Ralf wrote a thoughtful post where he states that Anglosphere claims of a future domination in Europe by Muslims is simply not supported by any evidence. In fact he thinks that it’s nothing but nonsense. The numbers of non-Muslims are so great that there’s no chance they will be overwhelmed, and a glance at German population statistics bears this out.
In other words, people under 20 in this country alone outnumber the 15 million Muslims (and that’s the very high end of the estimate) in all of Europe, of all ages, by a considerable margin. Immigrants’ birthrates in the first generation are higher than the ‘native’ birthrate, but the difference narrows by the second, and disappears by the third generation.
Ralf doesn’t link to any sources which back up his claims on the total number of Muslims in Europe, or that the birth rate of Muslim immigrants decline by the 3rd generation. That doesn’t surprise me, but only because there seems to be some disagreement as to the numbers involved and sources are hard to come by.
This page at The Islam Project states that there are “35 to 50 million Muslims” which lived in Western Europe in 2000, numbers which are significantly higher than what Ralf asserts to be the “very high end of the estimate”. The figures found at IP should be taken with a grain of salt for two reasons, though. The first is that they themselves admit that “no reliable statistics are available”. The second is that IP is devoted to promoting Islam in a positive light, so they have a strong incentive to inflate the numbers.
Daniel Pipes wrote an article where he asserted that “5% of the E.U., or nearly 20 million persons” identified themselves as Muslim. He didn’t link to any source for his numbers either, but he did link to this article which discusses Europe’s declining population.
An article at The Times Online places the number of European Muslims at 13 million. Where did they get that number? The author doesn’t say.
An op-ed which originally appeared on the United Press International wire also states that Europe has no more than 13 million Muslims, but that they comprise 10% of France’s population.
And so it goes, on and on. No hard data, the numbers cited are conflicting, and it’s extremely difficult to separate an example of biased agenda-driven reports from thoughtful analysis. The problem is made worse by the fact that professional journalism rewards those who publish alarmist fare while ignoring boring articles that claim there’s really nothing much going on. The bottom line is that the claims of an Islam dominated Europe might be hogwash, but so might the claims that there’s no problem at all.
I notice two glaring blind spots in Ralf’s post.
The first is the assumption that Muslims are only created through childbirth. Islam aggressively recruits, and the number of European Musilms appears to be growing while the number of Christians seems to be shrinking. (This presupposes that a citizen will be one or the other instead of being neither, of course, so it isn’t wholly compelling to me.)
The other problem with his argument is that he seems to be ignoring the fact that France has real potential crises. 10% of the population is simply too large a segment to ignore, and there’s no reason to think that the numbers won’t continue to grow.
Most of the democratic governments in Europe are based on the parliamentary system. A party that controls about 35% of the vote can muster enough support to defeat their opponents. We already know that 10% of France’s population is Muslim. Is there a chance that it could approach 35%? If so, how long is it going to be before it reaches that number? Even if the rest of Europe manages to marginalize or assimilate their Islamic citizens, a nuclear armed France with a ruling government formed from a fundamental Islamic political party isn’t a reassuring picture to contemplate.
But so far no major political party has emerged in France that claims to speak for the Muslims. Why this is so is beyond me, but I’m sure there are reasons. It’s not clear that it will never happen because it hasn’t yet, though.
It’s important to define your own position when discussing a contentious subject such as this one. I’ve never said that we will see a Europe with an Islamic majority, but I’ve always maintained that the numbers of muttering malcontents presently there are large enough to become a very serious problem unless they are assimilated into the general population. That, I think, is a perfectly reasonable viewpoint.
But, of course, I could be wrong.