There's an incisve analysis in the current issue of Newsweek of the flawed assumptions that go into alarmist "Eurabia" demographic-threat rhetoric we hear so often on the Far Right.
It points out that a lot of the numbers that get thrown around in this debate are not only pure speculation, but speculation by people with anti-immigration agendas.
Here's the crux of the article. "Why Fears Of A Muslim Takeover Are All Wrong" by William Underhill (NEWSWEEK – Jul 20, 2009):
For the number of Muslims to outnumber non-Muslims by midcentury, it would require either breeding on a scale rarely seen in history or for immigration to continue at a pace that's now politically unacceptable. More likely, new controls will slow Muslim immigration. The birthrate for Muslim immigrants is also likely to continue to decline, as it has tended to do, with greater affluence and better health care. There is no Europewide data available, but one study says fertility rates among Turkish-born women in the Netherlands fell from 3.2 in 1990 to 1.9 in 2005, barely above the figure for native-born Dutch. Over the same period, the equivalent figure for Moroccan-born women in the Netherlands dropped from 4.9 to 2.9. Also, fertility rates are edging upward in some Northern European countries, which would offset some of the Muslim growth. Bottom line: given the number of variables, demographers are loath to make predictions about the number of Muslims in Europe in the years to come. "You would almost have to make it up," says Carl Haub, the senior demographer at the Population Reference Bureau in Washington. And the idea of a Muslim majority any time soon? "Absolutely absurd."
Read the whole thing. It covers a lot of ground.
HT: Indigo Jo