Muslim Immigration Changing the Face of Europe
There was an interesting radio interview earlier this week with Father Joseph Fessio, provost of Ave Maria University and also a student and close friend of Pope Benedict XVI on the subject of Islam in Europe. Particularly interesting is that Father Fessio participated in a September 2005 seminar with the Pope to discuss the topic of Western Civilization and Islam. The essence of Father Fessio's interview was that during this Papal seminar the discussion centered on how the demographics of Muslim immigration will radically change the culture of Europe. He suggests that Europe will eventually look like North Africa. Here is an excerpt:
First of all, we know what the first Europe looked like. I mean, that's where we all, most of us come from in our culture, and even our religious background. ... We can't predict what our role [as Christians] will be in society. But it's probably going to be as a minority.... In fact, this year, ... 2005, there were more Muslims born in France than people of traditional French background. Within four years, the top four cities in Holland will ... have a Muslim majority. I mean, if we look at the demographics, ... I don't see any other issue for Europe, or any result, than looking like North Africa.... Algeria, Morocco, Libya, Egypt, ... they were all Christian, thriving Christian communities ... in the early Church. And now, you can't profess your faith there.... I was in Rome, actually Castel Gandolfo, the Pope's summer residence, in September of 2005. His former students met with him, and the topic of our meeting was the Islamic concept of God, and its consequences for a secular society. And we had two people there who gave talks, one of them extraordinary, a man named Kalil Safir Kalil(?), who is an Egyptian born Coptic Catholic, Lebanese Jesuit priest who runs an Islamic-Christian center in Lebanon, and he's got a book called Ciento Domande Su Islam, 100 Questions On Islam. He knows it inside and out. And he quotes key Islamic leaders saying the following: Because of your religious tolerance in Europe, we will overtake you. We will be coming into Europe. Because of our religious beliefs, we will conquer you. I mean, there should be no doubt about it. They're intent, and I don't blame them for this. They believe they [have] got the true religion. They are going to overcome here. They've been trying to do it for... since the 600's.... I want to say without exaggeration, and without trying to become histrionic here, I see the trends... I've seen them for years, in Europe, of depopulation as you've mentioned. And their immigration is coming from the South, which is mainly Islamic. And there are, I think there are 98 Islamic countries in the world, and 97 of them do not have religious freedom.... And that's what's going to happen to Europe. Once there's an Islamic majority, it is going ... to eliminate religious freedom ... and therefore, Western civilization as we know it. However, in the United States ..., we also are not having children.... But where is our immigration coming from? From Ecuador, from Mexico, from Cuba, from Guatemala. And these people are Christians.... I believe we are in a world historical century.
I am by no means an expert on immigration demographics in Europe. But it is an interesting and important thesis. In fact, when I was in London last year I heard an Oxford don say much the same. In addition, my anecdotal experience of sending my children to the local schools in London was an overwhelming sense of the presence of a significant Muslim population. I would be most curious about what others who are more knowledgeable on the subject think about Father Fessio's thesis regarding the demographics of Muslim immigration changing the face of Europe.