The recent violence in Charlottesville by white supremacists is cause for concern not just for the United States but for the global community at large. Some have predicted that the next wave of terrorism may not come from religious extremists but from far-right and alt-right groups.
Such was also the case with the recent attack by a 48 year old white manwho used his van to mow down Muslim worshippers outside of Finsbury Mosque on June 19.
Talking to reporters London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan had stated, “Terrorism is terrorism…It doesn’t matter whether you’re inspired by a perverse force of Islam — a perverse version of Islam — or you’re inspired by some other motives to try and terrorize others. The intention is the same.”
But President Donald Trump refused to categorically label the fatal incident in Charlottesville an act of “domestic terrorism.” Instead he said, “You can call it terrorism; you can call it murder. You can call it whatever you want.” In fact he even went on to defend some in crowds of those chanting racist slogans as “fine people” and placed blame on “both sides.”
In response, Teresa May reiterated that there should be “…no equivalence between those who propound fascist views and those who oppose them.”
Words do matter. In President Trump’s recent speech in Warsaw, he called upon the West to defend itself from outsiders in the wake of increased immigration and terrorism. This rhetoric is not helpful. Anti-immigration sentiments and various misconceptions related to immigration are spreading with the rise of right wing and populist movements, some of them become increasingly extreme.
Now about a quarter of those referred to the counter-radicalization programs are of right wing ideology. The murder of MP Jo Cox by neo-Nazi Thomas Mair is a testament to this growing threat. It is not just as isolated case as an increasing number of MPs have gotten threats from members of the far-right.
Even as a new Migration Museum has also opened up to encourage visitors to revisit the U.K’s rich history of immigration, with the rise of white nationalism and policies such as Trump’s travel ban, it those most vulnerable to ISIS’s terror attacks that are hurt the most.
In a tragic reminder of this, the father of Fatemah Qaderyan, one of the talented Afghan girls part of a robotics team not allowed visas into the United States, was killed in Afghanistan by an ISIS bomb attack. Such policies do little for countering violent extremism.
Although anti-Immigration sentiments were one of the main reasons cited for those voting for Brexit, U.K’s migrant crisis will not simply go away. Once outside the EU, Britain will still be bound by its international obligations. Brexit may even make matters worse as the UK may not be able to defer its refugees to other EU member states.
Britain has already taken a considerably low number of refugees as compared to other member states comparable to it in size. Germany has taken in over 1.1.million refugees. And despite populist fears Germany’s security is stable. In 2015, according to Eurostat statistics, the UK “received around 38,800 asylum applications out of the total of 1,321,600 applications in the entire EU.” U.K hence shares just about 2.9% of the burden of refugees whereas Germany has been responsible for 36% (476,510 applications), 13% by Hungary (177,135), 12% by Sweden (162,450), 6.6% by Austria (88,160), 6.3% by Italy (84,085) and 6% by France (75,750 applications).”
Also a considerable spike in immigrants coming to the U.K. occurred after Eastern European Countries entered into the EU in 2004. As of 2015 a large portion of immigrants up to 29% were Polish. A fall in wages occurred during the financial crisis in 2008 and perhaps is falsely attributed to immigrants taking over the jobs of British citizens.
Analysts point to a “lump of labour fallacy” because immigrants also use goods and services and create more demand. Research has shown that the rise in immigration has not “significantly harmed the job and wage prospects of UK-born workers.”
As Britain prepares to leave the EU, it will have to either negotiate an agreement to continue to reap benefits: especially in terms of intelligence sharing, security, collaboration in policing, and even cooperation to help prosecute perpetrators of terrorism, or Britain may have to form national institutions which will serve the function of providing safety to its citizens while facing both internal and global threats.