Among the hard lessons of our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, surely one of them is that it’s foolish to expect that backward and often barbaric societies can be transformed into functioning liberal democracies. So why do liberals seem so surprised that so many people from these societies behave in barbaric ways after they’ve shoved their way into the West?
As I write, 516 criminal complaints have been filed in Germany against men of mainly North African or Arab origin who went on a New Year’s Eve sexual-assault rampage in the city of Cologne.
“Twenty or 30 men, foreign men, surrounded us and we couldn’t even move anymore,” a woman identified as Michelle told the BBC. “They just grabbed our arms and tried to tear us apart and pushed our clothes away and tried to get between our legs.”
Similar events also took place in Hamburg, Stuttgart and Berlin. In Sweden, a scandal erupted after it emerged that police had suppressed a report of mass groping by Middle East migrants at a festival last summer. In September, Soeren Kern of the Gatestone Institute chronicled some 30 cases of rape and sexual assault perpetrated by migrants against German and migrant women alike.
“In Bavaria, women and girls housed at a refugee shelter. . . are subject to rape and forced prostitution on a daily basis,” Mr. Kern writes, citing reports from women’s rights groups. “The price for sex with female asylum seekers is 10 euros.”
For anyone even minimally acquainted with Mideast mores, none of this is news. Mob sexual assaults in Egypt became notorious after the 2011 attack on reporter Lara Logan,but they have become a staple of Egyptian life. “Suddenly I was in the middle, surrounded by hundreds of men in a circle that was getting smaller and smaller around me,” one Egyptian woman wrote of a 2013 attack in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. “They were touching and groping me everywhere.”
The World Economic Forum publishes a Global Gender Gap Report, which ranks the status of women in 142 countries. Bottom of the list: Yemen, Pakistan, Chad, Syria, Mali and Iran, all Muslim-majority countries. A 2013 Pew survey of Muslim views on women’s rights found that only 22% of Egyptians and 14% of Iraqis thought that women should have a right to divorce their husbands, while fully 92% of Moroccans and 87% of Palestinians thought a wife must always obey her husband.
Put bluntly, there is a pronounced tendency among Middle Eastern men to view women either as chattel or as whores. This is not a pleasant reality to acknowledge, but it’s an even more dangerous thing to ignore. So why is it ignored?
Mr. Kern writes that police have remained silent about incidents of rape “because they do not want to give legitimacy to critics of mass migration.” That fits the pattern in Sweden, as it does with the Rotherham child sex-ring case, involving some 1,400 English girls abused over 16 years by men of Pakistani descent. In that case, police and social services ignored evidence of the abuse for fear of “giving oxygen to racist perspectives,” according to the Independent Inquiry into the case.
Or, as Denis MacShane, Rotherham’s former Labour MP and self-declared “Guardian-reading liberal leftie” put it, it was a matter of “not wanting to rock the multicultural community boat.”
That’s a telling admission. Multiculturalism is a liberal fetish that is also the antithesis of liberalism, classical or modern—a simultaneous belief in individual autonomy and cultural equality, irrespective of whether different cultures believe in individual rights or not.
Typically liberals have elided this incoherence by pretending, as President Obama often does, that Western cultures are no better than non-Western cultures in respecting human rights, or by demanding radical liberalism inside the West while supinely accepting violent anti-liberalism outside it.
But the events in Cologne make a nonsense of this. What was outside the West is now inside. In the spirit of Christian charity, Angela Merkel and other European leaders have imported a culture of Muslim misogyny. In the name of humanity, the benefactors are asked to close their eyes to the brutishness of so many of their beneficiaries.
At his State of the Union address Tuesday night, Mr. Obama is expected to make the case for opening our doors to Syrian refugees. As the son of a displaced person who arrived with her mother in the United States after World War II with seven dollars, I’m sympathetic to immigrants, particularly the lowliest among them. Whether their papers are in order doesn’t matter to me. It’s their intentions that count.
No amount of vetting is going to find all the bad apples in the new wave of Middle Eastern refugees. So here’s my modest proposal, for Mr. Obama and Ms. Merkel. Let’s open our doors wide to women, young children and the elderly. And let’s close it shut to the men. They have a mess to clean up in their own countries. And much to prove in the horrifying wake of Cologne.