‘The elephant in the room that no one is prepared to acknowledge’ | Alexander Betts
- 14 January 2016
- Media coverage
The RSC Director talks to The New York Times about the climate of fear in Europe's 'migrant crisis'
Following the attacks against women in Germany on New Year’s Eve, The New York Times reports on the widening divisions in ‘Europe’s migrant crisis’. These attacks, they argue, are provoking new levels of public anxiety across Europe about the recent influx of asylum-seekers, most of whom are Muslim, and far-right political parties are capitalizing on this anxiety.
In the article, Professor Alexander Betts comments, ‘This has been the elephant in the room that no one is prepared to acknowledge — that the great fear is the fear of Islam.’ Most mainstream politicians, he argued, have not addressed the public’s fears or provided sufficient clarity on migration, leaving a vacuum for anti-immigration leaders to fill.
He further warned that if political leaders fail to quickly provide ‘a nuanced argument for migration - one that confronts fears about security and religious differences… public support for granting asylum to refugees could collapse.’