‘Europe becomes more and more a province of Islam, a colony of Islam.” So declares Oriana Fallaci in her new book, “La Forza della Ragione,” or, “The Force of Reason.” And the famed Italian journalist is right: Christianity’s ancient stronghold of Europe is rapidly giving way to Islam. Two factors mainly contribute to this world-shaking development.
• The hollowing out of Christianity. Europe is increasingly a post-Christian society, one with a diminishing connection to its tradition and its historic values. The numbers of believing, observant Christians has collapsed in the past two generations to the point that some observers call it the “new dark continent.” Already, analysts estimate Britain’s mosques host more worshippers each week than does the Church of England.
• An anemic birth rate. Indigenous Europeans are dying out. Sustaining a population requires each woman on average to bear 2.1 children; in the European Union, the overall rate is one-third short, at 1.5 a woman, and falling. One study finds that, should current population trends continue and immigration cease, today’s population of 375 million could decline to 275 million by 2075.To keep its working population even, the E.U. needs 1.6 million immigrants a year; to sustain the present workers-to-retirees ratio requires an astonishing 13.5 million immigrants annually.
Into the void are coming Islam and Muslims. As Christianity falters, Islam is robust, assertive, and ambitious. As Europeans underreproduce at advanced ages, Muslims do so in large numbers while young.
Some 5% of the E.U., or nearly 20 million persons, presently identify themselves as Muslims; should current trends continue, that number will reach 10% by 2020. If non-Muslims flee the new Islamic order, as seems likely, the continent could be majority-Muslim within decades.
When that happens, grand cathedrals will appear as vestiges of a prior civilization — at least until a Saudistyle regime transforms them into mosques or a Taliban-like regime blows them up. The great national cultures — Italian, French, English, and others — will likely wither, replaced by a new transnational Muslim identity that merges North African, Turkish, subcontinental, and other elements. This prediction is hardly new. In 1968, the British politician Enoch Powell gave his famed “rivers of blood” speech in which he warned that in allowing excessive immigration, the United Kingdom was “heaping up its own funeral pyre.” (Those words stalled a hitherto promising career.) In 1973, the French writer Jean Raspail published “Camp of the Saints,” a novel that portrays Europe falling to massive, uncontrolled immigration from the Indian subcontinent. The peaceable transformation of a region from one major civilization to another, now under way, has no precedent in human history, making it easy to ignore such voices.
There is still a chance for the transformation not to play itself out, but the prospects diminish with time. Here are several possible ways it might be stopped:
• Changes in Europe that lead to a resurgence of Christian faith, an increase in childbearing, or the cultural assimilation of immigrants; such developments can theoretically occur but what would cause them is hard to imagine.
• Muslim modernization. For reasons no one has quite figured out (education of women? abortion on demand? adults too self-absorbed to have children?), modernity leads to a drastic reduction in the birth rate. Also, were the Muslim world to modernize, the attraction of moving to Europe would diminish.
• Immigration from other sources. Latin Americans, being Christian, would more or less permit Europe to keep its historic identity. Hindus and Chinese would increase the diversity of cultures, making it less likely that Islam would dominate.
Current trends suggest Islamization will happen, for Europeans seem to find it too strenuous to have children, stop illegal immigration, or even diversify their sources of immigrants. Instead, they prefer to settle unhappily into civilizational senility.
Europe has simultaneously reached unprecedented heights of prosperity and peacefulness and shown a unique inability to sustain itself. One demographer, Wolfgang Lutz, notes, “Negative momentum has not been experienced on a large scale in world history.” Is it inevitable that the most brilliantly successful society also will be the first in danger of collapse due to a lack of cultural confidence and offspring? Ironically, creating a hugely desirable place to live would seem also to be a recipe for suicide. The human comedy continues.
Mr. Pipes (www.DanielPipes.org) is director of the Middle East Forum and author of “Miniatures” (Transaction). This article was published in the New York Sun on March 11, 2004.
In defiance of demographic fatalism, Israel's demographic momentum has been Jewish. Since 1882 (the launching of annual Aliya), the Jewish population between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean has grown 238 fold, while the Arab population increased only 6 fold. Since 1948, the Jewish population increased almost 10 fold and the Arab population expanded 3 fold.
In sharp contrast to conventional wisdom, the UN Population Division reports a sharp decline of fertility rate (number of births per woman) in Muslim and Arab countries, except in Afghanistan and Yemen. The myth of "doubling Muslim population every 20 years" has been shattered against the rocks of modernity and reality.
R.P.BenDedek is from Brisbane Australia and is the author of 'The King's Calendar: The Secret of Qumran' at http://www.kingscalendar.com His academic articles set forth Apologetics for and results of his discovery of an "artificial chronological scheme" running through the Bible, Josephus, the Damascus Documents of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and Seder Olam Rabbah.
He writes photographic 'Stories from China' and social editorial commentaries, both at KingsCalendar, and as a contributing newspaper columnist. He currently teaches Conversational English in China and in addition to his English Lessons at KingsCalendar, he has created specific sites for Students of English.