Alex Massie

Oh No! The Muslims Are Coming!

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Sure as eggs is eggs, you can count on some folk being terribly exercised each time it is "revealed" that lots of boys named Mohammed, or some variation of the prophet's name, are being born in europe. This time it's the revelation [link fixed] that in four Dutch cities Mohammed is the most popular name for boys. Oh no! The Muslims are coming! Never mind that Mohammed is only the 16th most popular boys name in Holland as a whole, better by far to raise the spectre of an Islamic "takeover" of Dutch cities.

Never mind that this sort of fear-mongering has become an annual tradition. Did you know, for instance, that Mohammed was already the second most popular boys' name in Britain? Clearly the Caliphate is on the march! Except, of course, that muslims are much more likely to name their sons Mohammed than Christians are to call their son any single name. That is, there's much greater variance amongst non-muslim families. In other words, unless you're wanting to stoke panic and resentment what kids are called is not a terribly useful metric.

Of course, we're also encouraged to believe that european civilisation is threatened by millions of splendidly fertile muslim women breeding for Mohammed. You can't "buck" demographics don't you know and soon muslims will be a plurality of the EU population and some states will "fall" within fifty years, becoming muslim-majority enterprises.

All this from a base of 3% of the EU population at the moment! All this despite the fact that in many european countries muslim fertility rates are, not surprisingly, declining.

None of that matters, however. Nor may one observe that Islam is not synonymous with Wahhabism. For that matter, in plenty of european countries religious observance amongst muslims is declining. Fewer than one in three Dutch muslims attends Friday prayers regularly, compared with nearly half just a decade ago.

There's every reason to suppose that a kind of cafeteria, cultural sense of muslim identity will grow, just as we have seen happen in the case of many Roman Catholics who, also once considered the Enemy Within, pick and choose their level of observance, or if you prefer, the seriousness of their belief, as they see fit.

It's also striking, mind you, how many people desperately want to believe in the idea of a muslin reconquista sweeping away european elites who were too effete and too weak to realise they needed to defend themselves and who, consequently, deserve everything they get. Only a noble few are tough enough to look reality in the eye and see what needed to be done! Everyone else is too feeble but at least these poor, ignored Cassandras will take their satisfaction from seeing their apocalyptic predictions proved correct. In other words, the "worse" it gets the better it is for them. No good news, nor any sense of perspective can be allowed to intrude upon their masturbatory fantasies of a europe toiling under sharia law.

Instead they comfort one another with fantasies about how "50% of all Dutch babies are already muslim"  - a claim which, as this BBC report suggests - would require improbably heroic levels of fornication and reproduction to achieve.

Are there issues to be dealt with regarding immigration and integration? Of course there are. Some of them are serious and the left too often ignores this. Nonetheless, the people who shout loudest about these matters (hello Geert Wilders!) are also among those who make it harder to find solutions. That, mind you, gives them the benefit of the doubt and supposing that they actually argue in good faith and want to make progress in these areas. Sometimes one gets the impression that the Dhimmi-watchers would actually welcome a religious confrontation and continent-wide conflagration.

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.