As other answers here have indicated, the hundreds of thousands to few million refugees will not drastically change the demographics of Europe any time soon.showcase the sheer size of the European population in respect to the population of incoming migrants and refugees. To date, if we look at some sources (Page on ) we can see that migration into Europe probably accounts for no more than around 1% of the total population of Europe. This isn’t a significant enough amount of the total population to drastically upset most Europeans in the near term.
If we look at the other side of the coin, however, and start to look at specific European nations, we do see a different story that needs to be explored.
From the same sources, some nations have seen their population largely replaced by non-EU residents. Currently, the total population percentage of non-EU residents living in Europe is around 4% while, as of 2014, nations like Germany and France both had around 5% of their population being comprised of people born from outside the European Union. Given Europe’s embrace of liberal ideals such as a free and open democracy, as well as its outlays of generous social welfare, this could prove difficult for some countries, which have seen a stable population up this point. This is a sizable minority that has some power to influence change, particularly in the smaller nations of Europe. For example, nations like Switzerland are composed of more than 27% expatriate residents. Nations like Hungary are seeing a complete population upheaval. There, the population grew by 2% in only 5 months.
Number of migrants in Hungary per week, May–September 2015
Places like Hungary, Greece, and other states along the periphery of Europe, those most affected by the Dublin Regulation, are having measurable crisis level effects due to the population shifts, which, if they become permanent, will cause at least one generation of population rebalancing. This will mean resources will need to be diverted for as much as a decade until the new population can integrate and become part of the productive economy. In the meantime, the native population will suffer the burden of carrying these populations at as their own individual political power wanes. Trapped in the circle of welfare dependence on the state, the new migrants will serve as a contentious political force in these countries.
The long term effects are what are more concerning, however. In France we have seen several generations of this take place. Following the Algerian War, huge numbers of immigrants fleeing the war torn region moved into France. This had the effect of leaving France today home to more than 10% of its population being practicing Muslims. Most of these people integrated into French society peacefully. The problem we’ve seen, however, is that many of these Islamic populations are failing to adapt to the broader culture that others have. In France and other parts of Europe, whole families and extended families will move in together, occupying entire tenement floors, or apartment buildings, effectively colonizing neighborhoods to the point of erecting all Islamic schools. Some have referred to this as, comparing them to other cities where certain minorities, or even the majority populations are not allowed to entered. I’ve seen no valid evidence that any form of strict Sharia type micro states have taken root in Europe, as some are calling them, but the communities have proven difficult for some of the native population to penetrate, mostly through their own self enforced isolation as much as social ostracism of outsiders. This has had the impact of forcing out some natives due to the new migrants failing to acclimate to the culture – thereby transforming it.
Baroness Warsi, a leading British Muslim, has warned their congregations and communities against these insular communities.
“We’ve been treating our communities like foreign embassies… where rules from abroad apply and wider society keeps well out if. And for too long, cultural sensitives often led our leaders to become morally blind.”
Where this causes the most damage is generations later. While the original people who left Algeria may have been fleeing the kind of violence we are seeing in Syria today, their children and grandchildren are going up identifying more with their Islamic roots than their French ones. Vice News recently did a piece detailing the rise of ISIS and one of their articles centered around the brainwashing and mind-control utilized by many of the ISIS recruiters in European populations.
“It’s easy to say these terrorist bombers are sickos, they’re psychopaths, they’re criminals. But if you look at who they were before they were recruited, a lot of them were very good, moral people from great homes, with good education.”
The Vice series supports the work of Haroon Ullah with the School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University. According to Ullah’s findings, it isn’t the poor and uneducated that are joining these terrorist organizations, as many believe. It is many middle class kids with access to education, which are falling away to fundamentalist ideology. The key determinate here seems to be that the failure to acclimate to the Western way of life, while still having access to Western educations is causing these kids to identify more with Islam than with the countries which took in their parents and grandparent. Harkening to the glory days of Islam, and resentful of their meager to moderate stature in Europe, they accept violence and upheaval against their new homes in retaliation for violation of their own beliefs. This came as a surprise to many of their parents, many of whom are descended from people fleeing oppression or terror themselves, who would classify themselves, as would most people, as moderates. These moderates are the types of people coming into Europe right now, people who have the resources and wealth to make it at least in Germany, France, and the interior of Europe. The question that will determine the fate of Europe in the future is if these nations will create a strategy to help these people align and integrate into Western culture, or if they will create zones within the continent where the various Middle Eastern cultures, ethnicities, and religions push out other cultures in place of their own. In the former option, the high aims of diversity will create a stronger, more robust Europe, while the latter will create a Europe that will be even more divisive and dangerous a place than it has suddenly become over the last year.
This impacts mostly those cultures that run contrast to Islam specifically. As mentioned, another major concern is that, given enough time, these effects may combine to push out native populations, or those populations not currently welcomed by Muslims abroad, from their native regions. Lebanon, a country in the heart of the Middle East and home to the region’s largest Christian populations is a case study. The first official census in 1926 indicated 84% of the population were Christian, the most recent census in 2012 showed that that population has reduced to less than 40%.
Lebanon aside, the greatest example of this it actually Turkey and its non-existent Christian population. Most would not look to Turkey today as being a key Christian nation, but that is only if one is looking at Turkey through a current frame of reference. While the region has been home to large Muslim populations even before the Ottoman Empire, its history is marked as a key center of influence for Christians. The region was responsible for much of the growth and evolution of the Christian faith which has caused it to maintain a large Christian population throughout its history of Muslim rule. Even stretching into the 1900’s, Turkey had a Christian population of at least 22%. Today, however, in spite of the religions incredible history there and eons of Christian populations which used to exist in the state, Christian Turks number only .21% of the overall population, less than 1% of their total number not 100 years ago. To help explain this one should research events such as took place in 1915 where over half a million Armenians were pushed out modern Turkey into Syria and modern day Armenia, or the over 800,000 Greek Christians pushed out of their homes and resettled in Greece from 1915 to 1923. These two events do not explain the whole of the hollowing out of Christian Turkey, but begin to explain its phenomenal decline. This argument was recently brought back to the table by Pope Francis when he made this point.
“Concealing or denying evil is like allowing a wound to keep bleeding without bandaging it,”
Here is a map of Istanbul (not Constantinople) alone, to serve a point of reference.
Some data points include the closure and forced conversion of many of the major Christian Churches of the region. Fully 23 of the largest and most historical churches were converted to mosques. Some of these were the largest religious centers in Europe, not the least of which being world cultural heritage sites like the Hagia Sophia, the center-point of Eastern Orthodox Christianity. Much of this happened under the rule of various Islamic Empires, most notoriously, the Ottomans who attempted to supplement the power of the royal state with that of their definition of a religious Caliphate, not unlike the Islamic State today. That said, purging of Christians from the country has endured long after the fall of the Ottoman Empires. Following the collapse of the Empire, millions of Christians were forced into exile into Greece, the Balkans, and the Levant while millions more Muslims colonized their former homes from failed Islamic nations. The last century has had the effect of seeing the nation’s entire faith utterly wiped out. Advocates for Turkey’s progress towards embracing of modern Western values fail to fully appreciate the modern crisis of Christians there to what amounts to cultural genocide. This is true to the point that even our current sitting president, and no champion of Christian international rights, spoke to the failure of Turkey in allowing and supporting the removal and desolation of the Christian population there.
Former U.S. President Bill Clinton has criticized Turkey for its shrinking Christian population. “While your population is growing, why is your Christian Orthodox community shrinking?” he asked. He specifically cited the forced closing, in 1971, of Halki International Seminary, an important school of theology for the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the continuing failure to reopen it. Located on the island of Heybeliada, the seminary is particularly important to the Greek Orthodox. Both the U.S. Congress and the European Union have suggested that Turkey’s entry into the EU should be contingent upon the reopening of the seminary and greater respect for religious minorities such as Orthodox Christians. President Obama echoed this sentiment in his 2009 speech to the Turkish parliament.
For Europe, this behavior is mostly a threat in regions where religion is seeing a secular backslide. In places like Serbia, for example, the population is nearly 100% Christian, however most are practicing atheists. This is because in these states, one is born into the official state church, but not required to practice. Under Islam, there is little tradition of allowing such behavior. Practicing usually comes with intense social pressure, inescapable if one lives near the family. Islam was built as both a political, as well as religious structure. It has built in mechanisms to prevent its followers from leaving the faith, which bring in familial ties to enforce adherence and a strict code of religious discipline. Where it becomes the majority faith, many nations have seen apostasy, or the leaving of Islam, outlawed by the state by the punishment of death. If not outlawed by the state, often these punishments are carried out by the families, along with various other acts of barbarity, up to and including murder in the form of “honor killings” and a form of intense sexual assault known as FGM, or.
These cases, to be sure, are the extreme, but where they get a foothold they make it very hard for followers of Islam to experience the same freedom to choose other faiths, or none at all, as is the right enjoyed throughout the West. This, among other reasons, is part of why so many fundamentalists have expressed a deep revulsion of democratic societies, for pulling away their young people with blasphemous disbelief against their faith. More so, they create animosity between Muslims and non-Muslims where enforcement of Islamic law and tradition run against the norms and values of their host cultures.
The last major point that must be discussed is international intervention from outside Europe on behalf of the refugees by way of Islamic religious interference. By this, I am referring to Saudi Arabia’s recent offer to build over 200 Sunni mosques throughout Germany to help serve the needs of the migrants in transition. This offer was not well received by many, who felt it a disingenuous since most states of the Arabian Peninsula have offered nothing in the way of allowing these refugees to seek safe homes in Saudi Arabia and the neighboring countries. It doesn’t help that within Europe, a number of these same affiliated mosques are where several of the known terrorists originated already.
Rather, it was viewed for what it was, an attempt by the Saudi Arabian government, a strict monarchy with close ties to the ruling religious Imams over the most religiously significant region in Islam, to spread their collective influence throughout the European continent. By building mosques instead of inviting in refugees, the Imams gain access to unreached numbers of Muslims throughout Europe. As I mentioned before, Islam was designed to serve as both a religious and political engine. This would have allowed Mecca to directly influence the daily lives of many European Muslims even more so than they had power to in Syria five years ago. Where the King of Saudi Arabia benefits is through political favor in Germany by the activation of a politically charged Islamic minority. It’s a great deal, as it achieves the goal of turning refugees which Saudi Arabia didn’t want to help, into European colonists and political agents, which the Saudis don’t even have to care for. Fortunately, I this offer was rejected according to the wisdom of Germany.
In closing, looking at the raw numbers is not enough to answer the question of how will Europe change as a result of migrant crisis. It isn’t that they make up a comparatively large number. They still number less than 1% of the total population of Europe. Given the sheer volume of displaced peoples, however, and the unique demographics of this particular group, along with the fact that they all came at such a short interval together creates challenges that hasn’t been seen Europe for almost 70 years. This post also isn’t to say that Muslims will “drive out Christians” from Europe, but to showcase that the two populations are not the same. How they interact with others is not the same, and a Europe which treats the incoming Muslims with the sort of ignorance to their own cultural norms will have a rude awakening when it has ignored the care which must be taken to integrate this new population into European societies. Care will have to be taken on their part to ensure that each of the new migrants and refugees doesn’t retreat into isolation and insular communities, but integrates into the culture and society of their new European homes. If Europe isn’t successful in this, I am afraid that the Europe of 2050 will look nothing like the Europe of today. In the best case scenario, it will be a vibrant mixing pot of old world culture and ideas. In the worst case, we might see the same terrorism we are seeing today continue on for generations.
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