Magazine | February 23, 2009, Issue

The Children’s Crusade

The other day I found myself wondering when the conversion rate would become an avalanche. To Islam, I mean. If you’ve been following recent developments in the Netherlands, you’ll know that Geert Wilders, a member of the Dutch parliament, is to be put on trial for offending Muslims. “Look at what you’re doing,” the sardonic Brit Pat Condell pointed out. “You’re prosecuting a man who is under 24-hour protection from attack by violent Muslims. Yet he’s the criminal for expressing an opinion.”

Quite. But, while Europe has a high degree of tolerance for intolerant imams, it won’t tolerate anyone pointing out that intolerance. It is not necessary for Minheer Wilders to be either jailed or forced into exile to conclude that the Netherlands, like many of its neighbors, has already conceded the key point — that Muslims now have the exclusive right to set the parameters of public debate on Islam. And, given that they don’t regard it as debatable at all, that means the relentless Islamization of Europe will continue and accelerate while the deWildered political establishment stands mute.

When I talk like that, I’m assumed to be nuts — or, to use the preferred term, “alarmist” (The Economist et al.). Brian Barrington, a Dublin blogger, recently concluded a review of my book America Alone by asking: “Is Mark Steyn a scaremongering fool indulging in Islamophobic fantasies? . . . Answer: yes he is.”

Here’s a 2008 headline from Le Figaro re demographic trends in Brussels: “La capitale européenne sera musulmane dans vingt ans”

For those who haven’t taken up President Obama’s urgings to learn another language, that’s French for “Nothing to see here, folks.”

Now here’s a 2009 headline from the Times of London: “Muslim Population ‘Rising 10 Times Faster than Rest of Society’”

A little bit harder for that one to get lost in translation. According to the United Kingdom’s Office of National Statistics, the greatest number of “Christians” (whatever that means in a contemporary Anglican context) is to be found among the over-70s, and the largest number of Muslims is in the cohort aged four and under. Which is Britain’s past and which Britain’s future? No need to ask a “scaremongering fool.” In a land where the head of state is also Supreme Governor of the established church, a quarter of all public elementary schools are what are known as “Church of England schools.” In practice, they cannot teach Christianity because many of them, especially in the inner cities, are now overwhelmingly Muslim. In two C-of-E schools, every single pupil is Muslim. At others, the retreating Christian community can still muster up to 1 percent of the enrollment. In Bradford, the church is building a new school for what will be an entirely Muslim student body.

“Demographics change,” says the Venerable Peter Ballard, Archdeacon of Lancaster. “There was certainly a Christian population there at one time and, who knows, 20 years from now the Christians might be back.”

Not in 20 years. According to official statistics, of “white British Christian” households 16 percent have two or more dependent children; among the U.K.’s “Pakistani Muslim” households, the figure is 50 percent; “Bangladeshi Muslims,” 58 percent. The British government’s “sustainable development chair” (whatever that is), Jonathon Porritt, has just announced that he thinks parents are being “environmentally irresponsible” if they have more than two children.

#page# That 16 percent will listen to the sustainable chair. The 58 percent will fill the void.

So Britain and Europe are becoming more Muslim. The only question is how much more, how fast. And in that respect I think the only thing I got wrong in America Alone is that I was insufficiently “alarmist.” I’ll bet the capitale européenne sera musulmane a lot sooner than 20 years from now.

Islam is not a race: As the Times reported, “Experts said that the increase was attributable to immigration, a higher birthrate and conversions to Islam.” That last category is the next stage. Like many readers, I’ve been enjoying Robert Ferrigno’s Prayers for the Assassin trilogy, set in an Islamic Republic of America a decade or three hence, while being just a wee bit skeptical about the premise — that a nuclear catastrophe would prompt millions of Americans to convert to Islam. But in Europe? There’s no need for nukes, just the quiet, remorseless daily reality.

In the next few years, Brussels, Antwerp, Amsterdam, Rotterdam will become majority Muslim. Let’s say you work in an office in those cities: One day they install a Muslim prayer room, and a few folks head off at the designated time, while the rest of you get on with what passes for work in the EU. A couple of years go by, and it’s now a few more folks scooting off to the prayer room. Then it’s a majority. And the ones who don’t are beginning to feel a bit awkward about being left behind.

What do you do? The future showed up a lot sooner than you thought. If you were a fundamentalist Christian like those wackjob Yanks, signing on to Islam might (pace Mr. Ferrigno) cause you some discomfort. But if you’re the average post-Christian Eurosecularist, what’s the big deal? Who wants to be the last guy sitting in the office sharpening his pencil during morning prayers?

Funny how quickly it all happened. There was the woman on reception, but she retired. And the guy in personnel who used to say, sotto voce, that Geert Wilders had a point. But he emigrated the year after Wilders did.

Mark Steyn — Mark Steyn is an international bestselling author, a Top 41 recording artist, and a leading Canadian human-rights activist.

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