What is the one true religion when it comes to welcoming immigrants?

In “Pope Francis Suggests Donald Trump Is ‘Not Christian’” we learn that a man riding the “papal airliner” (perhaps a Boeing 777; source) back to his walled immigrant-free sovereign territory equates “Christian” with “welcoming immigrants.”

This raises the question of which religion can claim the high ground when it comes to welcoming migrants. Arabs are legendary for hospitality, but perhaps that tradition predates Islam? And how can we explain the fact that few migrants have been welcomed by Arab countries? (During an early 1990s visit to Egypt I learned that an immigrant family can expect to wait a minimum of 125 years before any member is granted Egyptian citizenship.)

What about Buddhism? Hinduism? Other religions with a lot of adherents?

Finally, when can we expect the papal airliner to land in Kabul to pick up a full load of Afghanis so that they can begin their new life within the Vatican? (Wikipedia says that 550 can be welcomed on each flight.)


  1. Uuta

    February 19, 2016 @ 8:08 am


    This journalist is crazy. It doesn’t take 125 years to get citizenship in Egypt. And if you could see how the population here surged after 2013 with immigrants from Syria and Libya, then you would acknowledge that Egypt — and Jordan, etc — have taken in an amazing amount of immigrants from these war torn countries. You ought to be ashamed of yourself.

    But of course, you don’t have eyes to see with, only ears to hear with — from terrorists, most likely. And you don’t even know it.

  2. Ed

    February 19, 2016 @ 11:02 am


    Egypt is absurdly overpopulated, and if any country has a reason to not take any more immigrants, they do.

    The lack of a “path to citizenship” is more of a problem with the Arabian peninsula, where they do have lots of “guest workers” that in many cases are hard to distinguish from slaves.

  3. philg

    February 19, 2016 @ 11:36 am


    Uuta: I think that I was wrong about the 125 year number (or perhaps the law has changed). Citizenship Law in Africa: A Comparative Study, page 90, says “Refugees and their children do not qualify for Egyptian citizenship, regardless of the length of their residence in the country. … the Egyptian government treats the status of refugees as temporary, allowing only two solutions: repatriation or resettlement in a third country. … Moreover, the 2004 reforms allowing men married to Egyptian women and their children also to obtain nationality do not apply to those born of Palestinian fathers and Egyptian mothers…”

    See https://books.google.com/books?id=xKhONykaQKYC&pg=PA90&lpg=PA90

  4. philg

    February 19, 2016 @ 11:39 am


    Ed: Egypt is overpopulated? http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/EN.POP.DNST?page=2 says that they have 75 people per square km. Germany is at 236. Bangladesh is at 1098.

  5. SuperMike

    February 19, 2016 @ 11:44 am


    Native North Americans, right?

  6. John

    February 19, 2016 @ 4:24 pm


    philg: Egypt could very well be overpopulated, if one divides the population by the sq km of actual usable land.

    From the CIA World Factbook, the populations of Germany & Egypt are almost the same. Egypt’s (actual) land is about 3x that of Germany’s, yet the difference in usable (agricultural) land is significant.

    GER population: 80.9M, actual land: 349K sqkm, agri. land: 48%
    EGY population: 88.5M, actual land: 996K sqkm, agri. land: 3.6%

    Egypt has 36K sqkm of useful land; the rest is wasteland.
    Germany has 168K sqkm of useful land; the rest is probably mountains.
    But they have about the same population.

    If one considers the population to be centered/dependent on agricultural land, the modified population density is considerably in Egypt’s favor:
    GER: 349Ksqkm * 48% agri. = 168Ksqkm; 80.9M / 168K = 481 people/sqkm
    EGY: 996Ksqkm * 3.6% agri. = 36Ksqkm; 88.5M / 36K = 2449 people/sqkm

  7. ianf

    February 19, 2016 @ 6:01 pm


    @ John, your statistical modified population density model is closer to the truth, but would probably also need to account for (i.e. discount) the aggregated non-agricultural urban centra. But even then it’d come out in Egypt’s disfavor.

  8. bobbybobbob

    February 19, 2016 @ 9:58 pm


    The USA is overpopulated. Sober analysis puts long run sustainable population down towards 175 million. We’re rapidly running down aquifers, top-soil, nat-gas, and oil. This whole “Malthus was a stupid head” techno-optimism thing could end very badly within our lifetimes.

  9. Expulsion Boi

    February 19, 2016 @ 11:40 pm


    “During an early 1990s visit to Egypt I learned that an immigrant family can expect to wait a minimum of 125 years before any member is granted Egyptian citizenship.)”

    This raises a question. If you have an offspring of an immigrant you want to expel because they are non-citizens, where do you expel them to? No other country will normally consider them to be citizens, right? (other than perhaps France?) Or is that done more on the basis of voting rights and public benefits?

    P.S. Check out this vid from the helicopter crash at Pearl Harbor yesterday: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0sTTGlqZDx0

  10. michiel

    February 20, 2016 @ 4:52 am


    I think phil was asking for an answer he already knew, but right now Turkey (mostly-Muslim) and Lebanon (muslim by a slight majority) are absorbing an order of magnitude more Syrian refugees than any other country, with Lebanon having by far the most refugees per capita.

    I think the top three of refugee-absorbing countries world-wide are Turkey, Lebanon and Pakistan, not necessarily in that order.

    Muslim countries may be more hospitable for cultural reasons. Or maybe they simply have the misfortune of sharing borders with countries that the rest of the world wants to Bomb.

  11. Supermike

    February 21, 2016 @ 1:59 am


    Surely Israel has taken in the most immigrants per capita since its establishment.

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