Whither Europe?

It’s been a long time since I walked the streets of Europe. Being here again both raises memories and creates contrasts. In one sense things don’t change. Its cities, many over a thousand years old, seem to withstand the tests of time. They seem ageless. Yet even in the 25 years since I last lived here, real differences are plainly noticeable.

The biggest shift seems to be demographic in nature. So much so that a valid question being raised is what is the future of Europe? What will it look like in a few decades? Is it on a path of irreversible change? Immigration is a major source of these changes, and it has made a huge difference in how Europe is developing.

Of course Europe (especially countries like Germany, France, Holland, etc) has had major inflows of migrants prior to the time I was last here. Amsterdam was already known as one of the most multicultural cities in the world some three decades ago. Much of this immigration started big time after the Second World War.

Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and other countries took in gastarbeiters (guestworkers) beginning in the 1950s, and during the next few decades a huge influx of people poured into these nations. Many came from North Africa, the Middle East and the Mediterranean. For example, Turks streamed into Germany and Algerians, Moroccans and other North Africans moved into France and other northern European countries.

They were needed to fill labour-shortages in post-war Europe. Many of these immigrants were Muslims, who reproduced at much higher levels than their European counterparts. Indeed, European fertility rates have taken a nosedive in the past several decades, while Muslim families continue to be relatively large.

So these two factors alone will guarantee that over time some major shifts will occur in Europe. And that is just what has been happening. Of course demography is an inexact science, and we are not even fully sure of the exact number of Muslims in Europe, let alone how many there will be by say, mid-century.

And of course there are many non-Muslims migrating to Europe as well, so the whole picture is somewhat cloudy. But we nonetheless have some general indications as to how things may pan out. A lengthy article by Adrian Michaels published in yesterday’s UK Telegraph seeks to spell out some of the details. He begins his piece with these words:

“Britain and the rest of the European Union are ignoring a demographic time bomb: a recent rush into the EU by migrants, including millions of Muslims, will change the continent beyond recognition over the next two decades, and almost no policy-makers are talking about it. The numbers are startling. Only 3.2 per cent of Spain’s population was foreign-born in 1998. In 2007 it was 13.4 per cent. Europe’s Muslim population has more than doubled in the past 30 years and will have doubled again by 2015. In Brussels, the top seven baby boys’ names recently were Mohamed, Adam, Rayan, Ayoub, Mehdi, Amine and Hamza.”

This will have many important ramifications: “Europe’s low white birth rate, coupled with faster multiplying migrants, will change fundamentally what we take to mean by European culture and society. The altered population mix has far-reaching implications for education, housing, welfare, labour, the arts and everything in between. It could have a critical impact on foreign policy: a study was submitted to the US Air Force on how America’s relationship with Europe might evolve. Yet EU officials admit that these issues are not receiving the attention they deserve.”

Consider the Muslim intake into Europe: “Birth rates can be difficult to predict and migrant numbers can ebb and flow. But Karoly Lorant, a Hungarian economist who wrote a paper for the European Parliament, calculates that Muslims already make up 25 per cent of the population in Marseilles and Rotterdam, 20 per cent in Malmo, 15 per cent in Brussels and Birmingham and 10 per cent in London, Paris and Copenhagen.

“Recent polls have tended to show that the feared radicalisation of Europe’s Muslims has not occurred. That gives hope that the newcomers will integrate successfully. Nonetheless, second and third generations of Muslims show signs of being harder to integrate than their parents. Policy Exchange, a British study group, found that more than 70 per cent of Muslims over 55 felt that they had as much in common with non-Muslims as Muslims. But this fell to 62 per cent of 16-24 year-olds.”

Of course immigration is far from uniform around the globe and throughout history. The millions who poured into America over the past century or two often did so because they liked what America had to offer, and they sought to achieve the American dream. Thus in many ways America really was a successful melting pot, where integration usually occurred naturally and successfully.

But that has often not been the case in Europe. “The population changes are stirring unease on the ground. Europeans often tell pollsters that they have had enough immigration, but politicians largely avoid debate. France banned the wearing of the hijab veil in schools and stopped the wearing of large crosses and the yarmulke too, so making it harder to argue that the law was aimed solely at Muslims. Britain has strengthened its laws on religious hatred. But these are generally isolated pieces of legislation.

“Into the void has stepped a resurgent group of extreme-Right political parties, among them the British National Party, which gained two seats at recent elections to the European Parliament. Geert Wilders, the Dutch politician who speaks against Islam and was banned this year from entering Britain, has led opinion polls in Holland.”

The problem of migrant ghettoes scattered throughout European cities is one illustration of this. Michaels examines some research conducted by the Pew Research Forum on this: “The fact that [extreme parties] have risen to prominence at all speaks poorly about the state and quality of the immigration debate. [Scholars] have argued that European elites have yet to fully grapple with the broader issues of race and identity surrounding Muslims and other groups for fear of being seen as politically incorrect.”

Says Michaels, “The starting point should be greater discussion of integration. Does it matter at all? Yes, claims Mr Vignon at the European Commission. Without it, polarisation and ghettoes can result. ‘It’s bad because it creates antagonism. It antagonises poor people against other poor people: people with low educational attainment feel threatened,’ he says.”

Again, how the changing demographics will influence Europe is not fully clear. Different directions are possible. But change is sure to occur. “Germany started to reform its voting laws 10 years ago, granting certain franchise rights to the large Turkish population. It would be odd if that did not alter the country’s stance on Turkey’s application to join the EU. [One US] study says: ‘Faced with rapidly growing, disenfranchised and increasingly politically empowered Muslim populations within the borders of some of its oldest and strongest allies, the US could be faced with ever stronger challenges to its Middle East foreign policies’.”

That change is occurring and will continue to occur is not being questioned. But just how it will impact on Europe, and what Europe will look like in coming decades is not fully clear. But politicians, policy makers, and others need to think long and hard about what direction the continent is taking, or more precisely, what direction it should be taking.


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24 Replies to “Whither Europe?”

  1. The object of multiculturalism is to weaken the indigenous culture of the host nation, and to create internal division and strife. The European Union, with its totalitarian apparatus already in place, actively pushes the Islamisation of member states, because Islam opposes individual freedom and democracy.
    Michael Watts

  2. In 2006, the British government produced a consultation document, entitled Getting Equal: Proposals to Outlaw Sexual Orientation Discrimination in the Provision of Goods & Services. It was produced by the Women’s Equality Unit that was part of the Department of Trade and Industry.

    Now an even bigger threat comes from the European Union with the EU Equal Treatment Directive – an innocuous sounding document but spiritually, morally, economically, socially and intellectually as destructive as an atomic bomb.

    The document below, produced by Civitas, at the same time as the Sexual Orientation Regulations, in 2006, I believe, goes some way to explaining an industrial process that has yet to deliver its final product – the destruction of Britain. For instance Page 29, Chapter 2, entitled, “Impact on Democracy” describes the four main strategies for gaining and maintaining victim status: highlighting historic grievances; falsely claiming to have been ‘insulted’; widening the definition of the group to increase political clout; and putting factual claims about their status beyond rational contradiction.

    David Skinner, UK

  3. The immigration of Muslims into Europe will raise the level of anti-semitism which of course was there prior to their arrival. Once they acquire political clout in elections, European governments may well appease them by taking less friendly attitudes to Israel. Serious Moslems also despise humanistic, secularistic, atheistic world views which abound in Europe. They will be confronted by thinkers who can efficiently debunk their Koranic pretensions, something they are not used to in their own backyard. The future will be interesting.
    John Snowden

  4. John I am not so confident that humanists, secularists and atheists will efficiently debunk Koranic pretensions. We underestimate the ability of Islamic intellectuals to understand perfectly the way secularist europe thinks and they know precisely how to use “our” thinking as a weapon against ourselves. They see Western civilsation as a fruit, almost ready for the plucking – just a little more ripening.

    David Skinner, UK

  5. I predict that nationalist parties in Australia could start gaining the ascendancy in the near future if something is not done about our intake of Lebanese Muslims and Somalis. An intelligent debate must be implemented if this is to happen.

    Pauline Hanson gained popularity in the 90’s because the Australian people were sick of the patronizing, politically correct elites that thought they knew better than the people they were paid to represent. John Howard brilliantly tapped into the sense of alienation felt by the people and represented a major and not so extreme alternative to One Nation. This made Hanson redundant to an extent.

    But with a labor-lite Liberal opposition at the moment there is no major party to fill such a void. I wonder if another One Nation will soon be resurgent.

    Damien Spillane

  6. Something greater than the Temple is here. Something greater than [… a remnant of Christendom in Europe] is here! Christ is Sovereign in what is happening.

    It was Habakkuk who saw clearly, that the arrival of the Chaldeans, ‘that fierce and impetuous nation’, was by the hand of God – to bring judgment upon those who had ‘missed’ or rejected God’s purposes. While the issues in Bill’s article are complex, and need a nuanced response, there is a principle, which P.T. Forsyth saw: “For civilisation may deserve to collapse, if only because it crucified the Son of God, and crucifies him afresh. But if God spared not His own Son, he will spare no historic convulsion needful for his kingdom”. I guess we better press on with proclaiming that. And who knows—like Ninevah, they might actually believe … once again!

    Trevor Faggotter

  7. I would like to think John Snowden is right, but if anything academics, the press and most of the community are running scared here in Australia, and perhaps in other parts of the world. Witness the trial of the two Dannys in Victoria, at which Christian pastors were found guilty of racial vilification for expressing what they perceived as deficiencies in Islam.
    When was the last time the Koran was subjected to the ridicule reserved for the Bible as occurred in Edinburgh recently?
    Dunstan Hartley

  8. With the withering of the Judeo-Christian tradition within Europe, one is left to wonder whether those countries that have turned their backs onto this tradition are now ripe for the pickings of Islam.
    Human beings have an innate sense of the spiritual, and if that is not being satisfied in any meaningful sense perhaps Islam will provide…..at our peril!
    Gerry Van Hees

  9. Hi John Snowden,

    I’m afraid I don’t share your view that the humanist, secularist and atheistic thinkers will be able to debunk the Koranic world-view:

    “Serious Moslems also despise humanistic, secularistic, atheistic world views which abound in Europe. They will be confronted by thinkers who can efficiently debunk their Koranic pretensions”

    The way I see it is that there are fundamentally only two ways to logically debunk a world-view. One is to show it is internally inconsistent, and the other is to show it is inconsistent with our experiences of the world in which we live.

    In my view, the atheist world-view fails to pass the first test (internal consistency) whilst the Koranic view passes this test, but fails the second (in light of the Bible giving a more historically and experientially verifiable view)

    I am not a philosopher and I only give a sketch of the argument, but from your previous posts I see that you have an interest in philosophy and so I would be interested in your comments on whether you can see errors or omissions in my analysis below.

    Assuming a common tenet of the humanistic, secularist and atheist thinkers is:

    There is no intelligent transcendent creator of the universe

    seems to imply that there can be no transcendent revelation. If this is the case then there is no possible way they can be confident that this tenet is true or any other statement is true or even if there is such a thing as absolute truth.
    Therefore accepting this tenet implies that no statement can be shown to be more true than any other because whatever means of comparison were used would be subject to the same uncertainty. So the atheist world view is self refuting in that it implies choosing any tenet at the outset would have been just as valid – and so no world view (including the atheist one) can be more true than any other.
    I think the post-modernists are therefore perfectly correct to point this out.

    The Christian world-view, however, is internally consistent because our starting point is that there is a transcendent God who has given us revelation through the Bible which tells us that there are such things as absolute truth, morals and meaning and these are knowable.

    Mansel Rogerson

  10. John Snowden, I believe that we are where we are is precisely because of the evolutionary humanist elites. How can that which opened the door to feminism, homosexuality and equivalent multiculturalism (spread of Islam) be able to shut the door? A part of Evolutionary humanist philosophy is based upon probability and chance – in other words exactly the same idea of Islamic fatalism. How can a philosophy based upon “What will be will be, ” Que sera sera , find the necessary moral courage to effect change if it is in fact a philosophy that paralyses all thought and action? One only has take one look at the UN, with its indecision and cowardice,to see what an army based on humanist principles looks like.
    David Skinner, UK

  11. Only the Gospel can withstand Islam. The secularists are useless in this battle.

    But a clear recognition that there is a problem and what that problem is would go some way toward a solution.

    Louise Le Mottee

  12. Over the years I have had the chance to debate religion and faith with Muslims and to be honest their arguments are not so different to that of Christians. The difference really exists within the culture of the people. I have had two people in the past so agitated that they were suggesting physical harm towards me only because I thought their world view made no sense at all. Once you deconstruct their argument their true irrationality comes forward and because you threaten their version of truth they want to remove that threat which means removing you. Quite similar to the ideals held by dictatorships, communism and the like. Islam is more than a faith, it is a controlling doctrine that’s purpose is to assimilate everyone. Questioning it is just not an option. In small groups they claim no harm but we only have to look at any Islamic state to see what happens when they gain full control.
    Ben Green

  13. Mansel, atheism is not a world view. That’s too grand a phrase. It is simply the narrow denial of the existence of any gods. And it does not have to be a well-reasoned denial either for it to be atheism. Atheism is however associated in the minds of some with a world view such as Marxism, Dialectical Materialism, mechanistic Materialism, evolutionary Materialism, Naturalism etc. I don’t see how any of these associations necessarily hobble atheists in any critique. You don’t have to be an atheist genius to pick up factual and logical errors in someone’s beliefs.

    I have just finished “The Lost History of Christianity” by Philip Jenkins which touches on Islam’s borrowings from other religions. I can easily imagine atheists borrowing from this book as easily as they can borrow from, say, the work of liberal Christians critiquing Christian orthodoxy.

    I notice Prometheus Books, an atheist publisher, has recently issued books on Islam. You can be sure that they did not do so to praise it.

    I agree that Materialist world views would have problems of internal consistency. As far as I know no one has ever logically derived a workable moral philosophy from Materialist premises. But inconsistency does not necessarily stop someone from pointing the finger at other people’s inconsistencies. Politicians do it all the time.

    That Jenkin’s book is a beauty. And I thought I had a good knowledge of the history of Christianity!

    John Snowden

  14. Thanks Ben

    In what ways are Muslim arguments similar to those of Christians, other than the obvious (both believe in God, etc.)?

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  15. Hi Bill,

    The creation of everything ie Genisis etc
    The usefulness of pray
    Indoctrinating of young children
    Noah and the flood
    Age of the earth (Muslims will not actually give you a number for this but they expand the meaning of time in Genesis to cover themselves)
    The existence of the supernatural
    Existence of faith based schools
    Faith based vs secular charities and aid organizations

    Trying to think what else?? There were other points but they were more to do with civil liberties, the law and freedom of speech.

    Maybe I should of said topics for argument….
    Ben Green

  16. Thanks Ben

    The three great monotheistic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) have much in common of course, but there are very major differences as well.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  17. Allah is an impersonal being who does not communicate with anyone. The Trinity are in constant communion with one another. We are able to have a personal relationship with our Father in heaven. We dare to call God, our Father. Christian marriage reflects this relationship.

    Islam has appropriated Christianity, only to change it and then ultimately to destroy it.

    David Skinner, UK

  18. Also the low birth rates in Europe (and elsewhere) are underpinned particularly by (usually publicly-funded) abortion on demand, and the West’s use of contraception. These are not an option for most Muslim women, hence the ratios of (live) births are markedly different for European non-Muslims and Muslims.

    Maybe there will come a time when politicians will seriously question Roe v Wade and its consequences for democracy.

    Sacrificing children always has consequences beyond the individual. Society suffers or is cursed for generations.

    Will European nations be able to raise armies to protect themselves from say an aggressor which in all likelihood could be Islamic. Will Muslims in these armies choose to defend their nation, democracy, freedoms, or faith?

    China’s one-child policy has resulted in male children being selected and female children being aborted. This in turn, has resulted in 10s of millions more Chinese males of marriagable age now seeking almost non-existant Chinese female spouses.
    Michael Evans

  19. Thank you David Skinner, for pointing out one of the confirming things about Christianity to me is that the Trinity helps explain how God knows so much about relationships because He is eternally in one. How could a completely singular being understand or create the personal?

    To Ben Green, of course, avoiding mentioning the central part of Christianity, the work of Jesus, can make it look similar to Islam. But it’s really not very close. As far as I’m aware, Christianity is the only belief that says that we a completely helpless to save ourselves before God. All other systems say that you can do something to this end. And I can’t match this with a fair-minded look at the human race and even what I know about my own faults. This alone is more important than any item on your list.

    Mark Rabich

  20. Michael Watts,
    ‘The object of multiculturalism is to weaken the indigenous culture of the host nation’. What exactly is this culture like in the modern, liberal and atheistic Europe. Is it Christian?Jesus is mourning over this new indigenous culture which have developed over decades, without the help of multicuturalism, that have even turned churches into pubs.
    I am very alarmed by the influence of jihadists on the minds of young muslims but is not the spread of Islam and other religions in western societies, the result of the vacuum left by the outright rejection of the Christian faith of their forefathers by western societies. Many aspects of oriental religions and practices ( as of Hinduism, Buddhism) have become part of modern management and lifestyle in the west. If Europe had been faithful to the Saviour,the reverse conversion would have happened and there would be little fear of the demographic changes. Yes, the indigenous faith and culture of the fore fathers of Europe has been weakened by the anti Christian culture of modern Europe. Don’t be too quick to blame others, just like some nations easily blame the USA and Israel for their own problems and troubles which they can’t solve. Repent and turn back to the God and Saviour of the forefathers and of Abraham, Issac and Jacob. It’s not too late.
    Barry Koh

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