For the first time in the history of the European continent, Austria recently announced the intention to create a new criminal offense termed "political Islam". This step came as part of a series of anti-terrorism actions following the terrorist attacks in the Austrian capital, Vienna, which killed five people and injured about 20.
Austrian Prime Minister Sebastian Kurz stated clearly on his personal Twitter account: “We will create a criminal offense called ‘political Islam’ in order to be able to take action against those who are not terrorists themselves, but who create the breeding ground for them.”. Several media outlets have indicated that a new law will be enacted in Austria with the aim of keeping convicted terrorists behind bars for life, while maintaining those convicted of terrorism-related crimes under electronic surveillance upon their release, in addition to criminalizing religiously motivated political extremism.
In the aftermath of the latest terrorist attacks, anxiety over political Islamist groups among Europeans is mounting significantly. A survey conducted by the British Chatham House Institute found that most Europeans oppose the continuation of Muslim immigration into their countries due to security concerns brought about by terrorist incidents.
The survey's results, published a while ago, included more than 10,000 citizens from ten European countries, 55 percent of whom responded with a "yes" to the suggestion: "Immigration from Muslim-majority countries must be banned."
These ten European countries were Belgium, Germany, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Austria, Britain, Hungary and Poland. Whilst some of these countries, such as France, Belgium and Britain, are home to large Muslim communities, their voice against embracing Muslim immigrants has not faded. The strongest opposition came from Poland, where about 71 percent of participants were against harboring Muslim immigrants. The specifics of the survey were even more interesting than its overall results, as they showed that senior citizens oppose Muslim immigration more than other age groups. While 44 percent of participants, aged between 18 and 29 were pro banning Muslims from entering their countries. On the other hand, the 63 percent of participants who were pro the ban, were aged 60 and up.
The survey also showed that "the educational level played a visible role in the outcome of these results, with 59 percent of participants who have basic education supporting Muslim immigration, compared to 48 percent who hold university degrees. Yet, one in two people with higher education wants to ban Muslims from entering their countries. Meanwhile, sex and place of residence had a minor impact: as 57 percent were men and 52 percent were women. Importantly, residents of big cities were slightly more open than those of small ones and rural areas by 52 percent, compared to 55 percent and 52 percent, respectively. "
Europeans today feel that they are paying for the mistake of having been the most welcoming people in the world to third world immigrants in the last century, all because of the political Islamic parties and organizations that have clearly committed the largest historical crime against the Islamic religion and its followers around the world. Although some European politicians and decision-makers have not yet grasped the public opinion opposing Muslim immigration, they will do so sooner or later. And when that time comes, not only will Europe officially close its doors to Muslims, it will also abandon the principles of the last century, and no one can blame it for that, as security was, and will always be, above all.
A Saudi Writer - This piece was originally published in Okaz Newspaper.