Parliament in Strasbourg. He said that the darkest chapters in European history began with similar language.
He said that there is a “dangerous trend emerging. It is a new policy of polarization. Some people and politicians are using other fears to target Muslims in pursuit of their personal interests … and accuse immigrants of violating the European values”. He stressed that Europe and the world cannot afford to turn a blind eye to stereotypes and hatred that is ethnically based.
He said that the worst chapters of Europe were written in this language and that today, the main “targets” are the Muslim immigrants … Europe can not bear these thought patterns which close minds and raise the hatred, and the world can not bear Europe doing this.
The UN chief added that Europe’s biggest challenge in the 21st century is the challenge of domestic tolerance, noting that immigrants suffer from unemployment, discrimination, and disproportional inequality of opportunity in education and the job market.
The question of Europe’s identity has been rigorously debated due to the flood of immigrants the continent has been facing in recent years. The fierce debate rages in Germany on the integration of immigrants in the country and the estimated four million people and constitute 5% of the population.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel increased the severity of the debate at the beginning of this week, when she said that the concept of multiculturalism as a model of integration had failed “miserably” in Germany. She added that immigrants should be demanded to learn the German language and assimilate into society.
Horst Seehofer, President of the Christian Social Party in Germany, a senior partner in the ruling coalition, said earlier that Germany should refuse to accept migrants from the “hostile cultures”, such as Turks and Arabs.
A poll published last week in Germany indicated that 58% of the public believed that the practice of Islam should be substantially limited in the country, while more than half of the respondents said they could sympathize with the claim that Arabs arouse unpleasant sentiments.
The debate has also swept France, after the National Assembly approved an amendment the country’s citizenship act which enables France to revoke an immigrant’s citizenship if he is convicted of assaulting a public servant – an act which was previously limited to extreme offenses such as involvement in terror activities.
Ban Ki-moon called the European Union to “show leadership” in his speech, not only with regard to migrants, but also in the face of extreme poverty and the challenges of climate change and promoting the idea of “a world free of nuclear weapons”.