I've taken an interest in Ivory Coast since I did a project there for the African Development Bank (ADB) about ten years ago. This wasn’t a bad country at all, brilliant by African standards, prosperous, and, I was told, home to the continent’s largest cathedral. Mind you, one evening when a colleague and I started to go for a stroll outside our pleasant hotel in Abidjan, a local lady crossed the road, advising to immediately return to the hotel for our own safety. That was genuinely nice of her, and much appreciated. Coming from a long line of cowards, I took her advice.
At that time the country was going through a bit of an economic miracle with a nascent financial services industry based around the ADB and rapid growth in their export-oriented plantations (I forget what they were growing). The latter was supported by cheap Muslim labourers from neighbouring Islamic states such as Mali and Burkino Fasso.
For a while the Christians, animists and Muslims got along famously. But then something very strange happened. The Muslims seemed to be bringing in, over time, all their extended families and friends. In very large numbers. Within about twenty years Muslims numbered about 40% of the population. Isn't that amazing?
And then something else amazing happened. Totally unprovoked – totally – Islamophobia (shudder) started to break out. Just like that. It seems the non-Muslims felt that the Muslims, with whom they’d been enthusiastically celebrating diversity not that long ago, were now taking over the place, demanding all sorts of ‘rights’, taking offence at what was previously perfectly acceptable, and most alarming of all, demanding that the immigrants, about four million of them, be granted citizenship. Which would give them a virtual overnight ‘democratic’ majority in the country.
Oh dear! This wasn’t at all what they had in mind when inviting in the original ‘guest workers’. But the Muzzies now had their tails up and were not for turning. Predictably, by 2004, a vicious civil erupted, which has continued unabated, in one form or another, ever since. The country is now in ruins. Inter-ethnic strife and massacres are the order of the day and the economy has collapsed. And incidentally the ADB has fled. In this case from the frying pan to the fire, relocating for safety to – wait for it - Tunis!
So, a prosperous relatively peaceable African country brings in large numbers of Muslim guest workers, whose numbers increase dramatically and rapidly, resulting in civil war and national ruin.
Just as well we wouldn’t do such a stupid thing in the West, isn’t it?