Euro Muslims.

Ten years ago, almost to the day, Ross Douthat made the following observations.[1] Then, about 4 percent of the population of Europe was Muslim.[2] This seemed likely to change. Demographers projected that the low and falling birthrate among Christian Europeans would reduce the European population from 728 million people to about 630 million by 2050. Moreover, it will be an aged population dependent upon young workers from somewhere else to finance their pensions and medical care. Already about 900,000 immigrants entered Europe each year. This was about enough to off-set native European population decline and to keep the population at about the 1995 level. However, in 2000 a UN study projected that the countries of the European Union will require over 13 million immigrant workers EACH YEAR to preserve the 1995 ratio of workers to retirees. Thus Europeans may be compelled to organize a huge increase in immigration over the coming decades. Much of this population growth will come from nearby Muslim countries.   In addition, Muslims in Europe have a younger demographic profile and a birth rate triple that of non-Muslims. As a result of these trends alone, and disregarding immigration, demographers anticipated that the Muslim share of European population would reach eight percent by 2015. Moreover, many Europeans are not so much Christian as non-Muslim. If we suppose that a future renewal of European religious enthusiasm is possible, why would Christianity benefit? Might not wide conversions to Islam take place?

Already in 2005 Europeans were being forced to consider the possibility that Muslims within Europe uphold values that are hard to reconcile with currently prevailing norms: the French expelled an imam who insisted that the Koran authorized wife-beating (and what if the imam is correct?); in 2002 and 2004 Muslim militants assassinated two Dutch politicians who warned against the danger posed by Muslim immigration; and the Madrid (2004) and London (2005) train bombings reminded Europeans of the dangers of Islamic radicalism.

Ten years on, Reuel Marc Gerecht makes a number of important points.[3] First, jihad has become charismatic for some EuroMuslims. ISIS is conquering territory, not just blowing up things. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of young men have gone to fight under the black banners. They come from Europe as well as the Arab countries. To my mind, it is their Spanish Civil War.

Second, European Community states are not likely to sit still for selective targeting of their Muslim citizens by American immigration officers. Hence, American security against European radical Islamists depends on the French and British domestic security services. Both governments have robust security services, while the Americans have little human intelligence from among European Muslims. If the British MI-5 and the French DCRI fail in their efforts to track Euro jihadis and thwart their plots, then the United States is in for a bad time.

EuroIslam may succeed where EuroDisney failed. After the fall of Constantinople to the Turks in 1453 the Hagia Sophia cathedral became a mosque. Will we live to see the day when American tourists line up to enter the great mosque on the isle de la Cite, and when the nearby statue of Charlemagne, the grandson of Charles Martel who defeated an Arab army at Tours, seems like a monument to Muslim persistence?[4]

[1] Ross Douthat, “The World in Numbers: A Muslim Europe?” Atlantic Monthly, January-February 2005, pp. 58-59.

[2] The admission of Turkey to the European Union would raise the share of Muslims in the population to 15 percent. There is no way that will happen now, given the Islamist tilt of the current Turkish government.

[3] Reuel Marc Gerecht, “France and the New Charismatic Jihad,” WSJ, 8 January 2015, A11.

[4] OK, that’s alarmist. My imagination got the better of me.

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