April 12, 2016

When Refugees Come to Kill

“Denmark, a social welfare utopia, takes a nasty turn on refugees”? Not exactly.

An act of seemingly heartfelt compassion that resulted in criminal charges prodded The Washington Post to run a headline yesterday lamenting, “Denmark, a social welfare utopia, takes a nasty turn on refugees.” The Post chronicles the story of Lise Ramslog, an elderly Danish woman who took it upon herself to transit a destitute refugee family over to Sweden.

But not everyone saw Ramslog’s act as charity. The Post writes, “[T]he Danish government has a different term for her: convicted human smuggler. The decision by authorities to prosecute Ramslog — and to charge hundreds of other Danish citizens with a similar crime — is to many here just the latest evidence of a society that, when faced with an unparalleled influx of migrants and refugees, has taken a nasty turn.”

The article goes on to describe the anti-refugee sentiment that’s increasingly prevalent in Europe, particularly Denmark. Included is a quote from Andreas Kamm, the secretary general of the Danish Refugee Council, who opines, “We’re losing respect for the values upon which we built our country and our European Union. It’s becoming very hard to defend human rights.”

Given there are millions of refugees who legitimately need to relocate, there’s a point to be made. But there’s an equally important counter argument to consider. To do so, we turn to another story recounted in The New York Times — also published yesterday —of Mehdi Hushmand, an Iranian who emigrated to Germany. According to the Times, “Hushmand was a beloved high school science teacher known for his devotion, and for going out of his way to help settle some of Germany’s newer immigrants — the more than one million migrants and refugees who arrived en masse last year. So it was a big deal here in Celle when Mr. Hushmand was found bludgeoned to death in the basement of his home in February. But the shock was bigger still when the prime suspect turned out to be a recently arrived migrant from Afghanistan whom he had befriended.”

The Post headlines its story as if it’s a contradiction, but if you’re going to have a lavish welfare state it’s probably best that the people benefiting from it don’t want to kill you. That’s not unsympathetic. It’s simply recognizing the importance of keeping unvetted refugees from murdering innocent people — something Europe is just now discovering. For some people, that revelation comes too late.

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