Immigration is a danger to feminism

Thursday 21 January 2016

Have you heard of taharrush gamea before? No, me neither – at least not until this week.

It won’t be the last time, though. Taharrush gamea describes the sort of mob sexual harassment inflicted on around 200 German women on New Year’s Eve.

The streets of Cologne were flooded with migrants and asylum seekers, predominantly young Muslim men from North Africa and the Middle East, and they descended on western women like a plague of locusts.

There were multiple sexual assaults, robberies, alleged rapes and verbal abuse of the worst kind. Many of the victims remain deeply traumatised.

Almost as bad was the official cover-up afterwards. Even the media was culpable.

Germany’s national network ZDF eventually apologised for failing to report the story for three days, saying they “didn’t want to spread a bad mood”.

WHAT? Meanwhile the city’s police grudgingly admitted that they had been put under a three-line whip “from the very top” pressurising them not to report crimes committed by new arrivals.

Quite a way to protect your nation’s women, isn’t it? And it gets worse.

Officials issued a code of conduct – not to the groping, leering, jeering men who think it is ok to stick their hands up any passing girl’s skirt – but to German women.

They were told not to look “cheerful” in the street in case it be mistaken for “sexual openness”.

So at the first crude challenge to western civilised values – in this case, the right of a woman to walk down the street with a smile on her face, unmolested – the cultural cringe is instant and absolute.

What next? Will German women be advised to start covering their heads when they go out in case the next marauding gang of incomers take them for prostitutes?

Jessica McCallin is a British journalist who has worked extensively in the Middle East.

In 1993, when she was 17, her family moved to the Turkish capital, Ankara, after her father took a job with the UN. Jessica was the oldest of three sisters.

This week she wrote: “For the next two years we were leered at, jeered at, hissed at, groped and touched, again and again and again, every single time we left the house…. once I was groped and hit in the face right outside the president’s palace. The guards responded by hooting and laughing and shoving their pelvises at me.”

McCallin says she and her sisters were “not remotely surprised” by the Cologne outrages.

When last summer Angela Merkel announced her decision to accept 800,000 refugees the McCallins gloomily predicted big problems for western women (while accepting that not all Muslim societies tolerate such misogynistic behaviour).

Womens’ rights have been hard fought for. The suffragettes were imprisoned, beaten, force-fed and, yes, sexually assaulted during their battle for the right to vote.

But even they took for granted a woman’s right to walk down the street without being threatened by sexually depraved thugs.

I predict the surprise and possibly decisive factor in the coming EU referendum will be feminism.

If staying in Europe means open borders that allow the violent misogynists of Cologne to bring their taharrush gamea here, many British women will vote “no”.

They will have every right to protect themselves and their daughters, and to smile in the street just as often and as widely as they damn well please.

Judy: I cannot stand LED lightbulbs. Nothing depresses me more than rooms which are lit by those creepy, wan, cold white bulbs that the EU has forced on us since 2009.

Richard and I travel with a constant supply of old-fashioned incandescent bulbs in the boot. Almost all UK hotel rooms are under-lit and cold.

With the lamp bulbs changed, they are transformed into warm, cosy, well-lit nests. So it is great news that lovely golden incandescent bulbs are making a comeback.

The green brigade banned them because they are less energy efficient than LED lights but now researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have devised a way to make old-fashioned bulbs energy saving.

Now maybe our annual neighbourhood Christmas tree, which used to glow with the old golden fairy lights, can get rid of the hideous blue low-energy replacements we have had to endure for the last few years. Hallelujah!

Read more in Richard and Judy's column for the Daily Express.
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