You may have recalled recently that LW contributor Danios did an excellent rebuttal exposing the vapid pseudo-scholarship of self-declared “Islamic scholar” Bat Ye’or. Bat Ye’or’s principle contribution has been the propagation of the wild conspiracy theory known as Eurabia. She argues with the fervor of a misguided zealot that “Europe will be vassal [state], a satellite of the Arab world.” Her “Eurabia” conspiracy theory as summed up by Danios:
[T]he theory is that Arab and Muslim immigration (of “stealth jihadists”) will soon overwhelm Europe, destroy Western culture and civilization forever, and replace the democratic governments with Taliban style theocracies. While that does sound like an interesting plot for a fictional movie, it is pure insanity to take this seriously.
(By “stealth jihadists,” Bat Ye’or and her pet proxies like Robert Spencer intend to capture the notion of a cadre of evil Muslims who are nonetheless non-violent and work through the system. That of course opens a pandora’s box. It gives them the freedom to redefine who is good and who is bad by mere allegation alone, since they have cancelled out any universally acceptable standard for illict behavior, standards such as “illegal” or “violent.” That raises the ironic question: would Bat Ye’or and her minion Robert Spencer characterize their campaign against Muslims by the pen and keyboard as “subversive stealth propaganda”? Could their infatuation with a “stealth Muslim” operation perhaps be little more than classic projection?)
Even more ironically, other Islamophobes have latched onto transforming Bat Ye’or’s paranoid theories of a “stealth Muslim” take over through “stealth propaganda videos” distributed on unassuming public social networks.
On YouTube, there is a video production worthy of Goebbels, that has gone viral. The video, titled simply Muslim Demographics, couples inaccurate facts about Muslim immigration and growth in Europe with ominous foreign sounding music meant to keep you on edge. Who created it remains unknown, but as of today it can be found on other video sharing sites and has received close to 11 million hits on Youtube alone, more than some of Michael Jackson’s most famous music videos.[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-3X5hIFXYU 300 250]
The video can be summed up by the paranoid guy in our logo on the upper left of your screen, screaming “The Mooslims! They’re here!” As you can see the video makes wild (and patently false as will come to see) claims, such as “Muslims are reproducing a staggering 8 babies for every 1 French baby,” that “Europe as we know it will cease to exist” giving way to a “Europe dominated by Mooslims and Islamic Republics. ”
Seriously? Are they going to get rid of Sauerkraut in Germany? Are they going to tear down the Louvre or Big Ben? Is the Leaning Tower of Pisa going to be replaced by the “The Leaning Minaret?” Are books going to be burned in Amsterdam, next to the shops that sell cannibas?
I digress though, the thought that anyone can believe what is in this video should give people pause. What purpose does it serve at all if not to increase paranoia, ignorance and fear of the “other” scary “Mooslims?”
It is altogether depressing that Muslims immigrating to a society should automatically be viewed as a negative. It is the same right-wing tactic that was used to smear Barack Obama as being a “Mooslim.” The thinking went: if you convince enough people he is a Muslim then no one will vote for him because everyone knows being a Muslim is bad. Instead of viewing Muslim immigration to Europe as reason to fill the demands of Europe’s economy, it is automatically assumed to be evil — that my friends is classic text book Islamophobia.
BBC Radio did a pretty decent job in rebutting the arguments made by the video.
Watch it here:[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mINChFxRXQs 300 250]
The most thorough rebuttal of this inaccurate, racist, Islamophobic equivalent of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion has come from a site called Tiny Frog, which laid bear all the inaccuracies,
Claim: “Historically, no culture has ever reversed a 1.9 fertility rate.”
They provide no source for this claim. However, birth rates do vary over time, and have increased. For example, here’s an image of France’s population over the past two centuries. As you can see, the population size barely changes between 1890 and 1945. Since 1945, the population has grown by 50%. The current fertility rate in France is about 2 children per person.
After 1947 however, France suddenly underwent a demographic recovery that no one could have foreseen. It is a fact that in the 1930s the French government, alarmed by the decline of France’s population, had passed laws to boost the birth rate, giving state benefits to families with children. Nonetheless, no one can quite satisfactorily explain this sudden and unexpected recovery in the demography of France, which was often portrayed as a “miracle” inside France. This demographic recovery was again atypical in the Western World, in the sense that although the rest of the Western World experienced a baby boom immediately after the war, the baby boom in France was much stronger, and above all it lasted longer than in most other countries of the Western World (the United States being one of the few exceptions). In the 1950s and 1960s France enjoyed a population growth of 1% a year, which is the highest growth in the history of France, not even matched in the best periods of the 18th or 19th centuries.
Claim: “A rate of 1.3: impossible to reverse… There is no economic model that can sustain itself during that time.”
It’s true that declining birth rates cause a lot of problems for nations; it’s difficult for workers to pay enough taxes to support the retired generation. A lot of countries (including east-asian countries like Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan) are very worried about this problem.
These numbers are almost right. It’s true that these nations are declining in population. According to nationmaster (which took it’s numbers from the CIA World Factbook), the actual fertility rates are:
France 1.98 England 1.66 Greece 1.36 Germany 1.41 Italy 1.3 Spain 1.3
It’s also worth noting that the fertility rates of these nations have been rising slightly over the past five years. Here’s a look at the historical data:
2003 1.26 2004 1.27 2005 1.28 2006 1.28 2007 1.29 2008 1.3
France, historical fertility rates: (*note: France reversed a fertility rate that dropped below 1.9)
2003 1.85 2004 1.85 2005 1.85 2006 1.84 2007 1.98 2008 1.98
2003 1.37 2004 1.38 2005 1.39 2006 1.39 2007 1.4 2008 1.41
2003 1.26 2004 1.27 2005 1.28 2006 1.28 2007 1.29 2008 1.3
(According to the nationmaster numbers, the UK’s and Greece’ fertility rate stayed relatively constant across the 2003-2008 time period.)
1.3-1.5 sounds approximately right. The highest fertility rate in Europe is 2.02 (Albania), and eastern Europe has some of the lowest fertility rates (Poland 1.27, Ukraine 1.25, Lithuania 1.22).
Claim: “France: 1.8 Children per family, Muslims: 8.1.”
They list of source for this claim, but it’s too small to read. This claim is almost certainly false. First, there isn’t a country in the whole world that has a fertility rate of 8 children, so I doubt that millions of Muslims in France’s are having that many children.
While it’s true that many Muslim nations have high fertility rates (Yemen 6.41, Gaza Strip 5.19, Saudi Arabia 3.89), not all of them do. While I have no source for Muslim birthrates in France, I do know where most of France’s immigrants come from: they come from France’s former colonies. Here’s a map of French immigration by nation:
You can quickly pick out that France’s Muslim immigration comes mainly from four countries: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Turkey.
What are the fertility rates in these countries?
Morocco 2.57 Algeria 1.82 Tunisia 1.73 Turkey 1.87
Now, it looks very suspicious when they claim French Muslims are averaging 8.1 children per person. In fact, the birthrates in their original countries are lower than birthrates in France. I have a hard time believing that they suddenly become hyperfertile when they live in France.
I had actually read an article a few years ago (again, by an Christian-Right author). He talked about how he met a Palestinian woman living in Paris who was raising her 6 children. He then implied that all French Muslims were having this many children. Of course, that was a huge generalization. It’s true that Palestinians (on average) have a lot of children, but it’s false to claim that most Muslims living in France (most of them not from Palestine) were having this many children. Yet, he tried to slide this claim past his readers.
Claim: “In the Netherlands, 50% of all newborns are Muslim.”
That same article I read a few years ago claimed that 50% of all newborns within a particular Dutch city were Muslim (which may or may not be accurate). I have to wonder if that claim was generalized to “In the Netherlands, 50% of all newborns are Muslim.”
There are approximately 1 million Muslims in the Netherlands, a nation of 16.6 million people. So Muslims makeup about 6% of the total population. Yet, we’re supposed to believe 50% of the children born in the Netherlands are Muslim? The fertility rate in the Netherlands is 1.66 children per person. Mathematically, Muslims in the Netherlands would need to have 26 children to makeup 50% of the births in the country.
Further, if we look at the countries of origin of these Muslims, we find that 2/3rds immigrated from Turkey (1.87 fertility rate) or Morocco (2.57 fertility rate).
Claim: “In only 15 years, half of the population of the Netherlands will be Muslim.”
It makes my head hurt to figure out how 1 million Muslims will outnumber 15.6 million non-Muslims in 15 years.
Claim: “In Russia, there are over 23 million Muslims, that’s 1 out of 5 Russians.”
According to Wikipedia:
According to the most recent estimates by the R&F Agency, there are more than 20 million officially self-identified Muslims in Russia, a number that has risen by 40% in the last 15 years, though no more than 6 million are truly orthodox. Roman Silantyev, a Russian Islamologist has estimated that there are only between 7 and 9 million people who practise Islam in Russia, and that the rest are only Muslims by ethnicity.
Also, Russia’s population is 140 million. Even if “23 million muslims” was accurate, that’s 16.4%, not 1 out of 5 (or 20%).
Claim: “Currently in Belgium, 25% of the population and 50% of all newborns are Muslim.”
An 2008 estimation shows that 6% of the Belgian population, about 628,751, is Muslim (98% Sunni). Muslims cover 25.5% of the population of Brussels, 4.0% of Wallonia and 3.9% of Flanders.
Maybe they mixed up “Brussels” and “Belgium”. Regardless, they inflated the percentage of Muslims in Belgium from 6% to 25%.
Again, we see the same pattern of immigration as we saw in the Netherlands – 2/3rds are Moroccans and Turkish immigrants – whose home countries have relatively low birthrates (2.57 and 1.87, respectively).
Claim: “1/3rd of all European children will be born to Muslim families by 2025, just 17 years away.”
That doesn’t seem very likely considering that Muslims currently makeup “4 percent of the European Union’s population” (Source). This particular claim about “1/3rd of all European children” appears to come from the Right-wing Brussel’s Journal.
Claim: “The German Government, the first to talk about this publicly, recently released a public saying, ‘the fall in the German population can no longer be stopped. Its downward spiral is no longer reversible… It will be a Muslim state by 2050.”
Considering that Muslims makeup 4.0% of the German population, that statement seems over the top. More than 90% of them are Turkish (fertility rate in Turkey: 1.87). A quick google search credits Walter Rademacher, vice-president of the German statistics office, with the quote.
So, do you believe that the “German Government” issued that statement? Are you wondering what Walter Rademacher actually said?
BERLIN, Germany, November 9, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Germany’s downward spiral in population is no longer reversible, the country’s federal statistics office said Tuesday. The birthrate has dropped so low that immigration numbers cannot compensate.
“The fall in the population can no longer be stopped,” vice-president Walter Rademacher with the Federal Statistics Office said, reported Agence France-Presse.
Germany has the lowest birthrate in Europe, with an average of 1.36 children per woman. Despite government incentives to encourage larger families, the population is dropping rapidly and that trend will continue, with an expected loss of as much as 12 million by 2050. That would mean about a 15 percent drop from the country’s current population of 82.4 million, the German news source Deutsche Welle reported today.
Germany has one of the largest populations of Muslim immigrants in Western Europe, with a Muslim community of over 3 million. That trend is expected to continue, leading some demographic trend-watchers to warn that the country is well on the way to becoming a Muslim state by 2050, Deutsche Welle reported.
The [Right Wing] Brussels Journal reported last month that one third of all European children will be born to Muslim families by 2025. There are an estimated 50 million Muslims living in Europe today–that number is expected to double over the next twenty years.
Wow. There’s two major distortions here:
(1) They credit the “Germany Federal Statistics Office” with the statement that “[Germany] will be a Muslim state by 2050″, when it was actually a statement made by a vague group identified as “some demographic trend-watchers”. Immediately, in the next paragraph, they mention the right-wing Brussels Journal – leading me to suspect that they are the “demographic trend-watchers”.
(2) The quote was twisted from “is well on the way to becoming a Muslim state by 2050″ into “It will be a Muslim state by 2050″.
Claim: “There are currently 52 million Muslims in Europe. The German government said that number is expected to double in the next 20 years to 104 million.”
The EU population is 491 million, 4% (19.6 million) of which are Muslim (Source).
Claim: “In the United States, the current fertility rate of American citizens is 1.6. With the influx of the latino nations, the rate increases to 2.11; the bare minimum needed to sustain a culture.”
Considering that latinos makeup only 13% of the US population, it’s hard to believe they can single-handedly bring-up the fertility rate from 1.6 to 2.11.
White 2.05 Black 2.03 American Indian 1.73 Asian 1.89 Hispanic 2.82 Total 2.04
(I think the “White” category includes “non-hispanic white” and “hispanic white” into the same category. If that’s true, then the non-hispanic white fertility rate would be around 1.8-1.9.)
Claim: “Today, there are over 9 million [muslims in the United States]“.
Reality? No one really knows. Estimates vary between 1.1 million and 8 million.
Not very likely.
This wasn’t specifically argued in the video, but I should also add that the fertility rates among Muslims (in their own countries) is also declining.
2003 6.15 (* is this accurate?) 2004 4.11 2005 4.05 2006 4 2007 3.94 2008 3.89
And the three largest Muslim countries:
2003 2.5 2004 2.47 2005 2.44 2006 2.4 2007 2.38 2008 2.34
2003 4.1 2004 4.29 2005 4.14 2006 4 2007 3.71 2008 3.73
2003 3.17 2004 3.15 2005 3.13 2006 3.11 2007 3.09 2008 3.08
And let’s not forget that some Muslim countries have already fallen below the replacement number of 2.11 (and, supposedly, below the mythical 1.9 fertility rate that the video says is very, very bad). When you look at the three most populous countries of the Middle East (Egypt, 79 million; Turkey, 70 million; Iran, 69 million), you find that Turkey and Iran have already dropped below a fertility rate of 2.0. Egypt recently dropped below a fertility rate of 3.0, and the Egyptian government is aiming to get it down to 2.0 within 8 years. All three are experiencing a decline in their fertility rates.
2003 3.02 2004 2.95 2005 2.88 2006 2.83 2007 2.77 2008 2.72
2003 2.03 2004 1.98 2005 1.94 2006 1.92 2007 1.89 2008 1.87
2003 1.99 2004 1.93 2005 1.82 2006 1.8 2007 1.71 2008 1.71
As you can see the video is littered with a number of factual errors, inflation and conflation of data on the pretext of furthering the makers’ odious agenda. It seems to be geared towards consumption by an American audience, for all effects and purposes attempting to scare the audience by saying, look what happened to Europe, it is going to happen to us if we don’t stop Muslims from coming here.
These sentiments are expressed by right-wing Christian Brenda Walker who writes in a piece Orwellianly titled, Dead Culture Walking: Muslim Immigration Should Frighten America that,
If there is anything that should make Americans’ blood run cold about immigration, it is the sight of Europe—and Britain, the home of Western civilization—being buried by millions of Muslim colonists. Europe is just hoping against hope that Islam isn’t going to explode into massive rioting (or worse), or impose total cultural Islamification.
Now the triumphs of Tours and Vienna are being trampled by immigrants, entering mostly legally. It’s a wonder the Muslims bother with terrorism at all when demography is working so well for them.
Europe’s swirl down the toilet bowl is little reported in this country largely because the Main Stream Media is not interested in showing it. The top media elites are still stuck on multiculturalism. But the European experience shows what a bogus ideology that is.
This smear against Muslims is nothing new and it really was only a matter of time before right-wingers here tried to employ the Muslim Demographic bogeyman to further their xenophobic nonsense. The truth is that Muslims in both Europe and especially America are largely integrating into their new societies. American Muslims for instance are considered the second most affluent and upwardly mobile community in America, only behind Jews. They also tend to be more educated than other citizens.
In Europe, as Dr. Tariq Ramadan noted there is a silent revolution in which Muslims have already integrated and reconciled their identities as Europeans. He says the important issue now is to move from the “integration dialogue” to a “post integration” dialogue. He also points out a double standard that Muslims are frequently subjected to, “when you do something good and positive like Zinadine Zidane no one sees that you’re a Muslim, they see you as one of them but when they see something bad from a Muslim all of a sudden they question what you are doing here and say ‘you are not from here.'”
It is important to note that propaganda videos such as these will only increase as the visibility of Muslims in the West increases. Groups that previously saw themselves as part of the elite, such as the right-wing will paint the new multi-cultural societies they live in as oppressive, ghetto and backward. They will, and already have proclaimed victim status, and with that victim status will come a doubling of the efforts to advance one of the last accepted forms of bigotry and hate: Islamophobia.