Two groups of scientists and writers are interested in showing demographic doom for Europe and other European settled countries: the Muslim haters and the Islamists.
Both are happy to show that some time soon Islam will replace Christianity as the leading religion in Europe; the continent will hence become part of the Islamic world and could be called Eurabia.
"Eurabia is a political neologism. The concept was coined by Bat Ye'or in the early 2000s. Bat Ye'Or (pen name of Gisele Littman) claims a conspiracy of globalist elements, allegedly led by France and Arab powers, to Islamise and Arabise Europe, thereby weakening its existing culture and undermining an alleged previous alignment with the U.S. and Israel". (wikipedia)
An example of this kind of material is the video “Muslim Demographics” produced by an Islamist video production which calls itself “Syariah Khilafah“, Malay for “Sharia Caliphate”. The video is very popular and has allegedly been viewed more than ten million times.*)
The impressive statistics with which it bombards the audience appear related to a few assumptions:
Muslims always show a higher fertility than Christians living in the same country or region
Because of their high fertility Muslims suffer from population pressure and poverty, and are forced to migrate to non-Muslim countries
Their Sharia law facilitates polygyny which permits men to have many children
Christian fertility is continuously declining because Christian women increasingly enter the work force instead of staying at home and rearing children, as most Muslim women do.
Muslims are pious and once they attain the population majority, they will force Christians to adopt their life style.
Before looking at individual country statistics it is useful to discuss the above assumptions:
It is true that Muslims virtually always show higher fertility than Christians in the same country and at the same time. Their male preference-dominated culture makes it difficult and often impossible for women to enter the work force and acquire the necessary education and skills. Raising children – especially sons -- therefore often becomes their main lifetime activity. Still, the recent "collapse of fertility rates in Muslim countries is a derivative of modernization and Westernization, rapid urbanization and internal security concerns by dictators fearing the consequences of the widening gap between population growth and economic growth."
By excluding a majority of women from gainful employment and activity, Muslim societies remain relatively poor, unless some external advantage (crude oil, tourism) yields a rental income. Because of poverty, low levels of education (many Muslimas in the world are near-illiterate), Muslim societies find it difficult to support growing populations; hence the need for the young to migrate.
True. Many Muslim men have more children from polygyny or sequential marriages. Although this is often conducive to poverty and low levels of education it does not increase overall fertility. Polygamous societies tend to have a lower total fertility rate than monogamous ones because they show less children per woman.
There are signs that the fertility decline in European countries has bottomed out. Both Italy and Germany are showing timid signs of increasing birth rates. Generally speaking, extrapolations of birth rate trends are highly unreliable. Even the UN Population Division was repeatedly forced to revise its forecasts,
This assumption is, despite Houellebecq, very debatable. What is going on is a trial of strength, On one side there is the traditionalism of Islam, enormously reinforced by the Saudi and Qatari financed spread of Wahhabism, Salafism and Jihadism. On the other side there is the constant erosion of any religion by the forces of modern secularism, humanism, science and education. Who is going to win? Mohamed bin Abdul Wahhab or Albert Einstein? Despite the enormous spread of Salafism since the invention of Islamism by Hassan El-Banna in 1928, the contest is still wide open. Some observers consider the current “Caliphate” in Raqqa and Mosul the last, desperate and suicidal effort of Salafism.
Having said this, let us look at the facts.
The video claims that 90 percent of Europe's population growth since 1990 was due to Islamic immigration. The 2015 (January-October) figures show that roughly 972,000 asylum seekers in the European Union arrived by sea. With the exception of some Christian Eritreans and Syrians, all were Muslims. Since the population of the EU28 grew by 1.1 million (natural growth + net migration) between 2014 and 2015, it is correct to say that in 2015 about 90 percent of Europe's population growth consisted of Muslims.
Since 1995, most of Europe's population growth consisted of net migration. By 2010, the EU's Muslim population was estimated at 18 million. Net immigration in 2010 was 750,000. In 2013, of the total of 870,000 people who received citizenship in the EU, only about 250,000 hailed from Muslim countries.
Although it is difficult to get reliable figures for the religious breakdown of EU immigration, the emerging picture is as follows:
2015 was an exceptional year in which Muslims indeed accounted for 90 percent of EU population growth. In earlier years the share was much lower. Although the statement made in the video appears exaggerated it cannot be excluded that in future the influx of Muslims could be very high if immigration continues at 2015 levels .
Let us look at country data
The video says that a typical French family has 1.8 children but that French Muslim families have 8.1 children. France will become an Islamic Republic within 39 years, according to the video.
But in France only 7.5 percent of a growing population (2010) were Muslims – mostly from North Africa whose fertility was estimated at 2.2 (not the grossly outdated 8.1) children or less per family (2011). Given the observation that the fertility of Muslim minority populations worldwide is currently decreasing faster than that of majority groups, there is little prospect that France will become an Islamic Republic during the course of this century unless huge waves of migrants play havoc with traditional demographics.
According to the video, Germany “will be a Muslim state by the year 2050." Currently, the number of Muslims – including the 2015 arrivals – is roughly 4.8 million of a total of 82 million, or 6 percent. PEW Research put the Total Fertility Rate of German Muslims for 2005-2010 at 1.8 children, higher than the 1.3 TFR of the non-Muslim population but below stability level which requires 2.1 children. Without immigration, the number of Muslims in Germany would shrink, although their share of the total population would continue to rise. Since 2014, however, the overall German TFR started rising, although with small increments. It appears that the declining trend of the German population has ended. Still. a projection expects Germany's population to shrink to 74 million (medium variant) in 2050, a loss of 8 million since 2015.
For Muslims to attain the majority, their minority would have to rise from the current estimated 4.8 million to 38 million. Since the existing Muslim minority is shrinking rather than growing, all depends on immigration and the TFR of immigrants once they arrive in Germany.
Judging by the events of 2015, it does not appear likely that over the next 35 years some 40 million more Muslims would be living in Germany – assuming that the below-reproduction TFR of the local Muslims would balance the initially higher TFR of the immigrants.
In conclusion: it is not likely that Muslims could attain the majority status in Germany by 2050 but it cannot be excluded because the enormous population pressure in Islamic countries resulting from runaway past growth and conflicts will send large numbers of mostly young migrants to Europe, year after year.
Although not totally wrong in its conclusions, the video is clearly biased and operates with outdated and partly false figures. It constitutes another attempt to bolster the myth of the inevitable victory of Islam over the western world. This myth cannot easily be debunked. It has a life of its own, independent of demographic facts.
The video is clearly aimed at the Muslim population. It shall reinforce the belief that the victory of Islam is imminent and unavoidable. People who are pious and believe in the myth can more easily be motivated to support terrorism and warfare against western countries. Anecdotal evidence shows that many Muslims believe in religious victory, all the more since the well financed Wahhabis and Salafis are omnipresent in the Internet and have multiplied their mosques and medresses to the extent that are eclipsing traditional teachings. Many young Muslims may not even be aware that other rules and fatwas than the Wahhabi ones exist. The video discussed here is part of the radicalist brainwashing. It also serves the secondary purpose of scaring non-Muslim Europeans and strengthening anti-Muslim feelings which isolate Muslim minorities and makes them susceptible to radical ideas.
Interestingly, other videos from the same source purport to show a united Umma as if the Sunna/Shia split did not exist, perhaps because their production predates the current state of affairs.
Heinrich von Loesch
- *) A slightly different version of this video on Youtube is signed friendofmuslim.