Almost 90% of the people in Poland identify as some denomination of “Christian” with about 87% of the population claiming to be Roman Catholic. So when more than 1 million Polish citizens gathered at the nation’s borders to pray for the future of their country, they were mostly praying as Christians.
Today, the nations of Poland, Hungary, Czechia, and Slovakia are all united against the rest of the European Union (EU). These 4 Eastern European nations argue that the immigration policies of the EU are threatening to destroy the continents political and economic stability. These nations see the flood of immigrants as a real threat to their future, and so the people gathered to pray – not against immigration, but for salvation from the possible calamity that lies ahead for Europe.
Sadly, that’s not what the mainstream media sees. Instead of recognizing an amazing moment of Polish solidarity and hope for peace and prosperity, what the media saw was a massive case of Islamophobia.
Here’s what the so-called unbiased, mainstream media had to say about the prayer gathering:
The AP warned that Saturday’s national event, which was endorsed by Polish church authorities, had “anti-Muslim overtones.”
Citing an “expert on xenophobia,” the AP said that the border prayer event “reinforces the ethno-religious, xenophobic model of national identity,” and represents a “problematic expression of Islamophobia” in the country.
The AP wasn’t the only mainstream media outlet to take issue with the overtly Christian commemoration, which was openly supported by Poland’s prime minister, Beata Szydło.
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) called the rosary prayer “controversial,” suggesting that the event could be seen “as support for the government’s refusal to accept Muslim migrants.”
Drawing together these expressions, Newsweek magazine proclaimed that the border prayer was a “controversial event seen as anti-Muslim,” and repeated the AP story that “the prayers seemed like a way to express Islamophobia.”
It’s not Islamophobia.
It’s a survival instinct.
The people of Poland see the dangers of terrorism and they worry that allowing unchecked numbers of immigrants into the continent could lead to a rise in terrorist attacks. (This is exactly what has happened.) They worry that a sudden massive wave of migration could destabilize the Polish culture and wipe away thousands of years of cultural history and tradition. (This is exactly what is happening in other parts of Europe.) They worry that forcing thousands upon thousands of new people into their welfare state could destroy their economy. (This is happening throughout Europe, as the government’s don’t have the money or resources to care for the sudden influx of welfare recipients.)
They worry that if the economy crumbles, if their history is forgotten, if their culture is undone, then their nation could disappear altogether.
Why is this concern, grounded as it is in the harsh reality of the world around them, just shrugged off by the media as “Islamophobia?”
The Polish people are right to be worried, and the media is wrong to dismiss their concerns as xenophobia OR Islamophobia.