Religious immigrants to Europe resistant to secularization

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Conservative Protestants have relatively high fertility rates.[1] (Picture: Protestant church pulpit in Europe)

In 2011, a paper was published entitled The End of Secularization in Europe?: A Socio-Demographic Perspective. The authors of the paper were: Eric Kaufmann - Birkbeck College, University of London; Anne Goujon - World Population Program, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA); Vegard Skirbekk World Population Program, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA).[2]

An excerpt from the paper by Kaufmann, Goujon and Skirbekk:

Conservative Protestants, a much larger group than the Mormons, also benefit from relatively high fertility. Hout et al. (2001) find that three-quarters of the growth of conservative Protestant denominations against their liberal counterparts is due to fertility advantage rather than conversion.

In Europe, there has been less attention paid to fertility differences between denominations. However, several studies have discovered that immigrants to Europe tend to be more religious than the host population and — especially if Muslim—tend to retain their religiosity (Van Tubergen 2006). Though some indicators point to modest religious decline toward the host society mean, other trends suggest that immigrants become more, rather than less, religious the longer they reside in the host society (Van Tubergen 2007). All of which indicates that religious decline may fail at the aggregate level even if it is occurring at the individual level (Kaufmann 2006, 2010). This article thereby investigates the hypothesis that a combination of higher religious fertility, immigration, and slowing rates of religious apostasy will eventually produce a reversal in the decline of the religious population of Western Europe.[3]

Research indicates that among ethnic minority immigrants religion is a source of group ethnic identification which makes them more resistant to secularization.[4] In most countries, with the exception of France, Muslim immigrants have nearly 100% retention rates for the second generation.[5]

National Interest reported in 2017:

Since the rise of the Islamic State in 2014, the United States and Europe have seen a dramatic increase in the number of terror attacks and attempted attacks perpetrated in the name of Islam. Concurrently, the migrant crisis has brought a massive flood of immigrants to Europe from Muslim-majority countries, which has resulted in a rise in sexual assaults, among other things...

Europe’s experience with Muslim immigration is, of course, vastly different than America’s, where assimilation of immigrant populations into mainstream society has been more successful. There are a number of reasons for this, all of which should give Americans confidence and provide an example for Europe to emulate as it grapples with the migrant crisis.

Last week, the Pew Research Center released its latest survey of American Muslims (previous surveys were conducted in 2007 and 2011), providing the public with an updated peek into the views and religious practices of Muslims in America. The 3.35 million adult Muslims living in America today make up about one percent of the population. Of these adult Muslims, about 82 percent are U.S. citizens...

American Muslims, according to the survey, are fairly observant, including their dress, daily prayers and mosque attendance. A slim majority appears not to adhere to fundamentalist views. Of those surveyed, 52 percent said that traditional understandings of Islam need a new interpretation and a majority (64 percent) said that there is more than one true way to interpret Islam. While a significant percentage obviously have a strict interpretation of Islam, ...they do not make up the majority.

An important question that the Pew Research Center has asked in its three surveys of American Muslims concerns views about homosexuality. This is used as a metric for assimilation because the center has found that in most Muslim-majority countries, views toward homosexuality are extremely negative. Any evidence that this has changed among Muslim immigrants in the United States would be a sign of assimilation to liberal-social norms. The center found that “today, about half of U.S. Muslims say homosexuality should be accepted by society (52%), while 33% say homosexuality should be discouraged. By comparison, in 2011, 39% of Muslims said homosexuality should be accepted; in 2007, just 27% held this view.”

Another important metric for measuring assimilation is the extent to which immigrant populations mix with members outside of their community. The survey found that Muslims are less likely to say all or most of their friends are Muslim than they were in either 2011 or 2007. Today, only 36 percent made that assertion compared with 49 percent in 2011. Also, 55 percent said that Americans are friendly toward them, which is up from 48 percent in 2011, although 75 percent said there is a lot of discrimination toward Muslims...

These results stand in stark contrast to the attitudes and behavior of Muslims in Europe, where there is less pride taken in belonging to a given country and a higher degree of isolation and ostracization. A 2016 survey found that 44 percent of Muslims in Europe hold fundamentalist beliefs, described as “a belief in returning to the roots of Islam, coupled with an adherence to a strict interpretation of the Quran.” The survey also found that 57 percent would not be friends with homosexuals and 54 percent think of the West as an enemy of Islam. In France, 72 percent of Muslims reportedly would prefer Sharia law to be the primary or sole law of the land. In the UK, 69 percent feel the same way, according to the survey.

Why such a contrast? As the survey data shows, Europe has struggled to assimilate not only those Muslims who have lived there for decades but also the more recent surge of migrants from the Middle East and North Africa.[6]

Professor Eric Kaufmann says about a graph showing the correlation between the projected growth of the Muslim propulation and the rise of right-wing nationalism in a country:

Figure 1 shows an important relationship between projected Muslim population share in 2030 and support for the populist right across 16 countries in Western Europe. Having worked with IIASA World Population Program researchers who generated cohort-component projections of Europe’s Muslim population for Pew in 2011, I am confident their projections are the most accurate and rigorous available. I put this together with election and polling data for the main West European populist right parties using the highest vote share or polling result I could find. Note the striking 78 percent correlation (R2 of .61) between projected Muslim share in 2030, a measure of both the level and rate of change of the Muslim population, and the best national result each country’s populist right has attained."[7]

Samuel P. Huntington's thesis on the The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order keeps getting vindicated.

Islamic creationism and resistance to assimilation

In recent years Britain, the birthplace of Darwinism, has seen a large influx of Muslim immigrants. Most religious Muslims are creationists.[8] In the UK, between the years 2001 and 2009 the Muslim population increased nearly 10 times faster than the non-Muslim population.[9] See also: Islam and belief in creationism

The British newspaper The Telegraph reported in an article entitled Richard Dawkins: Muslim parents 'import creationism' into schools:

Prof Dawkins, a well-known atheist, also blamed the Government for accommodating religious views and allowing creationism to be taught in schools.

"Most devout Muslims are creationists so when you go to schools, there are a large number of children of Islamic parents who trot out what they have been taught," Prof Dawkins said in a Sunday newspaper interview.

"Teachers are bending over backwards to respect home prejudices that children have been brought up with. The Government could do more, but it doesn't want to because it is fanatical about multiculturalism and the need to respect the different traditions from which these children come."[10]

See also