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Email: "Muslim Demographics"

October 02, 2009 4:11 pm ET

The following email has been widely forwarded.  Media Matters Action Network has written a response to the text below.  Please feel free to copy and paste it and send to your friends.

Muslim Demographics

[note - all mistakes below are original to text of email]


Hey, thanks for sending this my way.  I watched the video all the way through and I have to admit, if you believe the statistics at face value, some of these figures are a bit striking.  Such low fertility rates paint a pretty bleak future for some European nations and their ability to grow their economies.  I know that Japan is having severe economic problems because of an aging population and a low fertility rate.  But let's deal with the claims of the video.

First, the video states that in order for a society to replace itself, the fertility rate must be 2.11.  This is true.  Anything less than that rate means that without immigration, the population deceases.  But that statistic is for developed nations where there is a relatively low infant mortality rate.  In countries with high infant mortality rates, the replacement rate is much higher. 

Check out the fertility rates in European countries.  You will note that rates have increased in many countries. You will also note that the statistics mentioned in the video are not accurate.  The video claims that the fertility rate in Spain as of 2007 was 1.1.

Also, the video claims that "of all population growth sense 1990, 90% has been Islamic immigration."  First of all, there is no such thing as "Islamic immigration."  That is such a ridiculous notion.  We don't call immigration from Latin America "Catholic immigration" or Chinese immigration into Canada as "Buddhist immigration" so it makes no sense to call immigration from Morocco to The Netherlands or Turks to Germany as "Islamic immigration."  Secondly, the statistics are that a majority of population growth has been from immigration in general, not some supposed "Islamic immigration."  Muslim is not a fixed identity.  As the (non partisan) Brookings Institution notes:

When it comes to Muslims, people wrongly assume that religion - rather than nationality, gender, social class, etc. - necessarily trumps other identities.

Next, the video claims that in France, the fertility rate for the population in general is 1.8 while the rate for Muslims is 8.1.  This is an atrocious fabrication.  The majority of immigrants into France come from francophone Africa, especially Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia.  According to the CIA Factbook, the fertility rate is 1.79 in Algeria, 2.51 in Morocco and 1.72 in Tunisia.  How can the rate among immigrants in France be 8.1?

The video next goes on to state 30% of children age 20 and younger in France are Muslim and makes the claim that in 39 years, France will become an Islamic Republic.  I am amazed at how the people who made this video know these figures given the fact that the U.S. State Department notes that the French Government "does not keep statistics on religious affiliation."  How can these people have statistics that the French government itself does not have?

The claim that "in the Netherlands, 50% of all newborns are Muslim" is equally absurd.  According to the BBC:

Like many European countries, the Netherlands does not routinely collect information about religious belief as part of its population statistics.

There is a tradition in Europe that religious belief is a matter of personal conscience and should not be mixed up with the detailed data that is used to track births, deaths and migration.

However, the Dutch statisticians do conduct surveys of religious belief independently of their wider population data.

And we know from their latest research that roughly five per cent of the population in the Netherlands is Muslim - around 850,000 people.

So five per cent of the population is responsible for 50 per cent of the babies?


That means, even when you adjust for age differences between the two populations, fertile Muslim women would still need to be giving birth at 14 times the rate of their fertile non-Muslim neighbours.

Next, the video claims that there are 23 million Muslims in Russia but this claim seems to be from a single source.  According to the CIA, there are 140 million people in Russia and 10-15% are Muslim.  That would mean that anywhere from 14 million to 21 million are Muslim.  A small difference, but a difference nonetheless.  Second, Muslims have lived in Russia for hundreds of years and many regions where Muslim majorities or significant Muslim minorities live was part of the Soviet Union.

And then the video claims that 25% of the population in Belgium is Muslim.  While it is true that a significant minority of Muslims live in Brussels, the actual rate is closer to 6%.

The video claims that Germany will be a Muslim state by 2050 and that the Muslim population will double in the next 40 years. 

According to the BBC:

But the video doesn't just rely on statistics, it also uses an official Government statement. It quotes it as saying: "The fall in German population can no longer be stopped. Its downward spiral is no longer reversible. It will be a Muslim state by the year 2050."

The statement in question was made by then vice-president of the Federal Statistics Office, Walter Radermacher, who is now chief statistician of the European Union. He says that while it is true he said Germany's population was in decline, the last part of the quote [in italics] is just an invention. He said nothing about Germany becoming a Muslim state.

"The quotation which reads as if the German government believed that Germany will become a Muslim state is simply not true," he says. "There is no source which can be quoted that the German government has published such an expression or opinion."


Mr Radermacher adds: "That is not true. The German government does not believe that the Muslim population will double in the next 40 or 50 years. There are no reliable sources that give a proof for that assumption."

The video also claims that there are 9 million Muslims in the United States.  While there are several different statistics, nothing places that number anywhere close to 9 million.  According to the American Religious Identification Survey, there are 1,349,000 Muslims in the United States.

The Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life puts the figure at .6% of the population or roughly, 1.8 million Muslims.

Despite the ominous voice of the narrator, this video is really well-made.  However, almost every single statistic in this video is wrong and affirms the joke that "98% of all statistics are made up."  Worst of all, it aims to portray rising Muslim populations around the world as some sort of threat.  Indeed, cultures do change.  The culture of Europe is, indeed, changing, just as the culture of the United States has changed dramatically since 1950, but change is nothing to fear.  I hope you don't buy into this scaremongering and correct those of your friends that buy into this sort of fabrication.

Let's chat soon.


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