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02 January 2010

The mythical European Umma

"Given that only about 4% of the EU's population is Muslim, why is the fear of a coming Eurabia so strong in certain quarters?"

Analysis of readers comments on the above Guardian Cif post by Khaled Diab 21 August 2009 - See full post here

A huge majority, 84%, do not buy Khaled Diab’s arguments. They think there is a problem. And the problem is Islam and multi-culturalism.

Sample chart

This is based on the first 75 of the 268 comments that readers made. This is a high number indicating a high level of interest in the topic. The table below gives more details.

Readers CommentsVotes for Comments
Strongly For1418.72616.5
Strongly Against3445.3267166.5

To summarise: Mr Diab dismissed the statistics predicting the Islamification of Europe and went on to say the real division will be between all those who follow a religion, whatever it is, and those who do not believe in any God. Europe, too, will have to get used to increased diversity.

The following small selection of extracts from readers comments (that got big votes) shows what they thought of his ideas.

“While Eurabia is a fantasy, Europe is almost certainly going to become more diverse in the future, and so a debate is worth having about how to adapt to this reality...”

Why is it per se a 'reality'? We may not like your 'reality' of the future and may want to argue in favour of a different reality. Why don't you want us to debate that, too?

I don't think the concern is about a rising Muslim population; but about the behaviour of a small number of religious extremists who want to introduce Sharia law and stifle freedom in Europe.

Publishers and news organisations self-censor to avoid upsetting this minority: If you think that this is a non-issue, publish the Danish cartoons again and see what happens.

…. “And there are signs that the fertility rate among the white population of some European countries, such as France, is recovering.”

There is no evidence that the birth rate among France's White population is rising and I did not see any evidence in that article.

“But Muslims in Europe are not some unified, monolithic force.”

Well yes that is true, but there is something to the concept of the Ummah. The Muslim world is not a monolithic block but it can be relied on to do some things - oppose the West for instance. The Muslim countries do tend to vote as a block in the UN and they tend to vote against the West..

…. When you've got Croydon council requiring the wearing of the burkini for non-muslims at its swimming baths (a policy they dropped due to the righteous fury it deservedly created) then people will worry. It's just the latest case of the failed multi-culturalism policy that has caused such divisiveness in the UK.

Please stop trying to play the figures down. An influx of 4% from a totally alien culture in my lifetime is significant, shocking and frightening ….

…. The relative concentration of Muslim communities is what many people fear, not the diluted average. You get exactly the same thing in the UK. I doubt Mohammed is the number one boy's name in Hereford but it probably is in Blackburn.

…. At the very least we need to rethink multiculturalism. In particular, separate institutions (and worst of all schools) for Moslems, Christians, Humanists etc. are a dangerous idea.

The absolute worse case scenario would not be Eurabia - right enough. It could, if we don't ensure proper integration, end up looking more like Bosnia though.

I am of White British origin but live in one of the most ethnically diverse parts of London and have no problems with being a minority in my area - I chose to live there. My wife is an ethnic Indian….

…. What also troubles us is that our local public leisure centre now has segregated sessions by sex in the pool and the sports hall some of the time, because of objections by some Muslims to mixed sex activities.

So because of a few people who bring backward cultural customers to the UK my friends and I (including my Muslim friends) are being barred from using public facilities some of the time. If this is all happening when the total numbers are 4% or less then it's no wonder people are worrying about what will happen in the future.

…. For me, the fact that Europe is largely ignoring the growth of other cultures within it's borders is mindbogglingly stupid.

…. We should not be letting anybody in who won't integrate and assimilate. Those within who share values opposed to this should have there beliefs challenged., not respected under the guise of respect for religion or multi-culturalism.

Given that only about 4% of the EU's population is Muslim. Just imagine what 8% could do.

…. The basic message seems to be that the demographic rise of Muslims won't occur because Europeans will stop it. Therefore, he concludes, Europeans should cease worrying and stop trying to stop it. (Well, if we stop trying to stop it then we won't stop it, so if we follow his advice and stop worrying we should start worrying again.)

…. There were, what, 10,000 Muslims in the UK before WWII, and now there are several million. France is going on 10% Muslim, and London is about the same and rising. These are seismic shifts. And in what ways has this been good for native people? Are we a happier country because of it? Or are we more divided and more tense?

…. Of course, there's no grand plot to take over Europe--despite Islamist fringe loonies banging on about how they are indeed going to take over Europe with demographic changes. But that doesn't mean that millions aren't moving here, and dramatically changing society in doing so.

…. So we're being lectured about how we have to adapt ourselves to the inevitable growth of diversity by accepting it (not trying to limit it), by closing our eyes and hoping the diversity doesn't get out of hand, by ignoring that the call for native Europeans to exercise heroic self-abnegation is being matched in Islamic countries by heroic self-aggrandisement. At some point, multiculturalists are going to have to recognize they are simply asking too much of us.

Also, could you tell us why Europe OUGHT to become more diverse than it already is? What's the moral justification for pushing greater cultural diversity on people who clearly don't want it.

One reason for what might be perceived as a disproportionate sense of threat is the disproportionate level of concession given to Muslim communities as compared with other minority groups. Islamic comunities seem more unwilling and a lot less able to adapt themselves to European environments than other groups, and indeed are more often likely to demand that those environments adapt to them ….

Why do we worry? Because Islam is so absolutist and intolerant, by its very inherent nature. It's the Sunni/Shia way -- or the highway. Make no mistake about it. If we ever are in danger of overloking that little fact ( not much chance really ) Muslims are on hand to remind us at every turn.

…. I dont object to the presence of a growing Muslim population but I do profoundly object to the growth in Muslim values which seems to go with it. …. As numbers grow it can only get worse, and it is always one way.

…. I do believe there is an issue brewing - it may not be one of the EU being over run but it still exists. The issue is that (Perhaps more so in the UK) a significant number of Muslims believe certain things that clash with our idea of a secular society.

…. In 2006 an ICM survey showed 40% of Muslims wanted Sharia Law (and this was back in 2006 it may be more now) is hardly insignificant is it?

When I taught in a large inner city university many of our students were Muslim. Many of them held views I found deeply disturbing. More than one male student told me I was inferior to him just because I was a woman. One female student told me with glee that the West was going to get its comeuppance.

… demographics can change rapidly by means of immigration and differential birth rates. The Asian Muslim birthrate is high - the white European birthrate is far below the level a society needs to reproduce itself.

There is nothing hysterical about foreseeing a huge increase in the Muslim population in Europe, and political and social influence will inevitably follow from being a larger proportion of society.

We are better of asking ourselves what changes mean than denouncing anyone who dares to talk about them.

…. Probably because this 4% is centered in "certain quarters". I know people both here and in Europe who claim with some justification that they, their friends and family have been effectively driven out of their own towns having watched it become unrecognisable as the Muslim population slowly grew to outnumber the indigenous inhabitants.

Actually I don't think it's a fear of Muslims per se but rather a fear that many of our governments and other influential bodies are so weak, apologetic and feeble about standing up for the rights and freedoms most of us hold dear.

They have a tendency to squirm and appease when it comes to anything religious/immigration/race related ….

IMO, this is the most dangerous situation of all. …. Anyway, he essentially said that Europe was likely to give way and give way and give way to the demands of its growing Muslim population and then, suddenly, swing in the other direction and overreact.

…. British Asians are five times less likely than whites to marry someone with different skin colour. Here are three references, one from The Asian News, another from the BBC, and a thoughtful comment about the asymmetry in racial tolerance from Yasmin Alibhai-Brown in The Indy. The Asian News
BBC Yasmin Alibhai-Brown

…. I also have a fair few Muslim friends. Many of these - especially the women - are themselves becoming afraid of how radical some young men in their communities are becoming. My friend who does not cover her head sometimes wears a headscarf now around the local area as she has been threatened.

…. This thread is a promising one because it suggests that, rather belatedly, the increasing political influence of Islam is becoming an acceptable discussion topic here on cif (below the line at least).

…. In .. the metropolitan areas of most European countries, the Muslim population is not 4% but more like 40%. This is true of major cities such as Malmo, Rotterdam, Marseille, Paris, Berlin, Milan, etc etc. So, lets dispense with all this 'we're only talking about 4% of the population' nonsense. Its a disingenoeus statement.

…. Spousal importation has been raised to industrial levels in cities such as Bradford. It is a simple fact that more than 70% of marriages contracted by Pakistanis and Bangladeshis in such cities are by arrangement via spousal import.

Of this number a further 70% are consanguineous. Thus more than 50% of such marriages are between blood relatives. The importation of illiterates/innumerates from the tribal backwoods produces no benefit for the host country, quite the reverse.

…. I am sure that Mr Diab is correct in pointing out that the European Muslim population will never constitute a majority. But their "influence" is disproportionate. This is obviously the case here on CiF where scarcely a day goes by without yet another piece of propaganda. And whereas it is doubtful if we will ever see a national Umma or Sharia we will certainly see localised ones - in Rotterdam and Leicester.