As discussed in an earlier post, groups such as PEGIDA have used the attacks to bring attention to their political and social agendas. However, observers have warned their fellow Europeans against using the assaults to promote unrelated agendas. Reuters reports that during a public debate in Prague, European Union foreign policy head Federica Mogherini warned political leaders not to use the assaults "in an instrumental way" or to "[mix] it with other kind of affairs".
The American far right never got the memo.
As with other tragedies, some far-right figures used human suffering as an opportunity to pontificate on their own pet issues. They forgot about the victims of the Cologne violence, too enamored with their own anti-refugee, anti-immigrant, and anti-Muslim rhetoric.
First, presidential candidate Donald Trump wasted no time in responding to the news. On January 6th, Trump posted a tweet that read "Germany is going through massive attacks to its people by the migrants allowed to enter the country. New Years Eve was a disaster. THINK!"
Germany is going through massive attacks to its people by the migrants allowed to enter the country. New Years Eve was a disaster. THINK!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 6, 2016
Reuters reports that during a rally in Iowa, Donald Trump spoke of the Cologne violence in the same breath as Germany's influx of refugees.
"Poor Germany! They're rioting right now in the streets of Cologne, rioting. What's gone on is unbelievable, with the crime, with the rape ... Here was a country that didn't have these--they didn't know about these problems. And I don't know what went on. Millions of people coming in, and what's happening in Germany is unbelievable."Franklin Graham, whose statements about Muslims betray his mindset, saw the New Year's attacks as an opportunity to share his anti-refugee views. In a January 7th Facebook post, Franklin Graham used the Cologne violence as a platform to denounce supposedly inadequate vetting of refugees coming into the U.S.
"Gangs of Muslim men from North Africa and the Middle East roamed the streets of Cologne, Germany, on New Year's Eve attacking over 100 women—beating, groping, and raping. Unbelievably, authorities tried to cover it up because of fear and political correctness. Reports say that police were blocked from helping the women by groups of migrant men and were pelted by glass bottles and fireworks. This is a nightmare. Germany took in a record 1.1 million asylum-seekers last year, and look what is happening. If we don’t properly vet people that we allow to come into this country, this could happen here. I hope the Washington politicians—Republicans, Democrats, and the White House—see and recognize this very grave danger."Pamela Geller, president of the anti-Islamic American Freedom Defense Initiative, weighed in as well.In a January 10th column at World Net Daily, Pamela Geller cited the New Year's attacks as evidence of a European "civil war".
"Yes, this is civil war. Will the Europeans fight? The police are on the side of their conquerors. There were too few police on New Year’s Eve in Cologne. The girls were on their own to “run the gauntlet.” And yet on Saturday, when there was a demo against the mass sexual attacks, there was an overwhelming police presence in Cologne. The anti-migrant movement was rallying against the rash of assaults on women by migrants in the city on New Year’s Eve. German police have water cannons and pepper spray to disperse demonstrators. Where was this strong police presence on New Year’s Eve? Why weren’t the tactics used against the anti-rape and robbery rally employed against the Muslim migrant hordes?"Geller responded to the attacks with I-told-you-so language, insisting that Germany is "morphing into a Muslim state" before our eyes.
"I warned that all this would happen, and now it is happening. Those of us who sounded the alarm were smeared, libeled and relegated to the very fringe. European authorities have been much more intent on shutting down resistance to jihad than on stopping jihad activity and Islamic supremacism in their own countries.Finally, the Eagle Forum's Phyllis Schlafly used Cologne to buttress her anti-immigration stance. In a January 7th interview with World Net Daily entitled "Rape Jihad Shows Germany Is No Longer German", Phyllis Schlafly pointed to the Cologne violence as evidence that the U.S. should bar immigrants.
Meanwhile, at such a time as this, “Mein Kampf” was reprinted in Germany for the first time in decades, and it immediately sold out. The timing on this is suspicious. “Mein Kampf” is a bestseller in many Muslim countries. Europe, and most particularly Germany, is morphing into a Muslim state at warped speed. The rise in Jew-hatred in Europe is tied directly to the increase in Muslim immigration. Islamic antisemitism is in the Quran."
"We ought to close the border and say we’re going to have a pause in immigration, just like we did during the 1920s ... We respect our women in America. Other countries don’t. Other countries treat women pretty terribly. I just think we ought to close the border and have a pause, just like Trump believes."Oh, that's rich, I thought. First, the Phyllis Schafly who claimed that husbands cannot rape their wives, who blamed the campus sexual crisis on too many women attending college, and who blasted the Violence Against Women Act as "feminist pork" is in no position to lecture anyone about respect for women. Second, closing U.S. borders would give female refugees one less country of refuge. This would be a slap in the face to women fleeing ISIS-controlled areas, where the treatment of women and girls is abysmal, as well as women fleeing other parts of the world where gender-based violence rages unchecked. If Schlafly respects women, why doesn't she want to help women escape violence?
What happened to the victims of the New Year's Eve violence? What happened to the real roots of the violence, such as misogynist attitudes in Europe's minority enclaves? If the far right is so incensed over Cologne, why won't it discuss these subjects? Because these aren't the far right's pet issues. It's much easier to rage against scapegoats than to cultivate empathy for crime victims, or to mount a sophisticated response to a social problem.
(Hat tip to the Washington Post.)