Do the Statue of Liberty’s Words Still Ring True?

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Tourists pass by the Statue of LIberty on their way to Ellis Island, where immigrants to the U.S. used to be processed (Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Tourists pass by the Statue of LIberty on their way to Ellis Island, where immigrants to the U.S. used to be processed (Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

When immigrants arrived to the United States of America via the New York Harbor between the latter half of the 19th to the beginning of the 20th centuries, they were greeted by the Statue of Liberty with the words that represent the American spirit:

 Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

Today, however, the U.S. attitude towards newcomers has changed. The American people, as well as Europeans, have shown a growing concern over the obvious metamorphosis of the nature and type of immigration, which they consider a threat to national identity. Theirs is not a position against foreigners preserving some of their cultural or religious traditions in as much as the non-conformist mentality seen from many Islamist immigrants.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis—a son of Jewish immigrants—said in his 1915 speech on True Americanism that immigrants seeking a home in America needed to do much more than learn English and have good manners.

He argued that they must be brought into complete harmony with our ideals and aspirations and cooperate with us for their attainment.The influx of Islamists, as Westerners fear, threatens to reshape the ethnic and religious composition of their nation-states, their democratic-capitalist tradition and their social values.

This concern has been heightened by the fact that many Muslim immigrants have cultivated an autonomous sharia-based society in our homeland, such as in Dearborn, Michigan, where animosity towards Christians has been constant and at times violent.

We also see this with the establishment “Muslim-friendly” hotels in prominent places such as Florence (Italy), sharia patrols in German cities and sharia courts in England. In London alone, there are at least 100 sharia tribunals which parallel the established legal system by which Muslims are free to disavow civil laws and regulations in the private sector. In this sense, Islam has proven remarkably resistant to persistent attempts to relegate it to the private sphere.

Of course, there are many Muslims who seek to flee from the draconian sharia rules in their native countries with the hope of creating a new and dignified life. This is an obligation that is owed to them. At the same time, others migrate come because of the hijra doctrine (patterned on the migration of Muhammad to Medina from Mecca in 622). As compelled by Islamists, including extremist imams and Islamic “rights” activists, they feel it is their duty to leave (or are forced to leave) their homeland in order to spread the kingdom of Allah.

What we face now is a situation in the West which was foreseen by then-Algerian President Houari Boumendienne in 1974. In an address to the United Nations, he stated,

One day, millions of men will leave the Southern Hemisphere to go to the Northern Hemisphere. And they will not go there as friends. Because they will go there to conquer it. And they will conquer it with their sons. The wombs of our women will give us victory.

Let us keep in mind that a nation has the right and duty to protect and secure its borders. Yet while the fears of Americans and Europeans are valid, the closed-border policy has not solved the Islamist phenomenon, which in the end is a doctrinal one.

Regrettably, because of the political correctness in our culture, primarily instigated by the left-wing politicians and philanthropists like George Soros who seek the demise of Western civilization, one cannot even rationally address the Islamist dilemma, lest he or she be accused of Islamophobia.

We should therefore not be surprised when Islamists in the West collectively refuse to assimilate, nor should we be startled that inadvertently at least, we have conformed ourselves to their demands.




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Mario Alexis Portella

Portella holds an MA in Medieval History from Fordham University in New York and a double doctorate in Canon Law and Civil Law from the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome. Portella is an American priest at the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, Italy and Chancellor of its archdiocese. He is the author of Islam: Religion of Peace? - The Violation of Natural Rights and Western-Cover-Up.

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