Table of Contents
The World Has Become Less Tolerant of Migrant
According to a poll, the world is becoming less tolerant of migrants. The discovery comes as Europe prepares to unveil a new asylum plan in the aftermath of a fire in a crowded Greek camp that left thousands homeless. North Macedonia, Hungary, Serbia, and Croatia, along with seven other European countries, topped the Gallup index of the world’s least-accepting countries for migrants released on Wednesday.
However, the most significant shifts in attitudes occurred in Peru, Ecuador, and Colombia, which have seen an influx of Venezuelans fleeing domestic unrest. According to the index, which was based on more than 140,000 interviews in 145 countries and regions, Canada was the most welcoming country to migrants, followed by Iceland and New Zealand. Moldova, Pakistan, and Chile topped the list of countries where migrant acceptance has risen dramatically.
The survey inquired about people’s feelings about migrants living in their country, becoming neighbors, and marrying into their families. North Macedonia’s index score was 1.49, while Canada’s was 8.46, just shy of the maximum possible score of 9. According to Gallup migration expert Julie Ray, the slight drop in global acceptance (5.21 in 2019 vs. 5.34 in 2016) was caused by significant changes in Latin American countries.
Peru’s score dropped from 6.33 in 2016 to 3.61 this year, while the percentage of Colombians who think migrants are a good thing fell from 61 percent to 29 percent.
The first Gallup Migrant Acceptance Index was conducted in the aftermath of the 2015 European migrant crisis, which saw over a million people fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East and elsewhere flock to the continent. EU countries have long disagreed on how to deal with the influx of migrants, many of whom arrive in the Mediterranean after perilous boat journeys. On Wednesday, the EU’s executive will present a plan that would legally bind all members to host their fair share of refugees, a proposal that Poland and Hungary, among others, have vehemently opposed.
The proposal was prompted by a fire on the Greek island of Lesvos a fortnight ago that destroyed a migrant camp that held more than 12,000 people, four times the number expected. Only Sweden and Ireland made Gallup’s top ten list of most accepting countries in Europe. Some people might be surprised by the positive attitudes in the United States, where President Donald Trump has made immigration control a cornerstone of his policy, according to Ray.
“Despite the fact that immigration is such a contentious issue in the United States, most Americans are open to migrants,” she said. The United States came in sixth place in the index, just ahead of Sierra Leone. Trump supporters, according to Ray, were far more accepting of migrants than the global average, with a score of 7.10. The index found that acceptance of migrants was higher among younger generations, those with higher levels of education, and those who lived in cities rather than rural areas around the world.
Countries Less Accepting of Migrants
- North Macedonia
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
Countries Most Tolerant of Migrants
Growing Intolerance Towards Muslim Immigrants
In the European Union’s 28 member states, there are around 25 million Muslims. The vast majority of these Muslims arrived in search of work, and they were in high demand since they worked in “difficult, unclean, and dangerous” industries. They began to be viewed as “Muslims” in the 1980s, rather than as immigrants from Morocco, Pakistan, or Turkey, posing a danger to the social fabric of European societies. Terrorist assaults carried out by small groups of Islamist fanatics, as well as the radicalization of “thousands” of local Muslim-Europeans, fueled Europe’s anti-Muslim attitude. If immigrants do not make a concerted attempt to better integrate into European societies and European societies do not demonstrate openness, tensions may worsen.
The presence of around 25 million Muslims in the 28 European Union countries is currently causing debate, controversy, fear, and even hatred. Never before has there been such a climate of mutual suspicion between Muslims and the rest of Europe. In Europe, public opinion polls show a growing fear and aversion to European Muslims, who are seen as a threat to national identity, domestic security, and social cohesion. Muslims, on the other hand, believe that the majority of Europeans oppose their existence and demonize and caricaturize Islam.
Increase In The Fear of European Muslims
Such misunderstandings are troubling because they feed harmful Islamophobia on the one hand and radicalization on the other. These changes worry European countries because they jeopardize peaceful coexistence. As a result, they have taken steps and passed legislation to combat extremist forces, reduce radicalization, and increase Muslim assimilation in receiving nations.
However, the situation is not straightforward. What can Europe do to help Muslims integrate into secular states? Is there a link between economic marginalization and radicalization and extremism? Are they the result of a story that separates the world into two groups: us and them? Is religious extremism the only source of extremism? If that’s the case, why did an extreme Norwegian murder hundreds of his non-Muslim colleagues in 2011? European countries are still grappling with these problematic issues, unable to come up with a coherent approach.
The Presence of Muslims in Europe
Muslims’ presence in Europe is not a new occurrence. For more than seven centuries, Muslims have conquered significant swaths of Northern Mediterranean coasts and established Caliphates and Emirates, mostly in the Iberian Peninsula, beginning in 711. The end of Muslim political power in Spain came with the collapse of the final Emirate of Granada in 1492. Muslims, Sefardi Jews, and converted Spaniards were all expelled as a result of the Inquisition. In the Eastern Mediterranean, Islamized Ottomans overcame the Greeks, ousted them from Anatolia, captured Constantinople (1453), subsequently Istanbul, and conquered the Balkan peninsula almost simultaneously. Before the Ottoman Empire was dismantled in the aftermath of World War I, Balkan states gained independence in the 19th century. Muslim Bosnians, Albanians, and Kosovars were not removed, and they currently make up the majority of Europe’s Muslim population.
Challenges Faced By European Union
Finally, as first- and second-generation youngsters entered the marriage market in the last three decades, marital immigration peaked. To give only two instances from Holland, Turkish marriage immigration peaked at 4.000 per year between 1995 and 2003, while Moroccan marriage immigration peaked at 3.000 per year. Because many second-generation immigrants chose to marry partners from their parents’ home countries, who are young, traditional, and virgin, rather than marrying a fellow second-generation immigrant, marriage immigration assured continuing, high fertility among the immigrant population. Marriage immigration, obviously, has kept the migration dynamic intact.
On two counts, Muslim immigration to Europe differs dramatically from Muslim expatriation in the United States. First, Muslim migrants in Europe are only a two- to four-hour flight away from their homelands, whereas the distance between the United States and their homelands forces them to blend into the American “melting pot.” Second, “unlike American Muslims, who are geographically diverse, ethnically split, and generally well-off,” as Robert Leiken puts it, “Europe’s Muslims gather in desolate enclaves with their compatriots.” Finally, the United States has a higher rate of mixed marriages than Europe.
This distinction helps to explain why Islam and Muslims are not a huge worry in the United States, although migration has become a major issue in Europe, at least since the 1980s, owing to the fact that two-thirds of migrants are Muslims. Everything associated to Islam in Europe became a source of concern, including the proliferation of mosques, women’s veils, and increased religious ardor. In this setting, far-right groups arose and began to gain traction by portraying migration as a threat.
As a result, Western European states began creating new defenses against the much-publicized prospect of mass immigration by tightening direct immigration controls, internal monitoring, and outsourcing border control on the EU’s external borders.
The Syrian Refugee Crisis and Turkey's Response
The Syrian refugee crisis has been a result of the Syrian Civil War, a conflict between the government and opposition forces of Syria which started in 2011. The fighting has left over 250,000 people dead and more than 11 million displaced, making the conflict the deadliest ongoing war since World War II and the refugee crisis the biggest in recent history.
Turkey presently has the world’s highest refugee population. According to a new World Bank Policy Note titled Turkey’s Response to the Syrian Refugee Crisis and the Road Ahead, the total number of registered Syrians under Temporary Protection (SuTPs) is estimated to be 2,225,147. The policy brief compiles publicly accessible information on the position of SuTPs in Turkey, and sums up not only Turkey’s unique response to its displacement crisis, but also the difficulty of handling the socioeconomic components of displacement. The note also discusses the remaining essential policy challenges and Turkey’s future plans, as well as what lessons may be learned from Turkey’s hosting experience for other countries’ refugee response efforts.
According to the policy paper, the Turkish response effort has two essential characteristics:
1) it is non-camp; and
2) it is government-financed, which distinguishes it from many other refugee-hosting countries, where the tendency is to direct refugees into camps backed by humanitarian organizations.
In a development-oriented response effort, the note sheds light on the most frequent difficulties experienced by both displaced and host communities, including income, welfare, and employment; strains on housing and services, including education and health; and social tensions and community relations.
“Humanitarian aid must increasingly be linked with development programs that can begin to address the magnitude, long-term nature, and socioeconomic implications of the refugee crisis, which has now become a serious global issue. The Turkish government and the World Bank are collaborating to detect and minimize the negative effects of Syrians under Temporary Protection (SuTPs) on Turkish host communities.”
Zutt, Johannes (World Bank Country Director for Turkey).
The policy note also highlights the critical policy questions that Turkey will face as it expands its response, as well as lessons learned from the Turkish experience that international actors may find useful in developing a more effective strategy that is commensurate with the scale, scope, and duration of the current global displacement crisis.
In 2018, Turkey launched a citizenship by investment program to naturalized foreigners who have invested in the country. The initiative was to regularize a large amount of migrants in the country who had a stable financial situation. Since its creation, the economic citizenship program has naturalized thousands of people.