[N]othing burns me up more than being presented with information so thoroughly false, so completely stripped from its context, that it can be considered an outright lie. A lie presented for the sole purpose of manipulating the way I think, what I believe, or how I behave. The video has an agenda.
And it pushes that agenda by presenting specious information. To say its disingenuous would be a vast understatement. To say it’s revolting would be slightly off the mark. To say that it’s overwhelmingly offensive would be most accurate. Much of the video’s message is delivered by inference.
Its dramatic tone and creative juxtaposition of “facts” lead you
to assume certain (incorrect) conclusions.
Muslim Demographics Debunked
* * * * * *
In recent months a highly volatile and extremely sensationalistic video has surfaced on youtube: “Muslim Demographics.” It has caused a firestorm of heated discussions and controversy at personal blogs, on political/religious websites/forums (message boards), and inside chat rooms. The video advances five messages/arguments:
– Muslims, thanks to higher fertility rates in their widespread population, will soon outnumber non-Muslims;
– Muslims, within the span of 20-50 years, will essentially control the entire world because of their numbers;
– “Islam will overwhelm Christendom;”
– Christians must “begin reproducing again” and convert Muslims to counter the imminent threat to Christianity;
– Christians must “share the gospel message with the changing world, this is a call to action.”
By the end of this 7 1/2 minute video, its highly inflammatory, bottom-line warning (which is directed primarily at Caucasians, non-Muslims, Westerners, and Christians) becomes disturbingly clear — i.e., Muslims are on the verge of destroying the fabric of Western/Christian society. It is all going to occur, allegedly, through:
1. Muslim fertility rates that are far higher than the fertility rates of non-Muslims; and
2. Muslim immigration to countries like Europe, Canada, and the United States.
After viewing this video several times, I can confidently categorize it as an example of fear-mongering propaganda created out of:
1. unverifiable studies/claims;
2. unsubstantiated historical data;
3. abuse/misuse of statistics; and
4. manipulation of truth.
The video deliberately agitates the worst fears harbored by non-Muslims — especially Christians. I would go so far as to say that it contains racist overtones and has a general xenophobic feel that is reminiscent of the kind of literature produced by racists.
(Not surprisingly, this video has already appeared on various hate websites owned/operated by neo-Nazis, skinheads, and the Klan).
Who made “Muslim Demographics”? What might be their agenda? Why are they qualified to make such statements/assessments? Where did they get their information?
These are essential questions that must be answered in order to discern whether or any of the video’s statements/arguments are credible (or at the very least, worthy of being considered as possibly credible). But the answers we find to these questions leave much to be desired.
The video, for example, was not posted by any reputable/known person or organization. It was uploaded to youtube (March 30, 2009) by an anonymous individual called friendofmuslim. All we know about this individual is that they are a 31-year-old (supposedly) living in Lebanon (supposedly). And the information blurb about the video only states: “Islam will overwhelm Christendom unless Christians recognize the demographic realities, begin reproducing again, and share the gospel with Muslims.”
This instantly makes the video less than legitimate and brings into question its reliability. We have no way of finding out the identity of friendofmuslim, no clue as to what his/her agenda might be, and no way to check their credentials (and/or biases). Oddly, although the poster claims to be from Lebanon, the video was actually uploaded to youtube via an IP Address in Israel. The poster (friendofmuslim) also has no other videos on youtube, nor are they allowing comments to be made (two additional aspects of the video that are unusual).
Furthermore, the video completely ignores the distinctions existing between: 1. Muslims who consider themselves Muslim by ethnicity only; 2. Muslims who adhere to the religion of Islam; and 3. Muslims who are part of the radical Islamists, often connected to terrorism/violence. The dismissal of these three categories of Muslims utterly skews whatever statistics are presented — and the conclusions drawn from them. This brings us to the very issue of statistics in general, their use/misuse, and their reliability as a standard for predicting the future.
STATISTICS, STATISTICS, STATISTICS
The bulk of evidence that friendofmuslim uses to support his/her perspective consists of fertility (birth rate) statistics. The Muslims-have-higher-fertility-rates-than-non-Muslims statistics offered paint a frightening picture. But the video gives hardly any documentation to support the numerical calculations, let alone such fear-inspiring declarations as “In a matter of years, Europe as we know it will cease to exist” and “In just 39 Years, France will be an Islamic Republic.”
Moreover, it must be acknowledged that statistics can be very misleading, highly generalized (rather than specific), inconsistent (ever-changing), easily misused, and partial in scope. In other words, statistics are dangerous. In reference “Muslim Demographics,” the SNOPES news website has rightly pointed out that such videos/articles (i.e., alarmist) are flawed:
They cherry pick a few gloomy-sounding statistics without presenting them within a larger context, they assume that current demographic trends will remain static even in the face of future political, economic or social changes, and they don’t acknowledge that fertility rates are influenced by a number of complex, interrelated, and volatile factors. That last point is especially important, as even small changes in fertility rates can have a significant impact on the future size and nature of populations. Or, as Martin Walker noted a Spring 2009 Wilson Quarterly on the subject, “the detailed work of demographers tends to seep out to the general public in crude form, and sensationalist headlines so become common wisdom” (Muslim Demographics).
SNOPES additionally refers to the Wilson Quarterly, explaining how that publication has also noted that there exists “three deeply misleading assumptions about demographic trends have become lodged in the public mind.” First, “that mass migration into Europe, legal and illegal, combined with an eroding native population base, is transforming the ethnic, cultural, and religious identity of the continent.” Second, “that Europe’s native population is in steady and serious decline from a falling birthrate.” Third, “that population growth in the developing world will continue at a high rate.”
The list of problems with the videos use of such statistics goes on, and on, and on and on (for further information, see Muslim Demographics). The SNOPES article concludes: “…the best demographers can do is make broad guesses about population trends based on current conditions and assumptions about how (and how much) those trends might be influenced by societal changes. . . . ‘projections of birthrates and population totals are often embarrassingly at odds with eventual reality.’”
A CLOSER LOOK AT THE “FACTS”
When critically viewed, it must be admitted that all we get from the “Muslim Demographics” video is a plethora of population/fertility numbers coupled with authoritative-sounding claims such as “According to research,” “historically [speaking],” “historical research tells us,” and “Some studies show.” But none of these claims are backed by references that can be checked: Which studies? Who’s studies? Where historically? When historically? What research? Who’s research?
There are no answers provided to these questions (NOTE: extremely small, white text sometimes appears beneath certain statistics, but the references are illegible). We must be wary of such propaganda-like claims, which are the same sort of claims usually made by individuals seeking to advance a certain cause/perspective without true/reliable evidence. For example, Dan Brown — author of The DaVinci Code — used this tactic in presenting his “historical,” “researched,” and “factual” arguments about Jesus being as a goddess-worshiping pagan, who sired a child with his wife, Mary Magdalene (a “truth” concealed by violence and deception at the highest levels of the early church). Similarly, racists (neo-Nazis, Klansmen, Holocaust Deniers, and Skinheads) often make sweeping statements based on unverifiable “research,” non-specific “studies,” and untraceable “historical” data.
Interestingly, even a cursory look at just a few of the claims made in the video are enough to show that it is less-than-reliable when it comes to facts and accuracy. One might even say that at certain points the video seems to be deliberately seeking to mislead viewers by manipulating information. As one blogger stated, “whoever made it, they did play fast and loose with the truth – Goebbels [Hitler’s Minister of Propaganda] would have been proud of them.”
For example, the video claims that 25% of the population of Belgium is Muslim. This is false. That figure, according to Wiki, applies ONLY to the city of Brussels! “In 2008 estimation shows that 6% of the Belgian population, about 628,751, is Muslim (98% Sunni). Muslims cover 25.5% of the population of Brussels.”
Another highly dubious claim concerns the average fertility rate for Muslims in France (i.e., 8.1 per family). The claim is almost certainly false. Where did the figure originate in the first place? Not a single country in the world has a fertility rate so high. The closest countries would be Niger, Guinea-Bissau, and Afghanistan, according to Wiki, with rates of 7.19, 7.07, and 7.07 respectively (2005-2010). NationMaster listed the top three countries as Niger, Uganda and Somalia, with rates of 7.34, 7.29, and 6.81 (People Statistics). The CIA puts Niger, Mali, and Uganda in the top slots with fertility rates of 7.75, 7.29, and 6.77 (Total Fertility Rate, CIA).
After an entire day of researching, I could not find any place where the video’s 8.1 figure might have originated. I did, however, discover that the majority of Muslims in France are immigrants from three countries: Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia (Muslims in Europe: Country Guide). What are the fertility rates in these countries? They are: 2.38 , 2.38, 1.93 (per UN TFR Ranking)! Does it make any sense at all that people moving to France from countries with such low fertility rates would for some inexplicable reason suddenly start having 8.1 children?! Consider, too, these equally false statements from the video.
VIDEO: “In the Netherlands, 50% of all newborns are Muslim.”
TRUTH: “There are approximately 1 million Muslims in the Netherlands, a nation of 16.6 million people. . . . Muslims makeup about 6% of the total population. Yet, we’re supposed to believe 50% of the children born in the Netherlands are Muslim? The fertility rate in the Netherlands is 1.66 children per person. Mathematically, Muslims in the Netherlands would need to have 26 children to makeup 50% of the births in the country” (Muslim Demographics). And according to The Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI), “Based on projections of the future number of migrants, it is easy to calculate that Muslims will remain a minority in the future” (see this PDF File).
VIDEO: “Historically, no culture has ever reversed a 1.9 fertility rate.”
TRUTH: Actually, France reversed it, according to NationMaster, which used data from the CIA World Facebook. The fertility rate of France went from 1.85/84 in 2003-2006 to 1.98 in 2007/2008 — i.e., a reversal (see People Statistics)
VIDEO: “In Russia, there are over 23 million Muslims, that’s 1 out of 5 Russians.”
TRUTH: “Roman Silantyev, a Russian Islamologist has estimated that there are only between 7 and 9 million people who practice Islam in Russia, and that the rest [about 11 – 13 million] are only Muslims by ethnicity” (Islam in Russia, Wiki).
VIDEO: “The German Government, the first to talk about this publicly, recently released a public saying, ‘The fall in the German population can no longer be stopped. Its downward spiral is no longer reversible… It will be a Muslim state by 2050’ (Germany Federal Statistics Office).”
TRUTH: This is NOT what the German government said, nor is it what the Germany Federal Statistics Office released as a statement.
What we see here is a perfect example of manipulating and splicing statements together to form an altogether different statement/message that conveys what an individual (in this case, friendofmuslim) wants to communicate. The quotes in this section of the video were taken from a 2006 article written by Gudrun Schultz for the prolife website LifeSiteNews.com.
The first half of the statement was lifted from yet another article (by Agence France-Presse) wherein vice-president Walter Rademacher of the Federal Statistics Office is quoted: “The fall in the population can no longer be stopped.” IN CONTEXT, Rademacher is not talking about Muslims taking over anything. He is simply commenting on the declining population growth of Germany – period. And the main point he was making was that even with the help of immigrants (including Muslims), German population growth possibilities are very questionable – if not impossible. That’s it. That’s all he said.
The second half of the statement – “It will be a Muslim state by 2050” – is not only NOT from the German government (i.e., Rademacher and/or the Federal Statistics Office), but it is not even accurate. The statement, which is also found in the LifeSiteNews.com actually reads, “[Germany] is well on the way to becoming a Muslim state by 2050” (not “It will be a Muslim state by 2050). And who exactly made this assessment if it was not the German government, not Rademacher, and not the Federal Statistics Office? In the LifeSiteNews.com article we find out that it was actually unnamed, unidentified, anonymous, untraceable “demographic trend-watchers.”
These are but a few of the many factual errors, pieces of deceptive information, and instances of manipulation of facts that render “Muslim Demographics” not only offensive, but also dangerous. As Christians we need to avoid this type of sensational propaganda that does nothing to help bridge the idealogical/sociological/theological/philosophical chasm separating Muslims and non-Muslims. “Muslim Demographics” only spreads fear, mistrust, suspicion, and lack of understand among people who need to work at coexisting peacefully despite differences of opinion and beliefs.
Conveniently, one statistic the video left out was the fact that Muslim fertility rates around the world are actually dropping: “. . . the only major religion left out of the demographic transition was Islam until the 1980s. At least until the late 70s, the total fertility rates were quite high—6 per woman. But as a religious group, fertility started declining in predominately Muslim countries.”
A BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVE
Christians must never forget what scripture has declared: “God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you. So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?’” (Hebrews 13:6).
In other words, even if everything stated in the video were true, well……so what? If God, in his sovereignty, allows Muslims to become the dominate ethnicity and allows Islam to become the dominant religion, then that is what God in his sovereignty allows to happen.
Since the dawn of society, God — no one else — has determined the rise and fall of governments/cultures/nations. As the New Testament tells us: “There is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God” (Rom. 13:1). If we are to believe scripture, then it must be acknowledged that God alone allows leaders, government, and religions to rise and fall — and that includes Islam:
“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might are His. And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, and light dwells with Him”
So whatever the future may bring, I implore all of us to make sure that we keep focused on the Kingdom of Heaven, and our primary calling to be ambassadors for Christ (2 Cor. 5:20), lights around the world (Matt. 5:14), and faithful saints who are called to preach the Gospel (2 Tim. 4:2) so that men and women might come to know the love of Christ (Rom. 8:39) and through a relationship with him enter into the Lord’s glorious kingdom of eternal joy (Rev. 1:6). That kingdom will last forever, while this earthly kingdom will pass away (see Ecclesiastes).
A FEW MORE THOUGHTS
At this point it would be irresponsible of me to not say a word about Muslims in general. From my experiences in America and from my 15+ years in ministry, I have not found them to be the threatening, anti-Christian, baby-breeding monsters portrayed in this video. I have found them to be loving, gracious, peace-loving, and hospitable individuals with whom I happened to disagree when it came to issues concerning the identity/nature of God, the Bible, the Koran, and the validity of Islam.
Even author Daniel Pipes, widely known as being extremely cautious/critical of Islam, has stated that “the problem at hand is not the religion of Islam but the totalitarian ideology of Islamism [and by implication Islamists].” These are the radical, militant, politically-motivated Muslims interested in “conquest, theocracy, and intolerance” (Pipes, “Fighting Militant Islam, Without Bias,” City Journal). But this does not describe the average Muslim, especially those Moms & Dads referenced in the video who are are now living throughout previously White/Christian nations.
Ironically, as Pipes has correctly pointed out, the first victims of radical Islamism (a minority of Muslims) are usually traditional Muslims, who “understand this ideology for what it is and respond with fear and loathing” (Pipes, “Fighting Militant Islam, Without Bias,” City Journal). As one website truly dedicated to lovingly reaching out to Muslims has put it: “. . . the average Muslim is like the average Christian. They know enough to call themselves Muslims, but basically they are materialistic, want a good job, and hope to live a good comfortable life.” (About Islam)
As I see it, the problem in Europe, America, Canada, and other countries is not Muslim immigration (or overly-fertile Muslim women). The problem is hate/sin/fear — the kind expressed through violence by radical Islamists; the kind expressed through propaganda like “Muslim Demographics.”
More importantly, when it comes to Christianity/Christians, NOWHERE does the Bible instruct believers in Jesus to make more babies in order to preserve numerical superiority over people adhering to other faiths. Procreating is not the “action” scripture recommends when the need arises to:
1. confront alternative religions,
2. counter persons with whom we disagree, or
3. respond to enemies.
Contrary to the video, we have the following words of guidance and direction from scripture:
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself”” (Matt. 22:37-39).
“Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20).
“We urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else. Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thess. 5:14-18).
“Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage — with great patience and careful instruction” (2 Tim. 4:2).
“Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will” (2 Tim. 2:25-26).
In other words, the video “Muslim Demographics” is not only inaccurate, but unbiblical. It is not surprising that the video has led to numerous racist, hate-filled, and xenophobic comments being posted throughout cyberspace — particularly on so-called “Christian” website. I close with one final passage:
“Remind the people to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready to do whatever is good, to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men. At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit” (1 Titus 3:1-5).
Populations increase and decrease. Cultures come and go. Nations rise and fall. History’s pages will continue to turn and bring whatever it may being…..it matters not. Jesus said, “‘My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place” (John 18:36).
Let us not forget this teaching from our Lord. Do not let anyone steal your peace that is in Christ Jesus (Acts 10:36; Romans 5:1): “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:6-8).
peace in him,
[Note: This video has been debunked at numerous websites. For further reading, please see: Mission researchers respond to statistics in Muslim Demographics video; Anti-Muslim Immigration Video Spreads Fear, Distorts Truth; Muslim Demographics; Muslim Demographics: Fact vs. Fiction; Spreading Fear About the Faith of Islam).