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Unstoppable youth bulges and an increasingly Islamic Europe have the potential to cause massive conflicts and genocide.

Reader comment on item: "Islam" Does Not Mean "Peace"

Submitted by warren thomson (Australia), Jun 17, 2007 at 18:14

Unstoppable youth bulges and an increasingly Islamic Europe have the potential to cause massive conflicts and genocide.

Warren Thomson



There are multiple threats that could endanger international peace and security in the postmodern world, most of these threats are known and are being combated, however, there are two major threats that could engulf states and entire regions into conflict. This essay will define and evaluate the potential consequences of an expanding youth bulge in the developing world, and the increasing Muslim population in Europe. The essay will discuss key factors such as the connection between youth bulge and conflict, the world scope and dimensions of the youth bulge, the potential for a Muslim majority in Europe, and the arguments for and against a peaceful demographic change. I will argue that the youth bulge has the capacity to trigger conflict especially when mixed with different cultures and religions. I will also argue that there will be a majority of Muslims in some countries in Europe this century. As well, there are vast religious cultural fundamental differences between European Muslims and Western Europeans, and history shows that any political control challenge from different religious cultural groups often results in conflict and genocide. Therefore, as the Muslim population expands to equality with non-Muslim Europeans, the chances of massive conflict and genocide increase exponentially.

There are multiple security threats in the post modern world, which are being combated and constrained. Whilst acknowledging the multiple security threats that could threaten peace and security such as terrorism (Kiras 2005, 479-493), climate change (Dupont & Pearman 2006), leading power transition potential conflict between China and America (Kegley & Wittkopf 2004, 125), poverty and unequal global distribution of wealth (Rourke (2005, pp. 324-325), pandemics (Dupont & Pearman 2006), failed states (Howard 2005), transnational crime and other globalized threats and the combination of the major and other minor security problems overwhelming the resources of states ( Downer 2003). These multiple security threats are well known ( Hill 2005), and are being tackled by states through intergovernmental organizations and international alliances (Downer 2006). Reith (2001) maintains that these factors including globalization are helping strengthen global security, and promote economic, social and political developments, and a stable international environment.

Youth bulges increase the chances of conflict. Heinsohn (2005) argues that a youth bulge, which is fighting age males ranging from 15 to 29 years of age, and represents 30 to 40 percent of a nation have been and are instrumental in the cause of conflict. A youth bulge creates tension because respectable positions cannot be increased at the same speed as textbooks, vaccines and food, which leads to a high unemployment rate for youths who become demographically superfluous, and cannot support a family which results in their ambitions stalled, leading to increased frustration and adolescent anger. This results in either/or Emigration, an increase of violent crime, rebellion, civil war, and/or revolution, genocide, or conquest as violent colonization. Bouthall (cited by Heinsohn 2005) claims throughout history a very high percentage of males in the age bracket 18 to 35, have caused most of wars throughout history. Urdal's (2000) research paper at the world bank asserts that evidence of the combination of youth bulges and poor economic performance can be explosive, and finds robust support for the hypothesis that youth bulges increase the risk of domestic armed conflict, and especially so under conditions of economic stagnation. Goldstone (2002) claims that youth bulges have played a prominent role in political violence throughout recorded history, and the existence of a youth bulge has historically been associated with times of political crisis. Youth bulge analysis shows again and again that when hunger ends and jobs remain scarce, the killing starts in earnest. (Heinsohn 2005). Historically, youth bulges have a high correlation with conflict.

Increasing youth bulges, which cannot be stopped, and demographic changes to people with social, religious, culture and ethnic differences add to the risk of conflict. The World Bank claims there are 1.5 billion people worldwide aged between 12 and 24 years—1.3 billion of whom live in developing countries. This means most young people are coming of age in societies that lack basic education and employment opportunities, and the dramatic increase in the number of young people in the next 20 years will be in sub-Saharan Africa and in the Middle East (Integrated Regional Information Networks 2007). Heinsohn (2005) argues that in 2020, of the one billion men between15 and 29 worldwide, there will only be 90 million Europeans and North Americans, but there will be 300 million fighting-age Muslims, and further claims there is 1.5 billion Muslims now with a doubling of the Muslim total population every 25 years. Kandar (2007, p. 18-21) maintains that 50% of India's people are under 25, and by 2015 there will be 550 million teenagers, and cites Balakrishnan (2007, p. 18-21) who claims because of changing agriculture, India will have to find 500 million new jobs, plus jobs for the 10's of millions still unemployed plus new a generation coming through, and the creation of these jobs are not foreseeable. Huntington (1997) claims the clash of civilizations will dominate global politics, and the fault lines between civilizations will be the battle lines of the future. There are enormous unstoppable demographic youth bulges changes happening, and coupled with religious, cultural differences, these changes have a high risk for conflict. Another demographic change with religious/cultural overtones which has the potential to engulf an entire region in war is the rise of Islam to a majority in Europe.

An increasing percentage of Muslims in European countries is causing demographic change. The population of the world has gone from one billion in 1800 to six billion in 1999 (Rourke 2005, p. 9), and is forecast to reach 9.2-12 billion in 2050 with most of the population increase in the developing world, whilst there is a declining population in most parts of the developed world (United Nations Population Fund 2007). There is a demographic change happening in Europe caused by an increasing Muslim population, and a decreasing non-Muslim European population. This change is facilitated by several factors, such as a greater death rate for non Muslims Europeans than their birth rate, the Muslim's birthrate in Europe being three times higher than that of non-Muslim Europeans, as well as Europe's demand for immigrants, which is made up of a significant percentage of Muslims (Pan citing Taspinar 2005). A significant increasing percentage of skilled and highly educated non-Muslim Europeans are emigrating overseas (DW-staff 2006). Therefore, it is predicted if there is no major change to these variables, the Muslim percentage of Europe's population will increase this century to large minorities in some countries, or a majority of the population in others (Pipes citing Steyn 2006). With this major demographic change occurring, the question is asked, will this change be peaceful ie. Will Islam assimilate or will there be conflict?

Muslims in Europe are assimilating, reforming Islam, and any conflict is with each other. Etzioni (cited by Israeli. 2007) declares there are large numbers of Muslims who have assimilated over the past generation or two in their European environment, and cites the fact that Muslim youths have been absorbed by the local educational systems, and are more interested in developing peaceful and successful careers. The mainstream Muslims are distancing themselves from radical Muslims and are electing to melt unnoticed into the general population, and prefer not to seek radical Islamic politics, but to affiliate within the existing political system (Etzioni cited by isreali. 2007). Whilst Ramadan (2004, p. 104-105) asserts that Muslims are increasing European citizenship and at the same time being aware of ones duties and responsibilities, and participating at various levels in social and political life. Ramadan (2004, p. 104-105) further asserts that Muslims in Europe are not united in anti west sentiment, but are very diverse and diversified, not in a rich cultural way, but that of divisive animosity, and rejection of and separation on the basis of social class, ethnic origin and ideological differences [e.g. Shia vs. Sunni]. Michalak & Saeed (2002, p.161-164) believe that Islamic reforms are taking place, such as in France, and immigrants are increasingly open to reforming their Islamic identities. The immigrants are also beginning to understand that individual cultures may be the main difference, rather than religion, and immigrants should and will be open to reconsideration, reformulation and ijtihad-the reinterpretation of Islamic religious principles. Hjarpe (2004, p. 75) agrees that Islamic reforms are taking place, such as France, and asserts that Islamism is less appealing or unnecessary for Islamic youths, and asserts that young Muslims are frequently searching for reinterpretations of their religious tradition and its sources, an integration into modern society, and for an individualistic personal choice of lifestyle. Islamic people are assimilating, fighting each other and are open to reforming Islam. However, the case against peaceful demographic change is very strong.

Islam cannot and does not want to assimilate with Western Europe. Israeli (2007) strongly asserts some European Muslim leaders make no secret of their intent to change Europe to their tune, not to adapt to it, and in more extreme cases, like with some Muslim fundamentalist leaders in London, they claim that they came to Europe in order to change it, not to be reshaped by it, or they reject Western attitudes altogether. Preaching that God's law [Muslim] was above man's law, and his opposition to assimilation of European Muslims into Western living was Ibn Baz (cited by Rippin 2005, p. 279-281) who was the official mufti of Saudi Arabia 1992-1999, responsible for expounding the Islamic law, and providing fatwa's, hence, possibly the highest authority of interpreting Islam and the Koran, proclaimed that ways of violating Islam was to believe laws and systems made by human beings are better than the shari'a of Islam. Baz also declared that a person is not a Muslim if they believe Islam religion should not interfere in other aspects of life, such as stoning an adulterer or cutting the hand off the thief, or Islam should change in modern society. Unchangeable Islam intentionally wants to change Europe.

Fundamental differences and changing demographics will lead to the risk of conflict. Conflict through demographic change is not new; the Israelites become slaves because their increasing population and different religion was potentially seen to be overtaking the Egyptian population (Moses 1450-1410 bc cited by Life Application Study Bible 1991, p. 105). According to Ramadan (2004, p. 108), there is a fundamental difference between Muslins and Westerners, and to Muslims, emotion is the main means of attraction to discourses, rather than Western reasoning, which leads to Muslims minds and hearts to be transported through an often idealized greatness of Islam. Smart (1998, p. 505) argues that from a historical perspective, where Islam is in the minority, there is a greater pressure for modernization, however, when Islam is in the majority, there is a greater pressure for the imposition of shari'a law. Goldstone (2002) argues "that when one distinct ethnic group migrates into an area that is considered homeland by another ethnic group and challenges the dominance of the latter, then conflicts are likely to arise. If these conflicts escalate into contests for political control of the region, then ethnic war and even genocide often results". Pipes (citing Pragar 2007) declared "it is difficult to imagine any other future scenario for Western Europe than its becoming Islamicied or having a civil war".

The Westphalien is system failing, and the religious, cultural wars of the past will again be the wars of the future. Hanson (2006) claims the modern Western vision of international relations is built on secular assumptions about order, national interests and power, and the declining influence of religion on the state. However, Hanson (2006) argues that with the weakening and changing of state sovereign powers, the influence of religion on global politics is growing, and with globalization it has ignited value struggles, and concludes that religion has reentered the world political arena. Baylis &Wirtz (2007, p. 35-38) claim that in the past, wars were driven by geopolitical assumptions such as balance of power, but postmodern wars are often focused on the basis of a particular identity, such as ethnic cleansing or religiously inspired holy wars and are particularly ferocious. Rourke (2005, p.45-46) cites Barber (1996) who believes the authority of the state is being eroded by antithetical forces some of which are splintering states into fragments [jihad, tribalism] and nation-states are threatened by balkanization in which tribe is pitted against tribe, people against people, culture against culture. Rourke (2005, p. 46) notes the current system is being challenged by the integration of states into more regional or universastic roles and the reverse process of disintegration of the state into smaller units, and points out that this process of disintegration and integration bought about the collapse of the pre-westphalien system. In the increasingly unstable times, wars of the future will be mainly cultural, ethnic, and religious.

In conclusion, there are multiple security threats in the post modern world, which are being combated and constrained, however, today's unstoppable youth bulges increase the chances of conflict, and with the mixture of social, religious, culture and ethnic differences and major demographic changes, the risk of conflict increases. An increasing percentage of Muslims in European countries is causing demographic change, with some Muslims in Europe assimilating and are reforming their religion to accommodate European values and any conflict is with other European Muslims. In direct contradiction, there is the belief that fundamentally different Islam cannot and does not wish to assimilate with Western Europe, but to Islamicise it. The Westphalien system is failing and ethnic, religious, and cultural difference are predicted to be the main causes of war in the future. Therefore, the prospects for international peace and security diminish as the populations of developing countries reach the zenith of their youth bulges and as the European Muslim population numbers approaches the Non Muslim European population numbers, the chances intra state, state vs state and regional conflict become increasingly real.

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