Upon witnessing what looks like an unending stream of terrorist attacks in Europe that was preceded by a major influx of refugees attempting to escape war and destruction that the West created across the Middle East and North Africa, it’s safe to say that Islamophobia is here to stay, at least among political circles in the EU and US. Earlier this year, US President Donald Trump went as far as to prohibit citizens of a total of seven Muslim-majority nations from entering the United States.
One cannot ignore the possibility of new terrorist attacks being committed in the future, so the fear that most Europeans share these days cannot be discarded as groundless. But those attacks don’t represent a major threat either to the EU or the US. It should be remembered that back in 2016 terrorist attacks resulted in in the death of a total of 150 Europeans. However, in the same region a total of 26,000 perished in car accidents, while another 400,000 died from extreme levels of air pollution. Yet, European politicians and media sources are inclined to present the string of terrorist attacks that hit the EU as both evil and as an existential threat.
What’s even worse, we are being told now that Islam, a religion unrelated to the actual fanaticism driving terrorism unfortunately referred to as Islamism, represents a major threat to the European way of life and a set of values that most Europeans share. But how does the situation on the ground actually looks?
In the European media more often one can see publications with “scarecrows”, how Islam will swallow Europe and forever destroy its traditional values. Therefore, it is not superfluous to find out how things are really affected with Islam in the world.
According to a report drafted by the Pew Research Center back in 2015, Muslims make up a majority of the population in 49 countries around the world. It’s been noted that there were an estimated 1.6 billion Muslims around the world back in 2010, which makes Islam the world’s second-largest religious tradition after Christianity. And although some may be inclined to associate Islam with countries of the Middle East or North Africa, nearly two-thirds (62%) of Muslims live in the Asia-Pacific region, notes the Pew Research Center. In fact, more Muslims live in India and Pakistan (344 million combined) than in the entire Middle East-North Africa region (317 million).
If Europe is to be discussed, it’s curious how many readers are incapable of answering which European country hosts a total of 16 million Muslims. No, it’s not France with its five million, and not Germany with a total Muslim population there barely reaching four million, and it’s not the UK for sure with a total of only three million Muslims residing there.
There’s yet another curious question that nobody seems to be able to answer: which European city serves as a home for almost 2 million Muslims and, presumably, provides shelter for up two million more Muslim migrants? – No, this is not Paris with a total Muslim population of 1.5 million people and not London with one million Muslim residents.
The answer to both of these questions is pretty simple: the country hosting the largest Muslim population in Europe is Russia. And the city with the largest Muslim population in Europe is Moscow. For sure, this is only true if you don’t believe that Istanbul is a European city, and Turkey a European country.
The Pew Research Center believes that by 2050 the number of Muslims worldwide will grow to 2.76 billion, or 29.7% of the world’s population. As for the United States, Muslims are projected to double from 0.9% of the population in 2010 to 2.1% by 2050.
There’s little doubt that Muslims are going to be the world’s fastest-growing major religious group in the decades ahead. In the period between 2010 and 2015, births to Muslims made up an estimated 31% of all babies born around the world.
Additionally, it’s been noted that in recent years, Christians have had a disproportionately large share of the world’s deaths (37%) – in large part because of the relatively advanced age of Christian populations in some places. This is especially true in Europe, where the number of deaths already is estimated to exceed the number of births among Christians. It’s a particularly worrisome trend for Germany, since there, there’s been an estimated 1.4 million more Christian deaths than births between 2010 and 2015, a pattern that is expected to continue across much of Europe in the decades ahead.
Unfortunately, one has to admit that a number of European politicians are not ashamed to admit that they adhere to the neo-fascist and white supremacy ideologies. So it comes as no surprise that they are not ashamed to spread Islamophobia to gain cheap and easy popularity. Those steps have been particularly visible in the Baltic states, which have closed their borders completely to Muslim refugees.
The latest security conference that was held in the Latvian capital of Riga gathered experts from different European countries who took time to discuss global risks and public safety, criminal trends and the strategies that law enforcement agencies should adopt. However, one of the leading Latvian lawyers, Aivar Borovkov didn’t hesitate to express his Islamophobic views at the conference, urging European leaders to start a fight against Muslims.
Similar views have been repeatedly expressed by a prominent professor of the University of Latvia, Leon Taiwans. Recently, at a meeting with a local Lutheran community in the city of Talsi, he noted that Europeans have no future to look forward to, since European civilization is dying. Therefore, according to his statements, the main enemies of the EU are Islam and refugees from the Middle East.
However, other European politicians have gone very far from such Islamophobic remarks. Thus, during the recent presidential election campaign in France, François Fillon urged local politcal elites to think about establishing strict control over Islam in the Fifth Republic.
However, if, against this background, someone sincerely believes in the victory over Islam using the barbaric cruelty that crusaders would use in a bid to destroy Islam and Muslims, this is certainly a dead-end that will in no way reduce the risk of new terrorist attacks from occurring.
Grete Mautner is an independent researcher and journalist from Germany, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”