White Nationalism Is Destroying the West – The New York Times

Good piece:

When rapid immigration and terrorist attacks occur simultaneously — and the terrorists belong to the same ethnic or religious group as the new immigrants — the combination of fear and xenophobia can be dangerous and destructive. In much of Europe, fear of jihadists (who pose a genuine security threat) and animosity toward refugees (who generally do not) have been conflated in a way that allows far-right populists to seize on Islamic State attacks as a pretext to shut the doors to desperate refugees, many of whom are themselves fleeing the Islamic State, and to engage in blatant discrimination against Muslim fellow citizens.

But this isn’t happening only in European countries. In recent years, anti-immigration rhetoric and nativist policies have become the new normal in liberal democracies from Europe to the United States. Legitimate debates about immigration policy and preventing extremism have been eclipsed by an obsessive focus on Muslims that paints them as an immutable civilizational enemy that is fundamentally incompatible with Western democratic values.

Yet despite the breathless warnings of impending Islamic conquest sounded by alarmist writers and pandering politicians, the risk of Islamization of the West has been greatly exaggerated. Islamists are not on the verge of seizing power in any advanced Western democracy or even winning significant political influence at the polls.

The same cannot be said of white nationalists, who today are on the march from Charlottesville, Va., to Dresden, Germany. As an ideology, white nationalism poses a significantly greater threat to Western democracies; its proponents and sympathizers have proved, historically and recently, that they can win a sizable share of the vote — as they did this year in France, Germany and the Netherlands — and even win power, as they have in the United States.

Far-right leaders are correct that immigration creates problems; what they miss is that they are the primary problem. The greatest threat to liberal democracies does not come from immigrants and refugees but from the backlash against them by those on the inside who are exploiting fear of outsiders to chip away at the values and institutions that make our societies liberal.

Anti-Semitic and xenophobic movements did not disappear from Europe after the liberation of Auschwitz, just as white supremacist groups have lurked beneath the surface of American politics ever since the Emancipation Proclamation. What has changed is that these groups have now been stirred from their slumber by savvy politicians seeking to stoke anger toward immigrants, refugees and racial minorities for their own benefit. Leaders from Donald Trump to France’s Marine Le Pen have validated the worldview of these groups, implicitly or explicitly encouraging them to promote their hateful opinions openly. As a result, ideas that were once marginal have now gone mainstream.

….

“It’s the great replacement,” his friend added, echoing the title of a 2010 book by the French writer Renaud Camus, which paints a dark picture of demographic conquest in the West. “They want to replace us.”

As Mr. Camus explains in the book: “You have a people and then, in an instant, in one generation, you have in its place one or several other peoples.” He finds it scandalous that “a veiled woman speaking our language badly, completely ignorant of our culture” is legally considered as French as “an indigenous Frenchman passionate for Romanesque churches, and the verbal and syntactic subtleties of Montaigne and Rousseau.” In Mr. Camus’s eyes, groups like Pegida are heroic. He praises the group as a “liberation front” that is battling “a colonial conquest in progress” where white Europeans are “the colonized indigenous people.”

Ms. Le Pen, the leader of France’s far-right National Front party, has a similar fear, and she sees birthright citizenship as the vehicle for replacement. Although she doesn’t use the term favored by many Republicans in the United States (“anchor babies”), she insists, as she told me in an interview last May, that “we must stop creating automatic French citizens.”

This argument has a long pedigree. It can be traced back to the Dreyfus Affair, when the virulently anti-Semitic writer Maurice Barrès warned that immigrants wanted to impose their way of life on France and that it would spell the “ruin of our fatherland.” “They are in contradiction to our civilization,” Barrès wrote in 1900. He saw French identity as rooted purely in his bloodline, declaring, “I defend my cemetery.”

Today’s version of the argument is: if you have foreign blood and don’t behave appropriately, then you don’t get a passport.

Calais and Charlottesville may be nearly 4,000 miles apart, but the ideas motivating far-right activists in both places are the same. When white nationalists descended on Charlottesville in August, the crowd chanted“Jews will not replace us” and “you will not replace us” before one of its members allegedly killed a woman with his car and others beat a black man; last week, they returned bearing torches and chanting similar slogans.

Just as Mr. Trump has plenty to say about Islamic State attacks but generally has no comment about hate crimes against Indians, blacks and Muslims, the European far-right is quick to denounce any violent act committed by a Muslim but rarely feels compelled to forcefully condemn attacks on mosques or neo-Nazis marching near synagogues on Yom Kippur.

Doing so might alienate their base. Alexander Gauland, a co-leader of the newest party in the German Parliament, is adamant that his Alternative for Germany is “not the parliamentary arm of Pegida,” although he did acknowledge in an interview that “a lot of people who march with Pegida in Dresden are people who could be members, or friends, or voters” for the party. Like Mr. Trump, Mr. Gauland and Ms. Le Pen would never admit to being white nationalists, but they are more than happy to dog-whistle to them and accept their support.

Those who worry that a godless Europe and an immigration-friendly America are no match for Islamic extremists have ignored an even greater threat: white nationalists.

Their ideology is especially dangerous because they present themselves as natives valiantly defending the homeland. Because they look and sound like most of their co-citizens, they garner sympathy from the majority in ways that Islamists never could. White nationalism is in many ways a mirror image of radical Islamism. Both share a nostalgic obsession with a purist form of identity: for one, a medieval Islamic state; for the other, a white nation unpolluted by immigrant blood.

If the influence of white nationalists continues to grow, they will eventually seek to trample the rights of immigrants and minorities and dismiss courts and constitutions as anti-democratic because they don’t reflect the supposed preferences of “the people.” Their rise threatens to transform countries that we once thought of as icons of liberalism into democracies only in name.

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How the New Immigration Is Shaking Old Europe to Its Core – NYTimes

Good in-depth critical reviews of both books. Murray is of the Mark Steyn alarmist school, Chin takes a more balanced and interesting look:

In the mid-1890s, the German sociologist Max Weber warned against “the continual swarm” of cheap Polish laborers arriving in Germany. According to him, a “free market policy, including open borders in the east, is the worst possible policy at this point.” And not just for economic reasons. The likely integration of these aliens would threaten the “social unification of the nation, which has been split apart by modern economic development.” For Weber, a German nationalist, the “influx of Poles” was “far more dangerous from a cultural viewpoint” than even of Chinese “coolies.”

Compared with Weber’s rhetoric about Germany’s “struggle for existence” and his strictures against Catholics and Jews as well as Poles and Chinese, there is nothing overtly racist about the denunciations Rita Chin quotes in “The Crisis of Multiculturalism in Europe” by opponents of multiculturalism — which for them is shorthand for the nonwhite laborers Europe expediently imported after World War II to reconstruct its shattered economy. The political scientist Samuel Huntington’s comment that “multiculturalism is in its essence anti-European civilization” — approvingly cited by Douglas Murray in “The Strange Death of Europe” — also seems coded in comparison. But as demagogues across Europe and America rant against immigration and promise to build a strong and unified national community through exclusion, it is hard not to feel déjà vu.

Racial nationalism was commonplace in the late 19th century, the radically disruptive first phase of economic globalization. Hierarchies of race, ethnicity and religion were imposed on non-Western peoples as Europeans scrambled for territories and resources abroad, followed enviously by Americans. Exclusion was also central to their frantic effort to build political communities at home. Old bonds and solidarities had frayed in societies split apart, as Weber wrote, by modern economic development. Many of the aggrieved became eager to recreate and purify the social body, and to preserve “our” identity against people stigmatized as the “other” through their names, skin color or religious practices. Mass immigration to Western Europe and America, which peaked in the late 19th century, heightened the fantasy of a lost communal wholeness. So did unregulated flows of refugees: Pogroms in Russia sent thousands of Jewish survivors to Western Europe. (Weber’s warnings against the Polish “swarm” reflected a then widespread anxiety about Ostjuden.)

Virulent anti-Semites flourished in Austria-Hungary, Germany and France as the 19th century ended, while lynchings of blacks by white mobs in the United States became more common. The United States in the 1880s had pioneered racialized immigration policy, passing laws aimed at keeping Asians out. The Jim Crow laws that institutionalized segregation in the 1890s were accompanied by a mass hysteria in the United States against immigrants. Fears of degeneration haunted even powerful white men like Theodore Roosevelt. In 1905, amid widespread paranoia about the Yellow Peril, he warned of “race suicide,” exhorting white people to strengthen themselves against their rising nonwhite rivals.

History repeats itself as unfunny farce when, a century after Roosevelt, another macho president amplifies white fears of losing out in the struggle for existence. “The fundamental question of our time,” Donald J. Trump asserted in Warsaw in July, “is whether the West has the will to survive.” Indeed, the fear of decline has intensified as globalization appears to enfeeble once mighty Western nation-states while empowering those previously stigmatized as the Yellow Peril. As in the late 19th century, demagogues displace the anxieties of powerless people onto a clearly identifiable social group: immigrants or refugees. The mechanism of scapegoating — catalyzing mass disaffection and providing it with a simple culprit — has gone into overdrive in Europe and America as crisis besets the second phase of globalization.

In his surprisingly literate screed, the Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik called his country the “most suicidal” in Europe for accommodating nonwhite minorities. The first sentence of Douglas Murray’s book, a handy digest of far-right clichés, claims that all of Europe “is committing suicide.” Like his numerous precursors, ranging from Max Nordau, the author of the popular “Degeneration” (1892), to Breivik, Murray goes on to depict Europeans as culturally and spiritually debauched. Evidently, they are not only helpless before the hordes of virile foreigners rampaging through their continent, but also keenly complicit in their own destruction.

“Only modern Europeans,” Murray writes, “are happy to be self-loathing in an international marketplace of sadists.” It is never quite clear which European masochists Murray, an associate editor of The Spectator in Britain, is talking about. A majority of his own countrymen, as a recent poll revealed, are proud of their former empire, and one might even argue that a xenophobic fantasy to regain imperial glory and power fueled Britain’s decision to leave the European Union last year. What is more, Murray does not seem wholly relieved, like most of us, that the vast majority of Germans regret their country’s Nazi past, and are determined not to repeat it. He offers a stalwart defense of the thuggish outfit Pegida (People Against the Islamization of the Occident/West) against criticism by German politicians and journalists; he claims that the English Defence League (a gang of hooligans shunned by its own founders for its “far-right extremism”) “had a point.” More disturbingly, he rates Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orban, a self-declared fan of authoritarian democracy, as a better sentinel of “European values” than George Soros.

Needless to say, Murray’s threnody for Europe is as fundamentally incoherent as its late-19th-century originals. It never strikes him, or other secondhand vendors of fixed and singular identities, that nowhere in the world have individuals been the exclusive heirs of a single culture or civilization. Europe as well as America has been a melting pot of diverse influences: Persian, Arab and Chinese, in addition to Greek, Roman, Germanic and Anglo-Saxon. As the Indian writer Rabindranath Tagore, a horrified witness to Europe’s suicidal nationalism in the early 20th century, once wrote: “In human beings differences are not like the physical barriers of mountains, fixed forever — they are fluid with life’s flow, they are changing their courses and their shapes and their volumes,” in what is a “world-game of infinite permutations and combinations.”

Murray’s retro claims of ethnic-religious community, and fears of contamination, call for close analysis. Their toxic effects, which have been amply verified by history, make it imperative to explore the deeper sources of contemporary anxieties: political, social and economic upheavals. And this is what Rita Chin’s book does, synthesizing the endless debates over multiculturalism into a vivid picture of postwar Europe. Lucidly written and resourcefully argued, it is a superb example of a scholarly intervention in a public debate dominated by unexamined prejudice.

Chin’s parents were ethnic Chinese forced to leave Malaysia after the end of British rule and to move through many “different cultural worlds as students, employees, colleagues, neighbors, friends and in-laws.” She wishes her reader to understand the multiple and perennially shifting identities of immigrants “in a world where much of the political discourse is quick to demonize them as groups.” Accordingly, she declines to accept identities — British, German or European — as unalterable essences. Rather, she explores the specific ideas that many in post-1945 British, French, Dutch and German societies have used to clarify their identity; and she never ceases to historicize what to a tub-thumper like Murray seems self-evident.

The very notion of Europe, for instance, began to emerge out of European encounters with Muslim populations during the Crusades. European self-consciousness was then sharply demarcated in remote trading posts and colonies vis-à-vis subjugated and supposedly racially inferior peoples. But, as Chin writes, the “reversal of migratory patterns” after World War II “shifted the process of European self-definition in a dramatic way”: “Instead of Europeans moving outward into the world as they had done for hundreds of years, people from around the world began to settle in Europe, filling the demand for labor created by wartime destruction.”

For Chin, an associate professor of history at the University of Michigan, this is the crux of the problem: “In the past, groups perceived as incompatible with European identity were usually located beyond European borders. But now they are firmly established within Europe itself.” In the 19th century, nation-states premised on homogeneous populations needed foreign lands and resources in order to expand; and they had the brute power necessary to enforce hierarchies of race, class and education that kept the “natives” in their place. This supremacy has been progressively weakened, first by the urgencies of postwar reconstruction, then by the accelerated flows of technologies, goods and capital in recent decades of globalization.

Chin pays little attention to the socioeconomic traumas that have led to an acute obsession with immigration: deindustrialization, the shrinking of the welfare state, the fragmentation of working classes and the rise of extreme inequality. Nor does she go into a pre-1945 history of immigration in Europe, and the projection of internal problems on to various “outsiders” — Jewish, Italian, Portuguese, Irish, Polish. But she is consistently acute on how European elites since 1945 have reacted to the darker-skinned strangers in their midst, ignoring, misrepresenting and marginalizing them at first, and then turning them into a problem, often broadly identified as “multiculturalism.”

Multiculturalism, in Chin’s account, appears largely to be a problem for people who have long been accustomed to an identity built on domination and exclusion, and are panicked by its slow crumbling. Certainly, immigration was not a problem foisted on Europe from the outside; the fates of Europeans and non-Europeans were inextricably connected in the 19th century by conquest, colonization and trade. Yet historical amnesia played an outsize role in dealing with nonwhite workers who were never expected to stay in Europe, let alone integrate or assimilate. Chin describes how people from the Caribbean who began to arrive in Britain after 1948, for instance, were seen as “colored immigrants” when in fact they were British citizens. An unreconstructed racism (exemplified by the commonplace sign “no dogs, no blacks, no Irish”) remained for many years the appalling fate of people who had shaped, like millions of toiling workers and peasants in the imperial provinces, the privileged destiny of the rich in the metropolitan center.

A backlash against multiculturalism began to gather force after the economic crises of the 1970s. The controversy over Salman Rushdie’s “The Satanic Verses” accelerated it. Black people had long been seen as culturally predisposed to crime and hooliganism. But after the Ayatollah Khomeini, wrongly identified by the uninformed as the sole representative of more than one billion Muslims, issued his fatwa against Rushdie, Islam began to seem incompatible with “Western values” too. Diversity has come to seem unworkable to many as the unequal world made by imperialism unravels, and Europe suffers terrorist attacks, economic crises and huge influxes of refugees from the countries it once brusquely made and remade in Asia and Africa. Chin vigorously tackles the “shared presumption,” recklessly echoed by even mainstream politicians in Britain, France and Germany, that multiculturalism is a failure. “Declaring multiculturalism ‘dead,’” Chin argues, “is a way of white Britons, Germans and French telling immigrants, ‘We don’t recognize you; you aren’t a part of our society.’”

Surely, the many populations that now exist in every part of Europe cannot be homogenized, except through the savage ethnic cleansing practiced in almost every European country in the first half of the 20th century. In any case, as Chin asks, “what exactly do Europeans imagine as a replacement for multiculturalism? How will they come to terms with multiethnic diversity moving forward?” Chin offers no simple answers, but her questions have never seemed more urgent as Europeans (and Americans) seem to move forward to their grim past.

ICYMI – Attitudes to Islam in Europe are hardening: The Economist

Good summary of recent European polling and worrisome (and correct) fear of further polarization:

IF integration means doing a bit better in education and the job market, then there are grounds to be optimistic about the status of Muslim communities across western Europe. But when you ask Europeans how they feel about Islam and its adherents, then the picture is much harsher and in some ways getting worse.

Those are the broad impressions left by a raft of recently published surveys on the subject. The authors of a study by Germany’s Bertelsmann Foundation, focusing mainly on Britain, France, Germany, Switzerland and Austria, found some encouraging indicators on schooling and employment but still reported a big income disparity between Muslims and non-Muslims.

Professional progress was “not accompanied by an equal level of…social acceptance,” noted the report, which looked not at refugees but longer-standing Muslim residents. The authors were troubled by the finding that 20% of respondents did not want Muslim neighbours. That number would almost certainly have been higher if the study had looked at countries further south and east. A poll by Pew Research, an American think-tank, found that a majority of people in Hungary, Italy, Poland, Greece and Spain harboured hostile attitudes to Islam while only a minority of northwestern Europeans held similar views.

The Bertelsmann report welcomed the fact that in France, only one in ten Muslims leaves school before turning 17, compared with about a third of Muslim youngsters in Germany. But learning doesn’t seem to guarantee earning. In neither Germany nor Switzerland was there much difference between the employment rate of Muslims and non-Muslims. In France, by contrast, the jobless rate was 14% for Muslims compared with 8% for non-Muslims.

Moreover, there are some clear signs of hardening attitudes. In England, around four people in ten acknowledged that they have become more suspicious of Muslims following terrorist attacks in London and Manchester. That was one of the findings of the latest study published by Hope Not Hate, an anti-extremism lobby group.

Looking at a series of recent data, it concluded that in many ways sentiment in England was gradually becoming more liberal and tolerant of diversity, but Islam and the reactions it inspired were a clear exception. About half the population apparently thought Islam posed a “threat to Western civilisation” while a quarter regarded it as a “dangerous” religion because of its perceived capacity to incite violence. The picture changes depending on how the question is framed. The pool of respondents who opined (50% versus 22%) that the Muslim faith was a civilisational threat also agreed by a clear majority that it was wrong to blame an entire religion for a few extremists.

In Germany, a widely-quoted poll last year found that more than half the population believed that Islam did not belong in their country. But attitudes to Muslim people, as opposed to their religion, can sometimes be much more emollient, albeit varying a lot with the respondent’s political ideology.

Pew found that half the Germans who hewed to the political left thought Muslims were making a good effort to adapt to the country’s way of life, compared with one in five of those who leaned rightwards. The numbers for Britons of right and left were almost exactly the same. Given the many different ways in which progress (or regress) can be measured, the state of Islam in Europe may always be a vessel that some see as half-empty and others see as half-full.

What’s worrying is that almost every terrorist movement aims to polarise feelings in a way that drives people into opposing camps. The terrorist who claims to represent a certain community often hopes that the authorities, and perhaps society as whole, will stigmatise that community and provoke in it a defensive mood, so that violence starts to seem like a reasonable option. Historically, such polarising tactics have often worked.

Although things have not yet reached that point, these poll results suggest something sinister: it’s perfectly conceivable that the murderous van-drivers and knife-wielders who claim to speak for Muslims in Europe could enjoy a similar “success” in polarising sentiment across the continent.

Source: Attitudes to Islam in Europe are hardening

Vigilante ‘Justice’ Targets Europe’s Migrants

More disturbing news from Europe:

Bürgerwehr has become a dirty and irritating word to the German authorities, especially since the New Year’s sex assaults in Cologne last year prompted a rash of vigilantism.

“It is not for Bürgerwehren or self-appointed hobby sheriffs to play at being the police,” Minister of Justice Heiko Maas warned last year, pointedly calling out those who were clicking “attend,” or otherwise loudly making plans to start patrolling neighborhoods at night, apparently on a mission to “bring back order” to inner cities.

Most of those announcements ended up being a lot of talk with little action. Still, gang violence in its most basic form seems to have taken on new inspiration: Last fall, a gang of four beat a 41-year-old acquaintance to death in front of a disco in provincial Waldbröl after getting drunk one night and going into town with baseball bats and some sort of vague plan to “hunt refugees.” Asked to explain the motive in court, one of the accused claimed that he was taking revenge for a girl who had been harassed.

In the United States, they used to call this lynching, with the reasons given often very much the same. And Germany isn’t the only European country that’s had trouble with self-appointed “hobby sheriffs” inventing themselves as “migrant hunters.” Finland has the anti-immigrant street patrol group Soldiers of Odin. And along the southern Bulgarian land border to Turkey there have been numerous incidents of vigilante groups detaining migrants, beating and humiliating them—and sometimes making a show of it in the process.

This year, prosecutors tried and failed to charge 31-year-old Peter Nizamov for “arresting“ three Afghan migrants, in the sense that he and his gang (they call themselves “Civil Squads for the Protection of Women and Faith”) cornered the three travelers, proceeded to rob them and beat them, then tied them up and shouted at them, in broken English, to go back to Turkey.

The state attorney should have had an easy time getting a six-year prison sentence for Nizamov. There was no question about the facts. He had posted a video of the event on Facebook, probably anticipating that it would be a great hit with his followers. And it was. Indeed, the flurry of “likes” was predictable—Bulgaria is mainly a transit country for refugees heading to Northern Europe, and the government itself has taken a harsh line on immigration, using the kind of rhetoric usually reserved for far-right fringe parties.

Then, in March this year, the court decided to acquit Nizamov. The police, who likely expected he would just brag the way he did when he gave an interview to national broadcaster bTV while under house arrest and confess to the charges, had done a sloppy job in gathering evidence: They hardly even bothered (and failed) to find the three Afghans to come to court and testify. And the TV confession was not replicated in court.

Source: Vigilante ‘Justice’ Targets Europe’s Migrants

Dual citizenship in Europe: Which rules apply where?

Ongoing German dual citizenship debate, likely prompted by concerns of Turkish campaigning under Erdogan’s authoritarianism, along with a summary of the policies of other EU countries:

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrat Union (CDU) aims to tighten citizenship laws. At the CDU conference last December, party officials launched a debate on possible restrictions on dual citizenship. The subject of the dispute is what is known as the “obligation option,” which means that children of immigrants obtain both nationalities at birth, but must choose one when they reach the age of 23. In 2014, the coalition government agreed that children born and raised in Germany would be allowed to keep both nationalities as adults.

Infografik doppelte Staatsbürgerschaft Europa ENG

German news magazine “Der Spiegel” reports that the CDU plans to campaign against dual citizenship. “We must make far-reaching changes to the policy of the exceptions,” Cemile Giousouf, the chairman of the CDU’s integration network, told the magazine. A paper that will be integrated into the CDU’s election platform suggests that grandchildren of first-generation immigrants may only have German citizenship.

Merkel rejected the demands in December. According to “Spiegel” she is now ready to back a new regulation, probably as a consequence of Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s verbal attacks on German politics and the fact that many Turks living in Germany identify with the Turkish president.

Essen CDU-Bundesparteitag Rede Merkel (picture-alliance/dpa/K. Nietfeld)‘I don’t think we are having an election over dual citizenship,’ said Merkel in December.

France

Most EU states, including France, now allow dual citizenship. French nationals have had the right to dual or multiple nationalities since 1973. In 2009, France stood against the first article of the European Council’s “Convention on the Reduction of Cases of Multiple Nationality and on Military.” The aim of the agreement was to “to reduce as far as possible the number of cases of multiple nationalities, as between member states.”

In France, “jus soli,” meaning birthright citizenship, is practiced. Anyone who is born in France is granted French citizenship regardless of the parents’ nationality.

Sweden

For a long time, Sweden, like Germany, adhered to the “avoidance of dual citizenship” principle. A law adopted in 2001, however, allows Swedish nationals to apply for a different nationality without losing their Swedish passport, provided that the laws of the country permit this. In turn, immigrants in Sweden do not necessarily have to give up their foreign citizenship when they are naturalized.

The sociologist Thomas Faist sees Sweden as a potential role model for other countries. Two passports are seen “not as a problem, but rather as a contribution to integration,” Faist told the German media agency “Integration.” Other Scandinavian countries have similar regulations. In 2014 Denmark passed a law which allows dual citizenship. In Finland, a similar law had already gone into effect in 2003. In Norway, however, dual citizenship is permitted only in exceptional cases.

Schweden Integration von Migranten Schulunterricht (Getty Images/D. Ramos)Sweden has long been a country of immigration, but it has tightened its asylum law in recent years

Central and Eastern Europe

Under the nationality law in Poland, Polish citizens cannot be recognized as citizens of other countries at the same time. The possession of a foreign passport, however, is tolerated. Polish citizens cannot avoid civic obligations by using a foreign citizenship to get out of them.

Ukraine does not recognize dual citizenship. Under current laws, newly naturalized Ukrainian citizens must give up other nationalities within two years. Some countries in Eastern and Central Europe, on the other hand, such as the Czech Republic and Romania are open to multiple nationalities. Bulgarian, Serbian and Croatian citizens are entitled to hold dual citizenship, but foreigners wishing to be naturalized must renounce their previous nationality.

Spain

In principle, Spain permits dual citizenship for immigrants from Portugal, Andorra, the Philippines, Equatorial Guinea and Latin American countries with which it has concluded dual citizenship agreements. According to the Spanish constitution, immigrants from other nations must renounce their foreign nationality if they wish to hold Spanish citizenship. Spanish citizens are entitled to dual citizenship if they inform the authorities within three years that they wish to keep their Spanish passport.

Depending on the country, laws differ throughout southern Europe. Monaco and Andorra, for example, prohibit dual nationality but in Portugal, it is permitted.

Source: Dual citizenship in Europe: Which rules apply where? | Germany | DW.COM | 28.03.2017

Europe’s high court rules workplace headscarf ban is not ‘direct discrimination’

Hard to see how this policy helps integration. Not as neutral as the Court ruled given that main focus was with respect to the hijab.

Will companies now also police any employee wearing a small crucifix?:

Private businesses in Europe can forbid Muslim women in their employ from wearing headscarves if the ban is part of a policy of neutrality within the company and not a sign of prejudice against a particular religion, the European Court of Justice said Tuesday.

Such a ban doesn’t constitute what Europe’s high court calls “direct discrimination.”

The conclusion by the highest court in the 28-nation European Union was in response to two cases brought by a Belgian and a French woman, both fired for refusing to remove their headscarves. It clarifies a long-standing question about whether partial bans by some countries on religious symbols can include the workplace.

The court’s response fed right into the French presidential campaign, bolstering the platforms of far-right leader Marine Le Pen, a leading contender in the spring election who wants to do away with all “ostentatious” religious symbols in the name of secularism, and conservative François Fillon, who hailed the court’s decisions. France already bans headscarves and other religious symbols in classrooms as well as face-covering veils in streets.

However, critics quickly voiced fears that the decision risks becoming a setback to all working Muslim women.

“Today’s disappointing rulings … give greater leeway to employers to discriminate against women — and men — on the grounds of religious belief,” said a statement by Amnesty International. “At a time when identity and appearance has become a political battleground, people need more protection against prejudice, not less.”

The Open Society Justice Initiative, which submitted a brief supporting the women, expressed disappointment.

“The group’s policy officer, Maryam Hmadoum, contended that the decision “weakens the guarantee of equality that is at the heart of the EU’s antidiscrimination directive,” which the Court of Justice cited in weighing the cases.

The European Court of Justice made separate decisions on the cases, but linked them.

In the Belgian case, Samira Achbita, a receptionist at a security firm, was fired in June 2006 for wearing an Islamic headscarf, banned in a new set of internal rules by her company that prohibited visible signs of their political, religious or philosophical beliefs. Belgium’s Court of Cassation sought guidance from the Luxembourg-based European court which rules on cases involving EU law, which applies to all EU members.

While the cases were linked by the European court, the French case differs and offers Asma Bougnaoui a reason for optimism because the reasons for her dismissal as a design engineer were based, not on internal rules, but on the complaint of a customer unhappy with her Islamic headscarf.

The court said that an employer’s readiness to take into account the wishes of a customer, not internal policy, don’t qualify for the measure set out by the European Union: a “genuine and determining occupational requirement.”

Source: Europe’s high court rules workplace headscarf ban is not ‘direct discrimination’ | Toronto Star

Keeping K2 (European Human Rights Court Decision on Citizenship-Stripping) in Perspective | Just Security

Good analysis of the impact of the recent ruling:

Strasbourg rejected as inadmissible an application by K2, a terror suspect born in Sudan but who acquired British citizenship by naturalization. At first glance this admissibility decision might seem to be of general significance but it is actually highly fact-specific and does not substantively address the single material general issue of principle raised by the applicant, i.e. the potentially discriminatory effect of the relevant citizenship-stripping laws. This is unsurprising since admissibility decisions – initial decisions about whether an application satisfies the stringent admissibility criteria and should proceed to be considered on its merits – are rarely of general significance, and this is especially so when, as in this case, the application is deemed inadmissible. It would be odd, therefore, if, as opined by the Guardian, the decision “is likely to encourage Home Office ministers to make greater use of their power to exclude terror suspects even if they are British citizens.”

Article 8

K2 complained that the Home Secretary’s decision to deprive him of his British citizenship violated his Article 8, ECHR right to respect for family and private life. The decision to deprive him of his citizenship was taken pursuant to the statutory power in section 40 (2) of the British Nationality Act 1981.

The ECtHR assessed this complaint by reference to established principles: by asking whether the revocation was arbitrary (i.e. was it in accordance with the law, was it accompanied by necessary procedural safeguards and did the authorities act diligently and swiftly) and by considering the consequences for the applicant.

The ECtHR held that the revocation was not arbitrary. The principal issue that it considered in this regard was the adequacy of procedural safeguards on the facts of the applicant’s case. The ECtHR also held that the consequences for the applicant did not violate his Article 8 rights because, for example, he was not rendered stateless by the deprivation of British citizenship (see here and here my 2014 posts on statelessness and citizenship stripping) and because his wife and child could visit him in Sudan or relocate there. The Article 8 claim regarding the decision to deprive K2 of his British citizenship was, therefore, held to be manifestly ill-founded. 

Similarly, the Article 8 claim regarding the Home Secretary’s decision to exclude him from the UK was manifestly ill-founded.

Article 14

K2 also complained that there had been a violation of the prohibition of discrimination in Article 14 (read together with Article 8). The ECtHR rejected this claim too.

It rejected K2’s claim that he had been treated differently from a non-national resident because he was denied an in-country right of appeal: the ECtHR held that the reason he had been denied the right of appeal was not because he was a British citizen but because he had chosen, voluntarily, to leave the UK.

More significantly, the ECtHR also rejected K2’s complaint that he had been treated differently from a British citizen considered a threat to national security but who did not hold a second nationality. However, the Court did not substantively address this complaint – essentially the only part of the case that could have been of general significance. The ECtHR rejected this complaint on the technical ground that K2 had not raised it before the domestic, English courts and he had, therefore, failed to exhaust domestic remedies (a pre-condition for a claim to be admissible before the ECtHR). Thus, the only material principled point in the case was not substantively decided.

Source: Keeping K2 (European Human Rights Court Decision on Citizenship-Stripping) in Perspective | Just Security

A glance at birthright citizenship regulations across Europe | US News

Useful if partial comparison:

As voters in Switzerland are deciding Sunday whether to make it easier for “third-generation foreigners” to get the country’s citizenship [passed], here’s a glance at how other countries across Europe are handling citizenship and birthright issues for immigrants of the first, second or third generation.

Different from the United States, where every child born on American soil automatically becomes an American citizen regardless of his or her parents’ nationality, being born in Switzerland doesn’t mean automatically mean becoming Swiss, a situation echoed in a few other European nations.

Germany:

Children of parents with foreign passports receive German citizenship at birth if one parent has lived in Germany for at least eight years and has unlimited residency status. The children also get to keep their parents’ citizenship. At age 21, they are supposed to choose one of the two nationalities. However, the obligation to give away one passport has in recent years been watered down by new regulations and there are a lot of exceptions to the rule meaning more and more children of foreign parents continue to keep their dual citizenships after their 21st birthday.

United Kingdom:

A child born in the United Kingdom is automatically a British citizen only if one parent is a citizen of, or settled in, the U.K.

A U.K.-born child without a parent who fits the bill can become a British citizen later — either if they live in Britain till they are 10; or if either parent becomes legally settled in Britain.

Italy:

Those born in Italy can ask, when they turn 18, to become an Italian citizen if they have continued to live in Italy since birth. The request must be formally made before the 19th birthday. It’s usually a straightforward process for these young people.

France:

All children born in France of foreign parents automatically gain French citizenship at the age of 18, if they live in France and have lived here for five years since the age of 11.

Greece:

In Greece there is no birthright citizenship. So if a child of foreign parents is born here, it doesn’t give them the right to Greek citizenship.

Czech Republic:

Birthright citizenship is only given to foreign children born in the Czech Republic if the parents are considered stateless or if one of the parents has a residency permit for a period longer than 90 days.

Spain:

Citizenship is automatically granted to children born in Spain who have at least one Spanish parent. If neither parent is a Spanish citizen, children born in Spain to legal residents can obtain citizenship after one year.

Multiculturalism is unpopular with the majority – even though it makes for happier societies : Democratic Audit UK

Interesting study looking at multiculturalism policies and their impact on majority populations in Europe:

With data from the European Social Survey for 14 western European states, we used multiple and logistic regression to investigate whether the eight “rights” areas within Banting and Kymlicka’s (2013) composite Multicultural Policy Index (MCP) differentially satisfied or unsettled members of the three self-identified groups.  The “rights” areas include: constitutional/legislative/parliamentary affirmation of multiculturalism; school curriculum; media sensitivity and representation; dress-code exemptions; dual citizenship; funding of ethnic group organisations’ cultural activities; bilingual education; and affirmative action.

To assess individuals’ unease and satisfaction, we looked at their sense of being in a group that is discriminated against, whether they felt safe walking alone locally after dark, their satisfaction with life and with the government.

We found that all but two of the nine measures of state multicultural orientation increase the majority’s sense that people like them are being discriminated against – even when background characteristics are controlled.  The impact is more consistent for the majority than for either of the self-identified minority respondent groups.  Multicultural policies affecting the school curriculum, media, dress-code exemptions, in the form of dual citizenship, in funding for ethnic group cultural preservation and in the form of affirmative action all increase the sense of discrimination indicated by majority group members.  They were also more likely to report lower feelings of safety when walking alone near home in states with greater multicultural orientation, even when background factors were controlled.  In particular, multicultural policies relating to the media, dress code exemptions and affirmative action had a negative impact on how safe majority groups felt.

Muslims were less likely to feel discriminated against in states with more pro-multicultural policies (after controls for background characteristics) and, in particular, where dress code exemptions were available and affirmative action policies in place.  At the same time, Muslims were more afraid of victimisation in countries with dress code exemptions, underscoring the precariousness of the religious minority’s position.  When their cultural lifestyle claims (to wear headscarves, for example) are legitimised, this increases their visibility and sense of vulnerability.

Our findings about satisfaction with life and with the national government show the complicated political terrain politicians face.  Majority group members are more satisfied with both in states that have embraced multiculturalism. These findings represent a quandary for political leaders, who face short-term pressure from nativists – but a population that, in the long term, will be unhappier if they take an isolationist approach. By making them available to everybody, politicians may try to avoid the negative reactions to multicultural policies that fan the flames of support for far-right parties.

But the growth in extreme-right support across Europe suggests that by backing away from a rigorous defence of multiculturalism, public officials left space for far-right groups, permitting majorities to feel justified in articulating their unease at the presence of minorities and dissatisfaction with the benefits intended to support them.  Xenophobia has moved to the fore. The claims made by Muslims and ethnic minorities who seek rights commensurate with their status as citizens in Europe, and asylum applications by migrants at risk of harm, are no longer seen as legitimate.

Europe’s pressing need for immigrant labour and population growth mean the political establishment and the press will have to change direction if they want to maintain current prosperity.  They will have to explain why global economic systems need diversity, and provide for the security of voters who feel that they have lost out to globalisation.  Programs to counter violent extremism (CVE) among young people who show signs of alienation from Europe should focus not only on Muslim youth attracted to Islamic State and al-Qaeda, but also on majority group members who show signs of violence against those of migrant background.  Broadening the focus of CVE programmes to all extremists is a logical and necessary step where mainstreaming has replaced multiculturalism in public policy.

Source: Multiculturalism is unpopular with the majority – even though it makes for happier societies : Democratic Audit UK

Europe’s Jews have reason to fear today’s political climate: Saunders

Interesting column by Doug Saunders:

To understand this, it’s worth following the work of Yascha Mounk, a Harvard University scholar. Mr. Mounk made headlines this week with a new study, co-authored with Roberto Stefan Foa at the University of Melbourne, which found that voters in most European countries and the United States are increasingly less likely to believe it is “essential” to live in a democracy. This effect is stronger among younger people and right-wing voters.

For Mr. Mounk, this is part of a larger phenomenon. Two years ago, he published Stranger in My Own Country, a memoir of his life as a young German Jew. It noted that the Christian Europeans around him, while professing liberal tolerance, were continuing to treat Jews such as himself as different, other or outside. In an essay titled “Europe’s Jewish Problem,” he linked these observations to the rise of the new right-wing populist movements.

“Europe’s political climate is more hostile to Jews now than at any time since the second intifada,” he wrote. But he concluded that it wasn’t Muslim anti-Semitism leading the trend; rather, it was the far larger populations of Christians. As he noted, the number of Spanish citizens who express unfavourable views of Jews is almost 50 per cent; Muslims make up less than 3 per cent of Spain’s population and aren’t growing fast. So “a European anti-Semite remains far more likely to be Christian than Muslim.”

The larger problem, he concluded, is “the tendency of wily politicians to play Jews and Muslims against each other for purposes of their own.”

A recent large-scale survey of French attitudes toward Jews by political scientist Dominique Reynié found that anti-Semitism in general is declining, but the country’s Muslims do indeed have higher rates of anti-Jewish beliefs than the general population. What really stood out, though, were the many people who support Marine Le Pen’s National Front party: They were even more likely than Muslims to agree with Jewish-conspiracy claims such as “Jews use their status as victims of the Nazi genocide for their own interest” or “the Jews are responsible for the current economic crisis.” And they were almost equally likely to support statements such as “there is a Zionist conspiracy on a global scale,” at rates twice as high as the general population. Muslims make up only 7 per cent of the population of France, but Ms. Le Pen commands at least one-fifth of the population, and her support is rising fast.

These parties and movements, Mr. Mounk concluded, attract those who are hostile toward both Muslims and Jews. “The very same revival of nationalism that has been fuelled by their invocation of Jews [as foils for their politics],” he wrote, “can, in this way, quickly turn into anti-Semitism.” And that, combined with a growing group of voters who don’t care about democracy, is something that Europe ought to fear.

Source: Europe’s Jews have reason to fear today’s political climate – The Globe and Mail