by Daniel Pipes
Translations of this item:
"Europe becomes more and more a province of Islam, a colony of Islam." So declares Oriana Fallaci in her new book, La Forza della Ragione, or, "The Force of Reason." And the famed Italian journalist is right: Christianity's ancient stronghold of Europe is rapidly giving way to Islam.
Two factors mainly contribute to this world-shaking development.
Into the void are coming Islam and Muslims. As Christianity falters, Islam is robust, assertive, and ambitious. As Europeans underreproduce at advanced ages, Muslims do so in large numbers while young.
When that happens, grand cathedrals will appear as vestiges of a prior civilization — at least until a Saudi style regime transforms them into mosques or a Taliban-like regime blows them up. The great national cultures — Italian, French, English, and others — will likely wither, replaced by a new transnational Muslim identity that merges North African, Turkish, subcontinental, and other elements.
This prediction is hardly new. In 1968, the British politician Enoch Powell gave his famed "rivers of blood" speech in which he warned that in allowing excessive immigration, the United Kingdom was "heaping up its own funeral pyre." (Those words stalled a hitherto promising career.) In 1973, the French writer Jean Raspail published Camp of the Saints, a novel that portrays Europe falling to massive, uncontrolled immigration from the Indian subcontinent. The peaceable transformation of a region from one major civilization to another, now under way, has no precedent in human history, making it easy to ignore such voices.
There is still a chance for the transformation not to play itself out, but the prospects diminish with time. Here are several possible ways it might be stopped:
Current trends suggest Islamization will happen, for Europeans seem to find it too strenuous to have children, stop illegal immigration, or even diversify their sources of immigrants. Instead, they prefer to settle unhappily into civilizational senility.
Europe has simultaneously reached unprecedented heights of prosperity and peacefulness and shown a unique inability to sustain itself. One demographer, Wolfgang Lutz, notes, "Negative momentum has not been experienced on so large a scale in world history."
Is it inevitable that the most brilliantly successful society also will be the first in danger of collapse due to a lack of cultural confidence and offspring? Ironically, creating a hugely desirable place to live would seem also to be a recipe for suicide. The human comedy continues.
Aug. 8, 2009 update: In a highly unusual occurrence, a major European newspaper has written about this demographic issue, even using the same title as I do above: London's Daily Telegraph today published "Muslim Europe: the demographic time bomb transforming our continent. The EU is facing an era of vast social change, reports Adrian Michaels, and few politicians are taking notice." Could this be the start of a change? I doubt it.
Reader comments (184) on this item
Comment on this item
You can help support Daniel Pipes' work by making a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum. Daniel J. Pipes