Tuesday, February 13, 2007
France's Muslims intent on forging a society distinct from the mainstream
The middle east scholar Bernard Lewis has forecast that Muslims will outnumber non-Muslims in Europe by the end of the century, and that in the meantime western governments will have to contend with the “Wahhabi menace,” which is “particularly strong among Muslim communities in Europe and America.” Niall Ferguson, too, has lamented “the extraordinary prospect of European demographic decline” while trumpeting the perils of Muslim immigration. “A youthful Muslim society to the south and east of the Mediterranean is poised to colonise—the term is not too strong—a senescent Europe.”
But a probing new book on the integration of Muslims in France by Jonathan Laurence, an American political scientist, and Justin Vaisse, a French historian, claims that there is “scant support” for assumptions such as these. The authors show that France has comparatively high fertility rates, which means it counts little on immigration for population replacement, and that just as fertility is rising among non-Muslims, it is dropping among Muslims.