Muslim Europe?

Here is an excellent interview with Dr. Phillip Jenkins, a Penn State history professor who studies religious issue. He is quite a bit more optimistic than Mark Steyn regarding the demographic trends in Europe and elsewhere.

Are fears of a future "Muslim Europe" well-founded?

Jenkins: I don't think they are because the numbers at present are very small. And while they're going to grow, by American standards Muslim minorities in Europe are not going to be that huge. The other big issue is that when people talk about Muslim minorities, they automatically assume that everyone of Muslim background is going to continue to be a dyed-in-the-wool, hardcore Muslim in Europe.

There's a lot of evidence that they're not. If you look at Algerian people in France, they have a strong sense of ethnic identity, but there's quite a low level of religious observance. They look like Episcopalians more than anything. Now obviously, there's a small and potentially very dangerous hardcore of quite extreme Islamists, and you'd have to be a fool to ignore that. But the majority of people are very happy to assimilate to some kind of French or Dutch or German identity.

Population-minded pundits such as Mark Steyn argue that you don't need Muslims to be a majority in any European country for them to exert disproportionate influence, especially given that: (a) a good plurality that knows how to hold together can run a country with a Parliamentary form of government; and (b) being an immigrant minority in a country can reinforce a sense of group solidarity.

Jenkins: Both valid points, but having a solid and well-organized minority can also generate more of a sense of national identity among that majority community that thought it had lost it entirely. We've certainly seen something of that in England, where English national identity is just coming into existence in the last five or ten years after being vaguely British for many years. Cultural Christianity is a much stronger force probably than it has been for 50 years in Europe.


The problem I see with this last part is that when Europeans decide to assert their "national identity" against minority groups, it tends to get out of control. Unlike the Jews in the 1930s, Muslims will fight back. It could get very ugly before everyone assimilates into one big happy family.

1 comment:

Jizzy said...

If Europeans are prepared to kill their children, they will be replaced with a civilization who aren't. And rightly so.