I've just finished watching Question Time on the BBC, where one of the questions from the studio audience was whether we should help the people coming from Africa to Italy across the Mediterranean.
That question sparked a contest among the panellists for who shows most philanthropic generosity and heartfelt altruism in asserting that most definitely yes, we have an indisputable moral obligation to help them.
In their answers, the line was blurred between economic migrants and refugees in fear for their lives, escaping dangerous situations.
But hey, it was all for a good cause.
It was never mentioned that, even in the case of genuine refugees, there’s a general principle in the EU that asylum should be claimed in the first safe country that is reached, which is what so-called asylum seekers often don't do.
The UK has its own application of this principle. British charity The Refugee Council explains:
Safe third countryUnfortunately this is not a EU clear rule or legal requirement, giving rise to confusion.
The Home Office deems certain countries to be places where a refugee is safe from persecution... If an asylum seeker travels through any of these states en route to the UK, he or she may be returned there on grounds of having travelled through a safe third country.
The Dublin Regulation from which the "first safe country" principle derives is a confusing piece of legislation, so it is desirable that the ambiguities in it be dispelled by declaring that asylum seekers are obliged to claim asylum in the first safe country they can reach in their vicinity, rather than picking which country they prefer for economic reasons, which is likely to be a nation in Europe.
In case of economic migrants, there is no legal obligation to accept them. In terms of moral obligation, let's remind ourselves that the population of Africa alone is over 1 billion, to which - for moral reasons - we should add all the rest of the Third World's population in similar economic need.
Do we have a moral obligation to let all the Third World billions of inhabitants come to our shores and welcome them to our lands? In short, are we morally obliged to let our countries be destroyed?
Something else which was never mentioned during the program is that in April Muslim migrants being carried on a boat across the Mediterranean threw 12 Christians overboard to their deaths because they were not praying to Allah when they asked God for help when their dinghy suffered a puncture:
[A] Nigerian Christian prayed for his life in an innocent act that would end in the deaths of 12 fellow migrants.This is the sort of people we may let into our countries, not to mention the various terrorists, militants and criminals that the Islamic State controlling the Libyan coast smuggles to Europe.
One of the Muslims on board the rickety craft ordered him to stop, saying: 'Here, we only pray to Allah.'
When he refused, a violent fight ensued and 12 Christians drowned when they were thrown overboard by the Muslim refugees.
Our betters, the cream of our media pundits and politicians are so concerned about "moral obligations" that they are prepared to let murderers become our next-door neighbours.
What is particularly aberrant is that the people pontificating from the height of their ethical stance in this way are not the ones who are going to bear the burden of their haughty choice. Lionel Barber, the editor of the Financial Times, and his co-pannellists on the Question Time panel last night are not likely to live in the sort of areas where immigrants and refugees reside.
Incidentally, for all those who say that all religions are the same, how many Christians do they know of who have thrown overboard, raped, tortured, beheaded or otherwise massacred Muslims in huge numbers as Muslims have done to Christians over the last few years, and about which we read every day?