Today a friend forwarded me an email with a link to a Youtube video on “Muslim demographics” that appears to be viral at the moment, with over 5 million views so far:
Islam will overwhelm Christendom unless Christians recognize the demographic realities, begin reproducing again, and share the gospel with Muslims.
It’s a cleverly made piece of propaganda that paints a picture of a Europe in which Muslims become the majority of the population by or before 2050. However it did not clearly reference its sources, which (if you notice them at all) appear too small to be readable. It’s not clear who produced this video either.
Why do I call it propaganda? Because whoever made it, they did play fast and loose with the truth – Goebbels would have been proud of them. I will give you just a few examples.
They claimed that the average fertility of Muslim women in France was 8.1 children per woman, which would be about 4 times the French average. The fact is that most Muslims in France originated from Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia or Turkey, countries whose average fertility rates are much lower than claimed for the Muslim immigrants.
That doesn’t really make sense. It seems likely that fertility amongst immigrants would fall somewhere in between rates in their country of origin and of their new chosen home, but not some four times higher than either of them, as the makers of this propaganda video would have us believe.
Birth rates have been falling with rising living standards and education levels – not only in Europe, North America and Japan but also in Latin America, South Asia, East Asia, most of the Middle East and just about anywhere else. It’s a global trend: These days even the Islamic Republic of Iran, not exactly a bastion of Western liberalism, has a lower fertility rate than France. In fact sub-Saharan Africa is the only region worldwide that has bucked the trend, where fertility rates have remained consistently high. A large percentage of future Christian and Muslim worldwide population growth will come from that continent.
Another example is false claim in the video that Muslims make up 25% of the population of Belgium, when in fact they only reach that proportion in the city of Brussels, while they constitute a mere 4.0% of the population of Wallonia and 3.9% of the population of Flanders, the two major regions of the country. The national average is 6% – only one quarter of what the video claims. The video authors are off in a similar way in a similar claim about the Netherlands.
These and numerous other mistakes and inconsistencies are exposed and thoroughly refuted in an excellent post on the Tiny Frog blog. If anyone sends you a link to the “Muslim demographics” video, send them back a link to the facts!
Demographics and Politics
With falling birth rates in many developed countries and rising immigration that partly compensates for this, many people are afraid of their countries gradually losing their cultural identity. This fear is largely misplaced. When Polish workers came to the Ruhr area of Prussia in large numbers to work in coal mines in the 19th century, there were the same fears, but now their descendants are as German as anyone else and only the numerous Polish surnames in the phone books or local football (soccer) teams remind of the immigration. Likewise, Catholic immigrants from Ireland, Italy and Mexico faced a lot of hostility in the US around the turn of the 19th/20th century, but they integrated like Protestant immigrants before them and their descendants speak English like other Americans. With immigration patterns such as in Europe and the US, immigrant populations will largely assimilate within two or three generations, even if they may retain some elements of their parents’ and grandparents’ culture.
Unfortunately most people who have watched this propaganda video will not see the real facts any time soon. There is a good chance this video will have had an effect on them, sowing seeds of fear and mistrust that others will seek to exploit for political gains. Nazi chief propagandist Joseph Goebbels’ would have approved: “That propaganda is good which leads to success, and that is bad which fails to achieve the desired result,” he wrote. “It is not propaganda’s task to be intelligent, its task is to lead to success.” (see Joachim Fest, The Face of the Third Reich).
Whoever made this video does not care about the real numbers or facts, or they would not consistently get their facts wrong by such wide margins. What they are trying to do is to stoke fear. As one person wrote who forwarded the link to my friend: “WATCH THIS AND BE AFRAID – VERY AFRAID.” People who are afraid are easier to manipulate: They will want to give power to whoever is promising to protect them from the perceived danger. In 1933 Hitler assumed total power in Germany after scaring the country of a supposedly imminent communist coup (by having his troopers secretly set fire to the Reichstag). Look what George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Co. managed to get away with when Americans got really frightened after 9/11! Fear is a powerful weapon at the hands of those unscrupulous enough to exploit it.