Alex Massie

Europe not doomed after all shocker!

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By which I mean to say that - surprise! - there's evidence that the apocalyptic scenario beloved on the nutty right that Europe will be living - if such an elevated term can be applied to our miserable future - under Sharia law sooner than you can whistle up the call to prayer is, well, a hysterical exaggeration.

From the Financial Times:

Jytte Klausen, a professor of politics at Brandeis University who studies European Muslims, says: “It’s being advocated by people who don’t consult the numbers. All these claims are really emotional claims.” Sometimes they are made by Muslim or far-right groups, who share an interest in exaggerating the numbers.

Nominal Muslims – whether religious or not – account for 3-4 per cent of the European Union’s total population of 493m. Their percentage should rise, but far more modestly than the extreme predictions. That is chiefly because Muslims, both in Europe and the main “emigrating countries” of Turkey and north Africa, are having fewer babies...

But the birth-rates of Europe’s Muslim immigrants, though still above the EU’s average, are falling. The fertility rate of north African women in France has been dropping since 1981, say Jonathan Laurence and Justin Vaisse in their book Integrating Islam. “The longer immigrant women live in France, the fewer children they have; their fertility rate approaches that of native-born French women.”

At the last count Algerian women living in France averaged an estimated 2.57 children, against 1.94 for French women overall.

At the same time, northern Europe has seen a rebound in fertility. Several countries have introduced policies – such as more generous parental leave and better childcare – to encourage people to have babies.

France’s birth-rate is near the replacement level of 2.1. The UK’s fertility rate is at its highest since 1980, thanks largely to older or immigrant mothers – only a minority of whom were Muslims. The number of babies born in Germany has rebounded since the post-war low recorded in 2005...

The US National Intelligence Council predicts there will be between 23m and 38m Muslims in the EU in 2025 – 5-8 per cent of the population. But after 2025 the Muslim population should stop growing so quickly, given its falling birth-rate. In short, Islamicisation – let alone sharia law – is not a demographic prospect for Europe.

[Hat-tip Clive who sensibly adds that this doesn't mean there aren't significant problems that need solutions.]

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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