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Sasha Polakow-Suransky

The Backlash Against Immigration and the Fate of Western Democracy

4.2 (27 ratings)
18 mins

Brief summary

Go Back to Where You Came From by Sasha Polakow-Suransky explores how reactionary nationalism fuels hostility towards immigrants and refugees in countries like Australia, South Africa, and the United States. It argues that xenophobia stands at odds with liberal democratic values and maintains that at its core, hostility against outsiders often stems from a fear of change.

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    Go Back to Where You Came From
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    Since 9/11, Muslims have been seen as a group that threatens democracy and Western culture.

    The repercussions of the attacks on September 11, 2001, continue to be felt to the present day. In particular, we can still see how the attacks have negatively influenced the public perception of Muslims and Muslim migrants.

    Even though acts of terrorism reflect the beliefs of a very small minority of the 1.5 billion Muslims across the globe, the world’s entire Muslim population continues to pay the price.

    Since 2015, Western Europe has seen a tremendous increase in Muslim immigrants. But due to lingering suspicions that have gradually increased since 9/11, Muslims have struggled to become accepted and integrated into European societies.

    Meanwhile, immigrants from Eastern European countries and other non-Muslim parts of the world, despite also causing major demographic changes in Western Europe, are largely seen as nonthreatening.

    At the top of the list for why Westerners are worried about Muslim immigrants is the concern that their religion represents a threat to Western culture and democracy.

    A common argument is that Muslims coming to Western Europe will try to impose Sharia law, also known as Islamic law. Due to its strict adherence to scripture, people believe this will introduce female subservience, homophobia and other behavior that conflicts with Western, liberal values.

    One person that has been vocal in endorsing this point of view is Marine Le Pen of France’s Front National political party. She claims that secularism, one of the defining characteristics of the French Republic, is being dangerously threatened by Muslim immigrants.

    Curiously, Le Pen does not see public displays of other religions, such as Christmas nativity scenes in a department store window, to be as threatening to secularism as a neighborhood with a Halal butcher shop.

    In the same vein, there’s also Soren Espersen, of Denmark’s far-right People’s Party, who suggests that every immigrant should have to publicly declare their allegiance to the Danish constitution, thereby placing it above their religion in order of importance.

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    What is Go Back to Where You Came From about?

    Go Back to Where You Came From (2017) takes a look at the current international political landscape and explains how the increase in refugees in Europe has contributed to the rise of the right-wing populist movement. It also explains why Muslim immigrants are the subject of such political demonization, how this issue has strengthened political extremism and why the populist movement is a serious threat to democracy as we know it.

    Go Back to Where You Came From Review

    Go Back to Where You Came From (2017) by Sasha Polakow-Suransky is a thought-provoking exploration of the rise of right-wing nationalism and the challenges of globalization. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • With in-depth research and interviews, it offers a comprehensive understanding of the forces driving anti-immigration sentiment.
    • It analyzes complex geopolitical issues, providing nuanced insights into the consequences of nationalistic policies.
    • Through compelling narratives and firsthand accounts, it humanizes the experiences of migrants and challenges stereotypes, keeping readers engaged throughout.

    Best quote from Go Back to Where You Came From

    [We] combine Muslims with radical Islam and terrorism, we combine immigrants with crime and rape.

    —Sasha Polakow-Suransky
    example alt text

    Who should read Go Back to Where You Came From?

    • Political science students or avid news readers
    • Immigrants, refugees and activists
    • Legislators and political decision makers

    About the Author

    Sasha Polakow-Suransky is an acclaimed journalist and the former editor of “International Opinion” at the New York Times. He is also the writer of the book The Unspoken Alliance: Israel’s Secret Relationship with Apartheid South Africa.

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    Go Back to Where You Came From FAQs 

    What is the main message of Go Back to Where You Came From?

    The main message of Go Back to Where You Came From is an exploration of the global rise in anti-immigration sentiment and its consequences.

    How long does it take to read Go Back to Where You Came From?

    The reading time for Go Back to Where You Came From varies depending on the reader, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary, however, can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Go Back to Where You Came From a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Go Back to Where You Came From is an insightful and thought-provoking book that offers a deep understanding of the complex issues surrounding immigration. Highly recommended.

    Who is the author of Go Back to Where You Came From?

    Sasha Polakow-Suransky is the author of Go Back to Where You Came From.

    What to read after Go Back to Where You Came From?

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