The HOMEAFFAIRS Briefing is a regular specialised digest of the wider discussion on internal security policy. This time, we reflect on the past European Summit and its Conclusions on migration policy.

The EU Should Quickly Put in Practice the “Regional Disembarkation Platforms”

  • Despite the number of contradictory interests and priorities of EU Member States, the leaders managed to come to common Conclusions on migration, which collectively go in the right direction – that is towards an effective and sustainable prevention of mass irregular immigration to Europe. Whereas the idea of “controlled centres” seems to be only a necessary concession to Italy without any realistic prospects, the concept of “regional disembarkation platforms” already on the North African shores is the key for taking control over migratory flows.
  • Ministers of Foreign Affairs and the Interior of the Member States as well as the European Commission should now answer the explicit requirement by the European Council and elaborate nuances of practical functioning of this concept without any delay. Thanks to the energetic Austrian Presidency, we could see a realistic action plan and beginning of its implementation by the end of this year.
  • In essence, it is about launching Search and Rescue Operations; ideally realised in the territorial waters of the third countries. This will more effectively prevent unnecessary tragic drownings of migrants, who will be quickly transferred and disembarked in centres operated by the African countries. In close cooperation with the UNHCR and the International Organisation for Migration, the migrants will be divided into people in need of protection on the one hand and mere illegal economic migrants on the other hand. Genuine asylum seekers and refugees will be provided with assistance on location or will be resettled to refugee centres closer to their region of origin. Illegal migrants will be returned to the country of their origin or transit. All of that will require substantial financial, material as well as personal support from EU Member States, including the Frontex Agency.
  • The major obstacle, which will have to be overcome, is the continuous reluctance of the third countries to build such an infrastructure and actively hold migrants on their territory. In order to meet these objections, the EU Member States will have to employ not only significant financial resources and other positive incentives, but also methods of covered diplomacy and negative inducements.

Every two weeks, our team crafts internal security policy recommendations that incorporate handpicked publications from respected research organisations and experts in Europe and elsewhere. Our recommendations this week look at attempts by the regressive left to misuse the label of islamophobia, and unfortunate practices by various countries of de-facto legitimisation of Islamic extremists.

Resist Attempts by the Regressive Left to Smear Muslim Reformers

  • Issuing an official statement by its director Richard Cohen, the Southern Poverty Law Center, Inc. publicly apologised to the Quilliam organisation and its founder Maajid Nawaz for falsely including them in its controversial list of anti-Muslim extremists in 2016. The SPLC also pledged to pay a $3.375 million settlement to support Quilliam’s long-standing cause.
  • Although such a move is certainly a commendable acknowledgment of serious missteps undertaken by the SPLC in the past, there is little doubt that the once-respectable civil rights advocacy organization has already lost its credibility by even putting Mr. Nawaz next to the true anti-Muslim bigots like Frank Gaffney or Pamela Geller.
  • The crucial lesson in this matter is to withstand any attempt to vilify Muslim reformers and other activists combatting Islamist extremism. People asserting the regressive left‘s agenda under the guise of a fight against the faulty concept of ‘Islamophobia’ should under no circumstances get the upper hand in the public debate related to this issue.
  • About the SPLC, Maajid fight. Useful idiots who smear crucial voices against Islamic extremism must be acknowledged and resisted. The SPLC should be ashamed and also remove Ayaan Hirsi Ali from the list of anti-Muslim extremists. With its long record of combatting Islamist fundamentalism as well as anti-Muslim bigotry, Quilliam remains one of the most important counter-extremism think-tanks worldwide.

Do Not Legitimise Islamic Extremists

  • Whereas no one would officially welcome violent extremist groups, this logic must be expanded to non-violent extremists too. Inviting known Islamists to official meetings legitimises their practices, unintentionally or not. Instead, Muslim reformists should be embraced.
  • Even though this advice seems to be obvious, major countries struggle with this logic. In Germany, the state-organised Islam Conference, as the major platform for Islam dialogue in that country, is dominated by conservative Muslim groups incorporating known Islamists close to Muslim Brotherhood, endorsing Salafism and lashing out at liberal Islam.
  • Often these groups propagate a dangerous political agenda and should not be underestimated, let alone encouraged. Some of them are even considered alarming by the German Intelligence Service, yet still are invited and hence officially welcomed by the German government itself.
  • Even though these Islamist groups only represent a fraction of the Muslim population, they are given a major platform. What is promoted as dialogue, in fact legitimises extremist practices and sidelines liberal Islam movements.