If you want to see how far apart the two “sides” are when it comes to the challenge of assimilating Muslim populations in Europe compare Theodore Dalrymple’s “Islam, the Marxism of Our Time,” with “Head count belies vision of ‘Eurabia,’” from the Financial Times.
The FT piece sets out to contradict Bernard Lewis’s claim that Europe will be majority Muslim by the end of the twenty-first century. Lewis, of course, is a very serious fellow, and his comment has been widely quoted. Unfortunately, his claim is neither particularly persuasive, nor does it fairly represent many concerns about Europe’s large, unassimilated Muslim population.
Walter Laqueur’s The Last Days of Europe, for example, focuses on the concentration of Muslim immigrant populations in urban areas, their lack of assimilation, their relative youth, and relative radicalism. All this, combined with Europe’s rapidly aging population, threatens to give radicalized Muslim immigrant populations influence well beyond the weight of numbers alone. It isn’t necessary for Europe to become majority Muslim for there to be a problem. Indeed, there is already a serious problem, as the Paris riots and the various European terror plots show. Already, the FT article concedes, many of Europe’s cultural capitals–Berlin, Paris, Madrid, Turin–are becoming major Muslim enclaves.
FT’s own analysis concedes that Europe’s Muslim population could easily double by 2025. That would pose a huge challenge if Europe’s Muslims remain concentrated, unassimilated, and relatively radicalized. Between now and 2025, Europe will confront a massive and historically unprecedented age wave, and may lack the cultural power to assimilate this already large and growing Muslim population.
And while FT notes that Muslim fertility rates are dropping, new waves of Muslim immigrants may be imported, just to do the physical labor and elder-care that a rapidly ageing Europe can no longer do for itself. Northern European fertility rates are edging up slightly, FT notes, but any effect from that will take years to emerge (if it even persists). In the meantime, Europe’s Muslim population could at least double, while Europeans themselves turn silver.
None of these concerns stand or fall on the question of whether Europe will be majority Muslim by 2099. So for my money, Theodore Dalrymple’s piece is closer to the mark than FT.