Are the Muslims taking over Europe? Plenty of commentators seem to think so. But are they right?
This book argues that the alarmists are wrong. It does this by a dispassionate examination of the facts.
The first of these is demographic. Some fantastic claims have been bandied around but without being based on sound foundations. Various studies show that the Muslim birthrate is falling in Europe and by 2050 expected size of Muslim populations in EU countries is not likely to exceed 10 per cent - or 15 per cent at the very most, in countries with very low birthrates like Austria and Sweden.
This reflects global trends. Birth rates in Muslim countries are falling as living standards rise. Iran's birthrate is lower than France's and the United Kingdom's (and Iranians are ignoring the desperate exhortations of their rulers to breed more). Wherever living standards rise, birth rates fall and Muslim countries provide no exception to this rule (high birth rates correlate with poverty and income, not faith).
Although Muslim migrants to the west initially are more fertile, this tails off. The children of the first generation have fewer children (indeed the assumption that the children of immigrants think and behave like their parents is false). For instance, in 1970 Turkish migrants had 4.4 children per woman, while indigenous Germans had 2 per woman. Today Turkish migrants have 2.2 and indigenous Germans 1.3 but Turkish fertility rates continue to decline and are expected to fall below the replacement rate for industrialized countries (2.1). Similar convergences can be plotted elsewhere in Europe. For the fantastically high projections of Muslim growth to be true (i.e one You Tube video claims that Germany will be a Muslim majority state by 2050), European Muslims would have to have fertility rates higher than Niger, the country with the highest birthrate in the world (7.52).
In addition, Muslim inward migration is tailing off. And the numbers of Muslims as a percentage of migrants to Europe is small (13 per cent in Spain, 15 per cent in Germany although France has a much higher rate, 68.5 per cent, in part because many of them were already French citizens when Algerian and Tunisia were French colonies). The so-called Arab Spring has not produced a surge of Muslim migration to Europe.
The author also challenges the contention that atheism has enfeebled Europe's reproductive vigour. EU countries with the highest religious observance such as Poland, Slovakia and Portugal, have lower birthrates. But Muslim migrants do not flock to these countries but the ones with higher birthrates (and more secular) like Germany, France and Britain (and where economic growth is higher). Further data are presented to challenge the view that Muslims are refusing to integrate on account of their faith - poll data show that Muslims are more likely to vote and declare loyalty to their state of residence - 77 per cent of UK Muslims state that they identify `very strongly' or `extremely strongly' with their country, as opposed to only 50 per cent of Britons generally.
Poll data also indicate that support for terrorism among Muslim migrants in the west and among Muslims generally is marginal. You might be tempted to take such poll data with a pinch of salt but the decline of Muslim support for extremist organizations is well-attested by other works such as Scott Atran and Jason Burke. Like the members of political extremists of the 1970s, such as the Red Army Faction and other splinter left-wing terrorist groups, committed Muslim ideologues are atypical examples of the demographics from which they are drawn - i.e. the violently politically engaged tend to be better educated and from more affluent backgrounds while the mass of people from which they are drawn are apolitical. This is a familiar pattern from history.
Finally the author reminds us that we have been here before. During the 1950s in the US, many commentators fretted about the perils of Catholic immigration in comparable language that proponents of Eurabia use today. But such anxieties vanished overnight with the election of a Catholic president in 1960.
While the issue of Muslim integration in Europe - indeed the issue of all immigrants' integration - presents thorny questions about citizenship and entitlement, what this book shows is that the alarmist predictions based on supposed genetic explanations of Muslim behaviour are poorly rooted in evidence. The idea for example that Islam commands its followers to breed like rabbits is a genetic theory of human behaviour and it is false. It's the same fallacy as the now discredited belief that Catholics must breed like rabbits because the Pope forbids contraception and abortion. Muslims and Catholics adjust their behaviour according to circumstances, like everyone else. This book is a sober contribution to what should be a rational debate.
on 18 June 2013
It is the Muslim faith brought with them, that is the real threat to the West, and the world as a whole, not the Muslim person, who should be viewed as a fellow human, and not as an enemy. Distinguishing between these two differences is vital for true comprehension, as books like this abound in scaremongering mis-information that can so easily be misinterpreted, that could place the emphasis of hate on the person, and not the faith of the person,(Islam)which is the real danger to mankind.