A spiritual holocaust seems to have erupted at the Vatican. As reported in my last post, Cardinal Peter Turkson has the bishops talking about something that matters: the advance of Islam in the world. The Cardinal screened a video of the popular YouTube video, Muslim Demographics, which details the advance of Islam in Europe and Asia over the last several years as well as forecasts the advance of Islam over the next fifty years using current Muslim birth and immigration rates. I was surprised that I failed to see any record of the Vatican uproar posted on Google or Yahoo news. I did a search to find specific information and found a Guardian article reporting that the Vatican is trying to distance itself from the actions of Cardinal Turkson, who, according to the article, is quite outspoken about the threat of Islam on the world front. The article states,
Turkson, who is from Ghana, has said over the years that theological dialogue with Muslims is impossible. Known for his strong views, the cardinal also proposed the creation of a global bank after the global economic crisis began in 2008.
On Tuesday, a Vatican spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, sought to distance the holy see from the video, saying: “This video does not express the view of the synod or the Vatican.”
In the writing of my book, Islam the Cloak of Antichrist, I did some research on the demographics included in the video. Although the statistics included in the video were far greater than what I found, I noticed substantive supporting trends relative to Muslim demographics in Europe.
From Pew Research Forum:
Throughout Europe today, it is not uncommon to see women wearing headscarves and men with skull caps and beards. On many European streets, shops now sport signs in Arabic and other Near Eastern languages and sell an array of exotic looking products from the Middle East and other parts of the Islamic world. Indeed, in the space of a few decades, whole neighborhoods in cities like Birmingham, Rotterdam and Paris have been transformed. Streets that have witnessed hundreds of years of European history are now playing host to a decidedly non-Western people and culture. This is the new Europe, one in which a rapidly growing Muslim population is making its presence felt in societies that until recently were largely homogeneous. Muslims are still very much minorities in Western and Central European countries, making up roughly 5 percent of the European Union’s total population. But a number of demographic trends point to dramatic change in the years ahead. Islam is already the fastest-growing religion in Europe. Driven by immigration and high birthrates, the number of Muslims on the continent has tripled in the last 30 years. Most demographers forecast a similar or even higher rate of growth in the coming decades.1
From the Brookings Institute:
Islam may still be a faraway religion for millions of Americans. But for Europeans it is local politics. The 15 million Muslims of the European Union (EU)—up to three times as many as live in the United States — are becoming a more powerful political force than the fabled Arab street. … Today, the Muslim birth rate in Europe is three times higher … If current trends continue, the Muslim population of Europe will nearly double by 2015, while the non-Muslim population will shrink by 3.5 percent.2
And finally from Professor Philip Jenkins of Penn State University:
In most European nations, Muslim communities have birthrates three times larger than their non-Muslim neighbors. France, Germany, and the Netherlands could by the 2030s have Muslim minorities of around 20 to 25 percent of the population, and those proportions will grow as the century progresses. Moreover, while Islam is undeniably growing, Christianity—at least in terms of active practice—is clearly shrinking. … Some observers see Europe making a wholesale transition into the Muslim world. Bernard Lewis remarked in a 2004 interview that, “Current trends show Europe will have a Muslim majority by the end of the 21st century at the latest. …” Bat Ye’or (the pseudonym of British author Giselle Littman) envisages an emerging Muslim-dominated subcontinent of Eurabia in which remaining Christians and Jews might enjoy some tenuous kind of second-class status not unlike Ottoman dhimmitude, and writes of the emerging Euro-Arab axis.3
Comparing the advance of Islam in Europe to the advance of Christianity in Europe reveals another trend quite in line with the claims of the YouTube video. According to another Pew Research Report, in 1910, 66.3% of all Christians in the world lived in Europe. In 2010, only 25.9% of all Christians lived in Europe.4 In addition, the number of Christians around the world has nearly quadrupled in the last 100 years, from about 600 million in 1910 to more than 2 billion in 2010. But the world’s overall population also has risen rapidly, from an estimated 1.8 billion in 1910 to 6.9 billion in 2010. As a result, Christians make up about the same portion of the world’s population today (32%) as they did a century ago (35%).5 Not so for Islam.
Once again returning to Pew Forum, “the world’s Muslim population is expected to increase by about 35% in the next 20 years, rising from 1.6 billion in 2010 to 2.2 billion by 2030, according to new population projections by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life.”6 If Islam rises by 35% over the next 20 years and Christianity falls (or remains constant), how long will it take for Islam to be the majority demographic in democratic societies around the world — if for no other factor than numbers!
Perhaps the Vatican needs to do the math? What if Islam were to increase at its current rate and Christianity were to remain stable or decrease from current levels? What does that matter to Catholicism (and Christianity) in the world? Consider the research of one Shiah Islam scholar who quotes from an hadith:
The first thing that will occur under the rule of the Mahdi will be the Islamicizing of the whole world. The followers of all other religions will embrace Islam and profess faith in one God [Allah], just as He said in the Qur’an: “… to Him submits whoever is in the heavens and the earth, willingly and unwillingly, and to Him shall they be returned” (3:82). Consequently, there will be no place on earth where testimony, “I bear witness that there is no god but God” and “I bear witness that Muhammad is the Apostle of God,” will not be heard. However, the Qa’im [the Mahdi] will not follow the Prophet’s example of gentleness and flexibility and winning over the people by uniting them; rather, the Qa’im will kill, in accordance with the text of the testament (which each Imam, beginning with ‘Ali to the Mahdi, was required to follow). He will also not follow the example of Ali, who adopted the path of forgiveness and benevolence in his dealings with the people. His state of affairs will be the sword, and he will not accept repentance from anyone, nor will the rebuke of his adversaries deter him from carrying out the command of God [Allah].7
We might also add the bible’s prophecies about the overcoming of Christianity in the end-times:
2 Thessalonians 2:3 (NASB) Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come [the return of Christ] unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, …. (Emphasis supplied).
Daniel 7:25 (NASB) He will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law; and they will be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time. (Emphasis supplied).
Revelation 13:7 (NASB) It was also given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them, and authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation was given to him.
The screening of the video by Father Turkson seems to have done one thing: the Vatican is talking about something that matters. As a protestant, I suspect that the patriarch of Protestantism, Martin Luther, might echo the statement made by one attendee at the international seminar at the Vatican:
“At least it got us talking about something more important than what order confirmation and first communion ought to be in.”
- http://pewforum.org/uploadedfiles/Topics/Religious_Affiliation/Muslim/muslims-europe-2005.pdf [↩]
- http://www.brookings.edu/opinions/2003/03middleeast_taspinar.aspxp=1. [↩]
- Philip Jenkins, “Demographics, Religion, and the Future of Europe,” Orbis, Volume 50, Issue 3, Summer 2006, 519–539. [↩]
- http://www.pewforum.org/Christian/Global-Christianity-exec.aspx. [↩]
- Ibid. [↩]
- http://www.pewforum.org/The-Future-of-the-Global-Muslim-Population.aspx [↩]
- Abdulaziz Abdulhussein Sachedina, Islamic Messianism, 174. [↩]