You may have seen the video on YouTube describing the decreasing European population and the statistics showing that Germany will be a Muslim state by the year 2050. It’s scenario playing in other countries too. In short, Islam is taking over western Europe.
While many call into question the exact statistics in this video, the purpose of it is to make Christians aware of the rise of Islam in the world, according to Corban professor Paul Johnson.
“The issues that the video shows are accurate and compelling whether or not the statistics are valid,” he said.
According to the video posted by “friendofmuslim” on YouTube, a population must have a birth rate of 2.1 children per family for it to remain stable for 25 years. In 2007, the major European nations were falling quite short of this mark, with England at 1.6 children per family, France 1.8, Greece 1.3, and Germany 1.3.
Spain had the lowest fertility rate of 1.1, while the estimated fertility rate of the combined European Union was 1.38. With these low numbers of population growth, why have the European nations not experienced more shocking results of a shrinking culture?
Statistics show that immigration from Eastern countries is the primary reason Europe’s population is holding steady. While European families have few children, the Muslim average is in most cases triple that of the European fertility rate, according to the Brookings Institution.
With the growing number of Muslims immigrating to these European countries, the culture clash – and threat of religious extremism and violence –that has haunted Europeans for centuries may be at their doorsteps. When the French leader Charles Martel defeated the Islamic forces from Spain at the Battle of Tours in 732, the battle dramatically halted the spread of Muslims in Christendom. However, Islam has been making significant strides since then, not through violence, but through migration and expansion of the family.
There was a time when Europe needed immigrants. At the end of World War II, Turkish immigrants in southern Germany greatly aided the recovery of the German economy by providing labor forces. Now, the two culture are still clashing; Turkish immigrants are in fact a major cause of crime in Germany, and Muslims face many bans that suppress their religious practices. For example, schools in Germany have banned female teachers who are Muslim from wearing the burqa in the public sector. And in France, authorities placed a ban on praying in the streets of Paris for Muslims whose mosques were overcrowded.
Despite these conflicts, the irreversible population decline leaves European countries with no choice but to attempt to integrate the ever-expanding Muslim population. France’s 6.5 million Muslims have been making their presence known, as demonstrated by disruptive and controversial prayers in the streets of Paris.
France is feeling the political weight of Muslims too, who now have their own council (French Council of the Islamic Faith) and two cabinet members from North Africa in Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin’s cabinet, according to the Brookings Institution. This Islamic political presence in France may indeed be responsible for the country’s hesitant support of Israel, whereas Israel claims America’s full-fledged support.
And what of the rest of Europe? While theorists speculate on the exact timing or danger that Islam poses to the continent and to its people, one cannot forget the current moral state of Europe. The rampant secularism affects not just European youth, but Islamic youth as well. Islamic leaders, such as Muammar Gaddafi may have wanted to make European nations into Islamic republics, but this is not likely to happen when Muslims integrate and accept the corrupt and spiritually dry aspects of Western culture.
“In Europe, when they begin to speak the popular language, you’ll see the second or third generation immigrants more inclined to adopt the predominant culture and values than their parents,” said Johnson.
While Europe’s secular culture and materialism may deter some Muslims from thoughts of jihad and violence, the reverse is also true. Maybe the simple, peaceful and faithful side of Islam will rub off on Europeans, but more than that, Johnson sees the demographic changes in Europe as a part of God’s design.
“The Lord may be moving Muslims into non-Muslim areas to be reached by the Gospel,” said Johnson, who thinks that God is “displacing people all over the world to respond to Christianity.”
At least the presence of another religion so prominent in the minds of Europeans may call into question their current complacency, introducing the possibility of effective heart changes, according to Johnson.
“I think it could make the mainline population more interested in returning to the Christian faith. They could be driven to try to discover the roots of their Christian heritage,” he said. “I could see a people threatened by an ethnic and religious group returning to a more zealous faith…there could be a Counter-Reformation or a type of similar reaction.
While many Christians regard the situation in Europe as bleak with regards to the Gospel, Johnson thinks that it is nothing but hopeful. “There are more opportunities today than ever before to reach people from an Islamic or other background.”