In a small town in the UK that I livd in prior to returning to Australia, (drum roll: politically incorrect statements coming up) the magazine's sturdy young vendor, stationed a couple of days a week outside the local bank, was the very same chap with the dyed yellow ponytail who'd often sit in the bank's doorway asking everyone who passed to spare him some change. (Funnily enough, he always had money for hair bleach, liquor, and cigarettes.)
Within weeks the pony-tailed vendor was gone altogether, and then there were two Roma vendors, and finally three, two male and one female (well, two time-sharing females actually, the elder in an advanced state of pregnancy), stationed at key points in the High Street repeating mantra-like in fractured English: "Big Issue please".
Now, hawking a magazine critical of the socio-economic policy of a host country known for its generous welfare system as soon as you've reached its shores (and been granted accommodation in one of its council houses to boot) struck me as the height of chutzpah. And the intimidating, intrusive presence of three Big Issue sellers where one had sufficed struck me as decidedly dodgy.
Still, I have nothing against the magazine itself, which undoubtedly performs a valuable social service, and whose contents are not without interest. Indeed, one of its recent articles is very interesting indeed. Written by Samira Ahmed, it observes inter alia:
'Polling here shows a large number of Britons, the majority even, are at best cautious about taking in refugees from Syria because of the fear of conservative Islamic attitudes. Some readers might want to dismiss this as a cover for racism, just as in the 1930s the Daily Mail warned of the “threat” of so many Jews coming from Hitler’s Germany.
But ... looking at gender opens up a legitimate question about how you build a strong and stable society. Where are all the women refugees? According to the latest UNHCR figures, 72 per cent of the numbers arriving in western Europe so far in 2015 are men, 15 per cent children and only 13 per cent women. A BBC World Service reporter a few days ago described on air the unease he and female colleagues felt when they tried to interview women refugees, only to be uniformly refused permission by their men.
So where ARE the women refugees? Some men will have planned to establish themselves and then bring families over safely. But talking to lawyers dealing with the influx of young male Afghan migrants here a decade earlier, it seems in many cases families spend money on the people they value most. And that’s not the women.
When we talk of compassion and doing the right thing in these humanitarian crises, perhaps we ignore gender at our peril.'Biased BBC points out, Ms Ahmed is a Muslim and a BBC broadcaster, yet the issues she raises do not appear to have been ventilated on the BBC.
This issue of gender is indeed a core one, but not the only example of the incompatibility of Islam with the essential core values of Western society, the values that make Europe what it is, values that, as this video shows, are scorned and spurned by a worrying part of the Islamic community in Germany.
There are children who justify the Charlie Hebdo murders, unapologetic upholders of male supremacy and the "honour" killings of women, youngsters of both sexes who cling to the Islamic belief that women are inferior to men, the property of their husbands, and obligated to obey the dictates of male family members..
We meet a Christian refugee from Syria who has been threatened by Muslims in the very land in which he sought refuge and who is disgusted by the casual contempt for women shown. And so on.
Non-assimilation and all that it entails. This is the big issue confronting the entire West. To whet your appetite, this post is peppered with screengrabs I've taken from it.
Update: Here's Douglas Murray, speaking in Copenhagen on an aspect of Europe's Big Issue:
And Pat Condell, pointing out that Europe's ghastly bureaucratic elites are utterly failing women (and Jews) with the current Muslim invasion, and declaring that it's time the people of Europe claimed asylum from the EU:
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