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Allahs Sonne über dem Abendland

 

Looking to the left from our back patio

 

Years ago, perhaps at the very beginning of graduate school, I bought and read a book entitled Allahs Sonne über dem Abendland (“Allah’s Sun over the West,” or, more literally, “Allah’s Sun over the Evening Land”).

 

Much has been written about the demographic decline of Europe (which is far more threatening to the continent than its current economic woes, awful as they are) and there have been several discussions in print about its seemingly impending Islamization.

 

I don’t intend to rehearse any of the really striking statistics right now.  But I want to offer some impressions.

 

Looking straight ahead from our back patio

 

Years ago, during a trip that took me to some really off-the-beaten-path towns in central and northern England, I was very surprised to see evidently substantial Muslim populations in areas where I wouldn’t have expected them.  London, of course, in the vicinity of Hyde Park (for example), has long had visibly Muslim areas (and excellent Middle Eastern restaurants).  But seeing halal butchers’ shops and veiled women pushing prams in even very remote and nondescript English towns was something I hadn’t expected.

 

I’ve now, on this trip, been in German-speaking central Europe for a week.  When I lived in Switzerland as a missionary, back in the dimly-remembered 1970s, I met — I think — one Muslim, a Pakistani banker.  (Thereby hangs a tale that I may or may not have told on this blog, and won’t recount now, but have told elsewhere.  It’s not exactly flattering to me.)  During the past week, though, I’ve seen many heavily covered Muslim women with their husbands and children.  (The husbands and children are less obviously Muslim in appearance.)

 

I would guess that roughly a third to a half of the customers that we’ve seen during our forays into the local supermarket here in Maria Alm have been Muslims.  We’ve seen them at every site we’ve visited.  We saw them in our first hotel, near Munich.  We saw them in Lauterbrunnen.

 

A couple of nights ago, sitting out on our patio, I distinctly heard the first line — though, oddly, only the first line — of the Muslim call to prayer, the adhan.

 

From our early afternoon drive over to St. Johann im Pongau

 

This is, I know, anecdotal evidence.  It proves nothing.  But, on a day when I’ve been reading about the coming to power in Egypt of the Muslim Brotherhood, it certainly illustrates vividly for me, at least, the increasing international reach and assertiveness and presence of Islam, and specifically of a rather conservative form of Islam.  (I’ve seen more severely veiled women in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria over the past week, I think, than I did in four years of living in Egypt between 1978 and 1982.)

 

Incidentally, my wife and I drove over, today, to the town of Sankt Johann im Pongau, which is near Bischofshofen.  We have friends who will be staying there next week, and we were resigned to the thought that their place would probably be nicer than ours.  I’m happy to say, though, that, even though Sankt Johann is pretty, Maria Alm is prettier.  We win.

 

Maria Alm, Austria.

 

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  • Raymond Takashi Swenson

    Discussions about demographic changes remind me of the C.M. Kornbluth science fiction story, The Marching Morons, in which a 20th Century salesman is cvidentally preserved some five centuries into the future, in which a small highly intelligent minority secretly runs the world while the vast majority of mankind has substandard intelligence. It turns out that the reluctance of intellient people to have more than one child, while less intelligent people reproduced at breakneck speed, resulted over time in total population dominance by mentally challenged people. This is not a dig at Muslims, but simpky an observation that people who want to perpetuate their culture first have to create a new generation to hand it off to.

    Current demographic trends seem to foreshadow a replacement of most of the European population within a century or so by people who have little identification with the European culture that has developed over two millennia under the influence of the Roman Empire and Christianity. The intentional secularism of much of Europe, and the lack of involvement in Christianity, seems to have removed any barrier to cultural dominance by Islamic traditionsfrom states like Pakistan. There seems to be little acculturation of Islamic immigrants into the secular or religious traditions of the nations they live in. The native Europeans seem to be playing the role of Indians to the Islamic cowboys, the European population decimated not by exotic disease but lack of interest in raising children. Eventually the Pope could be surrounded in Rome with Muslims in the way the Patriarchs have been in Instanbul.

    Over in the US, if the LDS population continues to grow at its historical rate, the number of US Mormons could reach between 50 and 100 million by 2100. That is an astounding figure, and may run up against some inherent limit of the ability to adopt the disciplined lifestyle of the LDS, but if the Mormon trends are as reliable as the Muslim trends, 2112 could see a US dominated by a large Mormon minority as the overall population shrinks, with a western Europe with a near majority of Muslims. No science fiction story I have ever read has considered how these demographic trends will affect the world. But who could have forseen the events of the last century in 1912?


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