You would have thought that if there was any one event that could turn Europeans against the notion that the EU is capable of accommodating the millions of asylum seekers fleeing the war-torn Mid-East it would be a terrorist attack on a major European capital.
As it turns out, sentiment towards refugees was remarkably resilient in the wake of the Paris attacks. Sure, France closed its borders, but by and large, it appeared that Europeans viewed the attacks as a reminder of why people were fleeing Syria and Iraq rather than as emblematic of what they would ultimately export to Western Europe.
But sentiment did eventually sour. Not due to a terrorist attack, but rather due to a wave of sexual assaults on New Year’s Eve.
Women gathered in the city center in Cologne, Germany reported being groped and robbed by “gangs” of Arabs, and once reports of the attacks made international headlines, victims came out of the woodwork as allegations poured in from Austria to Finland, to Sweden where several prominent newspapers alleged a vast coverup of incidents that allegedly took place at a youth festival in central Stockholm’s Kungsträdgården last August.
The revelations have sparked a massive backlash against refugees and have also served to whip certain segments of the population into a nationalistic furor that now threatens to upend the political establishment in a number of European countries.
"We have seen what they are capable of. They are testosterone bombs,” far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders said last month. "It's sexual terrorism, a sexual jihad,” he added.
Now, in what will likely go down as one of the most politically incorrect sets of images in recent memory, wSieci (a conservative Polish magazine) has run a cover story entitled “The Islamic Rape of Europe.” Here are the rather edgy visuals:
Make no mistake, we certainly understand Europe's frustration with what, if the allegations are true, are a series of deplorable attacks and with the ineptitude officials have shown when it comes to tackling the bloc's refugee crisis.
But we can't help but wonder whether it occurred to wSieci that Syria and Iraq (where the refugees are coming from) have been getting "raped" by the West and its regional allies for more than a decade. Metaphorically speaking of course.