Eurabia's fundamentally an ideology of revenge ("Ha, ha, you didn't support us, now you're going to get raped by Muslims!") as well as an ideology of envy. Muslims, imagined by Eurabianists as beings somehow completely resistant to the influences of modernization and post-modernization etc., are imagined as perfect conservatives, retaining the superfecundity of old and maintaining the traditional family. Why them? some ask. Why not us?
Eurabia's all the more ironic since many sources–the Economist, Douglas Todd’s blog The Search, the Globe and Mail, the New York Times–have reported on a recent report by the Pew Research Group observing that Muslim population growth is slowing, and certainly Muslims won’t become majority populations in any European country.
At the heart of its analysis is the ongoing effect of a “youth bulge” which peaked in 2000. In 1990 Islam’s share of the world’s youth was 20%; in 2010, 26%. In 2030 it will be 29% (of 15-to-29-year-olds). But the Muslim world is slowly heading towards paunchiness: the median age in Muslim-majority countries was 19 in 1990. It is 24 now, and will be 30 by 2030. (For French, Germans and Japanese the figure is 40 or over.) This suggests Muslim numbers will ultimately stop climbing, but later than the rest of the world population.
The authors call their calculations demographic, not political. Drawing on earlier Pew research, they say conversion is not a big factor in the global contest between Islam, Christianity and other faiths; the converts balance out. Nor do they assess piety; via the imperfect data of the United Nations, the European Union and national statistics, they aim simply to measure how many people call themselves Muslim, at least culturally, if asked.
New numbers, they say, will change the world map. As Indonesia prospers, its birth rate is falling; South Asia’s remains very high. By 2030, 80m extra mouths in Pakistan will boost its Muslim numbers to 256m, ousting Indonesia (with 239m) as the most populous Islamic land. India’s Muslim minority will be nearly as large at 236m—though growth is slowing there too. And in 2030 India’s Muslims will still constitute only a modest 15.9% of that country’s swelling total, against 14.6% now.
The report asserts no causal link between Islamic teaching and high fertility rates, although it notes that poverty and poor education are a problem in many Muslim lands. In Muslim countries such as Bangladesh and Turkey, it observes, the lay and religious authorities encourage birth control. Better medical care and lower mortality boost poor-country population numbers too.
[. . .]
The total Muslim share of Europe’s population is predicted to grow from 6% now to 8% in 2030: hardly the stuff of nightmares. But amid that are some sharp rises. The report assumes Britain has 2.9m Muslims now (far higher than the usual estimates, which suggest 2.4m at most), rising to 5.6m by 2030. As poor migrants start families in Spain and Italy, numbers there will rocket; in France and Germany, where some Muslims are middle-class, rises will be more modest—though from a higher base. Russia’s Muslims will increase to 14.4% or 18.6m, up from 11.7% now (partly because non-Muslims are declining). The report takes a cautious baseline of 2.6m American Muslims in 2010, but predicts the number will surge by 2030 to 6.2m, or 1.7% of the population—about the same size as Jews or Episcopalians. In Canada the Muslim share will surge from 2.8% to 6.6%.
The report in question--"The Future of the Global Muslim Population: Projections for 2010-2030"--makes for very interesting reading. Suffice it to say that although Muslim populations are growing more quickly, it is a consequence of relatively higher fertility--declining notably, however, for the same reasons as in Iran or Turkey or Tunisia or any other country where urbanization, the liberation of women, and economic pressures has pushed fertility down--and a relatively large proportion of young people of childbearing age. In the case of Europe, the projections suggest that a tenth of the populations of France, Belgium, and Sweden will be Muslim by 2030, that the proportion in western Europe as a whole will rise from 4.5% now to 7.1%, noting additionally that right now Muslim fertility is below replacement levels in Germany, Italy, and Spain, the gaps between Muslim and non-Muslim populations continuing to close. Russia, notably, is and will be home to one-third of Europe's Muslims, but even there proportions won't change overmuch (~11% to ~15%). And in case you're worried about India, the projections suggest a rise in the Muslim proportion of the Indian population from 14.6% to 15.9%.
The study's methodology looks fine to me: conservative, well-grounded in facts, not making the sorts of sweeping predictions of radical transformation that always merit the most stringent skepticism. Notably, projections are made only two decades into the future, roughly one generation, beyond which point much happens. Are radical changes possible? Sure. Are they likely? No. One may as well predict a huge surge in non-Muslim fertility as not, or mass Christian immigration into Muslim lands. (The latter is possible, by the way; the huge disparities in income between North Africa and the Middle East to the north, and sub-Saharan Africa to the south, could drive interesting population movements.)
Alas, this fine report won't be considered by the prophets of Eurabia. Eurabia is a fantasy, product of an ideology that imagines the punishment of errant nations by a terrifyingly perfect, inhuman conservatism. Envy and revenge fantasies can't be defeated so easily as all that. Pity, not least since these fantasies can lead to any number of horrifying outcomes.