Best columns: Europe
Our churches don’t need armed guards
Stephen Glover Daily Mail
Having armed police patrol our churches is “a victory for the terrorists,” said Stephen Glover. I was appalled at photos last week of “police bristling with weapons (rifles, pistols, and Tasers) at the very door of Canterbury Cathedral—the mother church of the Anglican Communion. The police presence might have been justified had there been a specific terrorist threat against the building, where in 1170 Archbishop Thomas Becket was “famously slaughtered by four unruly knights” after King Henry II asked to be “rid” of the priest. But authorities insisted there was no threat, that they were just making a show of force. “What is the point?” The U.K. has dozens of cathedrals and thousands of churches, so it cannot make us safer to have just a few of them guarded—and surely nobody wants armed patrols at every church anyway. Britain has faced terrorism before, during the long insurgency by the Irish Republican Army, and we responded not by deploying armed police everywhere, but with a few sensible measures like removing trash cans from train stations where bombs could be hidden. The IRA was “confronted, and in the end beaten, without our playing the terrorists’ game.” Surely we can meet the threat from jihadist terrorism with equal fortitude.
Don’t let the far right hold the stage
Bernhard Honnigfort Berliner Zeitung
Germany’s national Unity Day turned into “an expensive PR disaster” this year, said Bernhard Honnigfort. As Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Joachim Gauck arrived in Dresden for celebrations marking the 26th anniversary of German reunification, hundreds of far-right protesters jeered and shouted, chanting “Merkel must go!” The protesters—members of Pegida, the anti-immigrant group that opposes Merkel’s acceptance of refugees—even disrupted the church service at the ceremony, “screaming racist epithets at darkskinned worshipers.” This embarrassing spectacle could easily have been prevented, had police and local authorities planned properly. It’s not as if Pegida “rabble-rousers” among the spectators were some kind of surprise: The group has “poisoned the climate” of Dresden for the past two years, “fomenting hatred and violence.” And the fault lies with the majority of Dresdeners, who oppose them. Why haven’t upstanding Germans staged counter-demonstrations against Pegida? That’s what Leipzigers did, led by their mayor, and now Pegida has all but vanished from their city. Dresden authorities, by contrast, have tried to reason with the activists and appease them. That approach will never work. “How can you talk with people who yell but do not listen or think?” If they shout, we must shout louder, “waving our flags high.”