Eurabia: Will Europe Preserve its Heritage?
With birthrates among traditional Europeans in decline and rapid population growth among Europe's Muslims, one European asks whether Europe wants to preserve its traditional identity.
by Paul Kieffer
Members of Western democratic parliaments are known to voice concerns on issues beyond their own national borders. Topics like human rights, poverty, AIDS in the developing world and other issues sometimes echo from the halls of Congress, the British Parliament, Germany's Bundestag and elsewhere.
Perhaps the most memorable example of a member of parliament (MP) speaking out on a perceived danger abroad was British MP Winston Churchill during the 1930s. On numerous occasions Churchill warned his country of the danger it faced from the ascent of German dictator Adolf Hitler. Accused of "scaremongering," Churchill did not relent. When British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain returned as a hero from his 1938 meeting in Munich with Hitler, proclaiming "peace in our time," Churchill predicted a future "day of reckoning."
The rest of the story is history.
For the last six years a Western European politician has made it his mission in life to warn his own countrymen – and anyone else in Europe who will listen – about a threat staring Europe in the face within its own continental borders. The threat he perceives is the demise of Europe's traditional cultural and religious identity as a result of the gradual Islamization of Europe.
Who is he? He is Geert Wilders, a member of the Dutch parliament and a vocal opponent of "Eurabia."
Who is Geert Wilders?
Some readers may not recognize Geert Wilders' name. After all, the Netherlands is not one of the world's larger countries and most people – even in Europe – do not follow the Dutch domestic political scene closely. Wilders is 47 years old and was born in the city of Venlo on the Dutch-German border. He was raised a Roman Catholic but left the church upon reaching adulthood. Despite leaving the Catholic Church, Wilders supports what he calls "Judeo-Christian values."
After completing his education, Wilders traveled to the Middle East, where he lived in Israel for a time and also visited some of the neighboring Arab countries. The impressions he took home from those visits have shaped his personal assessment of Islam, which he says is similar to the viewpoint of none other than Winston Churchill. Churchill, as a young man, served as a soldier and war correspondent in the late 1890s in British India (in what is today Pakistan) and the Sudan.
Churchill summed up his perception of Islam's effects on its adherents: "The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist . . . Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities – but the influence of the religion paralyzes the social development of those who follow it."
And Churchill concluded: "No stronger retrograde force exists in the world" (The River War, 1899).
At the beginning of his political career, Wilders worked as a speechwriter for the conservative-liberal People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD). He moved to Utrecht in 1996 and was elected to the city council and in 2002 to the lower house of the Dutch parliament.
Wilders had problems with his party's position on admitting Turkey as a member of the European Union, leading him to form his own party in 2004, now called the Party for Freedom (PVV). EU membership for Turkey would eventually mean more Muslims living elsewhere in Europe, although Wilders already sees Europe's cultural and religious heritage threatened by the current Muslim population of Europe. Wilders points out that 100 years ago there were fewer than 100 Muslims living in the Netherlands, compared to nearly 1 million today out of a total population of some 16 million.
Wilders pulls no punches about his desire to see limits placed on the influence of Islam in the Netherlands and Europe. He is against the use of any language but Dutch in mosques located in the Netherlands. He also opposes the construction of new mosques in his country.
Speaking in the Dutch parliament, he once said that the Koran should be banned in the Netherlands, adding that if Islam's holy book were to be stripped of passages proclaiming violence, it would be reduced to the size of a comic book.
With this opinion, Wilders is on the same page as Pope Benedict XVI. In a speech given in Regensburg in September 2006, Benedict quoted a medieval Christian emperor who equated Islam with violence: "Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached."
Accused of being a racist, Wilders counters by saying that he does not hate Muslims. Instead, he just hates Islam. On his own blog, Wilders summarizes that viewpoint: "The purpose of Islam is the total submission of oneself and others to the unknowable Allah, whom we must serve through total obedience to Muhammad as leader of the Islamic state (suras 3:31, 4:80, 24:62, 48:10, 57:28)." According to Wilders, history teaches us that Muhammad was not a prophet of love and compassion, but a mass murderer and a tyrant: "Muslims could not have a more deplorable role model."
Growing popularity and influence
Geert Wilders is typically characterized by the mainstream media as being a right-wing populist, an anti-Islam agitator or xenophobic. And yet twice in annual public opinion surveys he was rated the second-most-popular politician in the Netherlands. In order to remain independent, his PVV refuses to accept a government subsidy available during election campaigns (all other Dutch parties accept the government subsidy).
In June's parliamentary elections, Geert Wilders' party, the PVV, won 24 of the 150 seats in the lower house, a remarkable increase over its previous result of nine seats in 2006. Wilders originally agreed to support a minority coalition government formed by two other conservative parties, which would have given him considerable leverage in the new government. However, the arrangement collapsed when members of one of the parties had reserverations about being supported by Wilders.
Wilders has had to pay a price for his stance on Islam, however. He has received numerous death threats and has been constantly accompanied by six bodyguards since a letter threatening his death was found in the apartment of the Islamic fanatic who assassinated Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh in broad daylight on a street in Amsterdam in November 2004. His bodyguards "stand outside the door when I go to the bathroom," he once said.
Wilders never sleeps two nights in a row in the same location. Because of these security restrictions, he is able to see his wife only once every two weeks. Wilders has described his life as "essentially living in a prison."
Muslim population growth in Europe
Wilders sees the increasing Muslim population in Europe as one of the most serious threats to the preservation of Europe's traditional cultural and religious heritage. It comes as no surprise that he opposes continued immigration from Islamic countries and Turkey's bid for full EU membership, which would eventually open Europe's gates to unrestricted Turkish immigration.
Muslims currently account for about 5 percent of the European Union's population. If Turkey's bid for EU membership is successful, on the day Turkey becomes a member the percentage of Muslims living in the EU will increase to 20 percent. But current population numbers are only part of the story. Turkey would also soon be the EU's largest country. Based on current population trends, Turkey will surpass Germany's 82 million inhabitants by the year 2020 and may have as many as 100 million people by the year 2050.
However, even if Turkey does not become a full member of the European Union, the percentage of Muslims living in Europe will double within 15 years. Europe's Islamic community is experiencing a population explosion. At the same time, the traditional non-Muslim population of Europe will decline by an estimated 3.5 percent. Europe's traditional non-Islamic population is slowly but surely dying out.
Germany's birthrate is a prime example of the population decline among Europe's traditional nationalities. Statistically each woman in Germany currently has 1.36 live births during her childbearing years, far below the 2.1 average considered necessary to maintain a country's population. Given current trends, the research by the private Institute for Population and Development in Berlin indicates that the number of children born in Germany will drop 50 percent by the year 2050.
The declining birthrate is most acute in the former East Germany, where the average birthrate since the unification of Germany in 1990 is 0.77 live births. Reiner Klingholz, the director of the private Berlin Institute for Population and Development, summarized the situation with some humor: "With the Vatican as the exception, that's the lowest birthrate anywhere in the world."
If this situation continues unhindered, it is only a matter of time before the Islamic community in Europe becomes a sizable minority and even a majority of Europe's total population. In 2005, for example, there were more children of Islamic parentage born in France than people of a traditional French background.
Although not directly related to Europe's declining birthrate, it is also interesting to note that the number of Europeans who profess to be Christians has declined noticeably in the last 100 years. In 1900 approximately 95 percent of Europeans were members of the Christian faith. At the beginning of the 21st century that percentage had dropped to 75 percent, with a sharp increase in the decline just in the last 25 years.
For example, since 1980 the population segment that identifies itself as Christian in Belgium declined by 20 percent; in the Netherlands, by 18 percent; and in France, by 16 percent. Today's Europe is also the only continent witnessing a decline in the number of Catholics. The annual number of infant baptisms in the Philippines is now more than the combined annual total for France, Italy, Poland and Spain.
If the present trends continue, Europe will slowly become what Geert Wilders calls "Eurabia" – a continent whose traditional heritage becomes drowned out by a fast-growing Muslim community, now a minority, but possibly a majority of Europe's population in the future.
Europe's religious future
Bible prophecy shows that Europe's traditional religious heritage will wield considerable influence in the future, but in a way not imagined by Dutch MP Geert Wilders. The book of Revelation contains a prophecy about 10 kings who collectively form a "beast" that Jesus Christ will conquer and destroy upon His return to the earth.
We read about them in Revelation 17:12-14: "The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast . . . These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them" (emphasis added).
Those 10 horns are part of a "beast" described in verse 3 as having "seven heads and ten horns," with the 10 horns – the final 10 kings who will fight against Christ – apparently representing one of the seven heads. Each of the seven heads is a "mountain" – biblical symbolism for a kingdom or empire – with its king (verses 9-10). Verse 10 clarifies that the heads appear in chronological sequence, and the final "head," or king (verse 10), will appear as the 10 kings symbolized by 10 horns (verse 12).
This sequence of rulers is dominated by a religious system called "Babylon the Great" that emanates from "the great harlot [city] who sits on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication" (Revelation 17:1-2). The true Church of God is pictured in the Bible as a chaste bride waiting to be married to Christ. The harlot of Revelation 17 is a deceptive religious system masquerading as a true system of worship.
As the modern heir of ancient Babylon's mystery religion, the city of Rome is described as "drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus" (Revelation 17:6). It is a historical fact that Rome, more than any other city, under the influence of a great religious system, has orchestrated the persecution and martyrdom of "those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus" (Revelation 14:12). Even early church writers recognized the connection between Babylon and Rome by interpreting Peter's use of the word "Babylon" in 1 Peter 5:13 to mean the city of Rome.
Pictured as a harlot sitting astride the "beast" of which she is the cultural and spiritual center, this infamous city has exerted a vast influence over the earth's "peoples, multitudes, nations and languages" (Revelation 17:15, New International Version). For a while she has enjoyed the status and fame of being the city that "reigns over the kings of the earth" (verse 18).
In other words, it appears that the composite "beast" of Revelation 17 is the so-called Holy Roman Empire – the resurrected Roman Empire dominated by the modern descendant of the ancient Babylonian mystery religion. The final resurrection of that empire will not be influenced by Islam, but by the same religious system that has dominated it since A.D. 554.
Geert Wilders and Europe's future
While no one can predict what course Geert Wilders' political future may take, it is interesting that his position on Muslim population growth in Europe is consistent with Bible prophecy. Islam has never been the religion of the Holy Roman Empire, nor will it be in the future. Since the "great harlot" of Revelation 17 is pictured as continually being the dominant influence on the "beast" system, the Islamic minority in Europe apparently will not grow to such an extent that it will prevent the traditional religious system of the Holy Roman Empire from exerting its influence in the end-time "beast" power.
With the fast-growing Islamic minority in Europe, what are the implications for Europe's future vis-à-vis the Islamic community and Islamic immigration? There would appear to be several possibilities – all of which could be listed as action points for Geert Wilders' Party for Freedom. They include the following:
• Immigration from non-EU, Islamic countries may be restricted at some point in the future.
• Residency for some – perhaps a majority – of non-EU Islamic people living in Europe may be revoked at some point in the future.
In the current liberal atmosphere in Europe, restricting immigration for people of the Islamic faith, or even deporting some of those who are already here, seems unlikely. However, the violent reaction in the Netherlands to the murder in broad daylight of Dutch movie producer Theo van Gogh by a Moroccan in November 2004 shows what can happen in a tense confrontation. Any restrictions placed on immigration from Islamic countries would certainly strain relations between the European Union and the Islamic world.
Meanwhile, Geert Wilders continues his efforts to preserve Europe's heritage from Islamic influence. In July Wilders announced an international "freedom alliance" to spread his anti-Islam message across the West.
He told the Associated Press in an interview that he will launch the international movement later this year, initially in five countries: the United States, Canada, Britain, France and Germany. This "is not just a Dutch problem . . . it is a problem for the entire free West," he said. Wilders has been invited to speak in Berlin on Oct. 2, 2010, to launch his movement in Germany. It is the first invitation he has received to speak in Germany since he founded his Party for Freedom, and Wilders plans to give his presentation in German.
With his effort to defend Europe's traditional heritage against growing Islamic influence, Geert Wilders is a man to watch. He would be surprised to learn what kind of resurgence of traditional religious fervor lies in Europe's future.
Despite the current demographic trends in Europe, Bible prophecy indicates that the dominant religious influence on the final resurrection of the Roman Empire will not be Islam. Instead, it will be the same one that has existed for centuries in previous revivals of the Holy Roman Empire – that of "Babylon the Great, the mother of harlots and of the abominations of the earth" (Revelation 17:5).
With the Muslim population explosion in Europe, the final configuration of that last resurrection of the Holy Roman Empire may occur sooner than some people think, while Europeans of a traditional heritage are still the obvious majority in Europe.
Developments in Europe will surprise a world unaware of what the Bible has to say about the time leading up to the prophesied return of Jesus Christ. However, you don’t have to remain uninformed. I recommend the free booklets You Can Understand Bible Prophecy and The Book of Revelation Unveiled, both available free of charge upon request.
• Paul Kieffer, August 28, 2010