Muslim Demography Scare Video Does the Rounds

Another email arrives from the Jerusalem Connection, this time promoting a video laying out the familar story of how Muslim immigrants are going to take over the world by outbreeding everyone else:

A sobering video about Islam and how it may overwhelm Christendom unless Christians recognize the demographic realities, begin reproducing again, and share the gospel with Muslims.

The video  – entitled “Muslim Demographics” and posted by an anonymous evangelist called “FriendofMuslim” – has been circulating on the usual websites.

As expected, it’s is a farrago of piffle – we’re treated a list of dubiously sourced statistics and statements which are wielded clusmily and with no attempt at serious qualitative interpretation. For example, we’re told grimly that “a culture will decline” with a birth-rate of less than 2.1, as if “culture” can be quantified purely by counting indigenous heads in a particular country, and as if cultural ideas cannot spread by means other than from parent to child – it seems immigrants remain immune from any outside influence, although we’re also told that the situation can be saved if we “spread the Gospel” to them. There’s also of course no factoring-in of religious nominalism among immigrants.

The blog Islam in Europe debunks most of the actual figures in the video here. The blog also notes that:

[One source the video probably used] quotes Walter Rademacher of the German Federal Statistics Office who says quite clearly: “Even those people who are immigrants adopt after a couple years the lifestyle and the number of children per family. So the assumption that immigrants will stick to their habits is simply not true.” This is a point that most demographic doomsayers prefer to ignore. Second generation immigrants have fewer babies and marry at an older age, acting more and more like the native ethnic population. It is true that this is offset by the incoming immigration, but then it becomes a problem of immigration, not a ticking timebomb of the local population.

That’s a key point – the only exception to this process, it seems to me, is when an organised religious community with a strong separatist identity moves into an area wholesale, as with with the Amish or Haredi Jews, but such groups’  impact on the wider society is limited and even they have adapted and accommodated to the wider world to some extent. And despite Patrick Sookhdeo’s conspiracy theory on the subject (promoted by Charles Colson), this is not the pattern of Muslim immigration.

Of course, the above is simply an observation of what has happened – it’s not a law about must happen, and we know that extremist ideas, poor government social policies, or other factors can impede or even reverse integration. But the point is that such outcomes are far from inevitable.

We also know that some religious groups promote large families as a strategy to spread their ideology (I’m currently reading Kathryn Joyce’s Quiverfull, and there are doubtless Islamist equivalents of the likes of Doug Phillips), but this smacks of desperation: the same outside secularizing trends which have corroded religious commitment up until now are also going affect the next generation. Simply producing lots of children who will choose your way because they know no other is unlikely to be sustainable  in the face of the realities (both attractions and pressures) of modern society, and it offers no new intellectual content in a “war of ideas”.