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Immigration is “the elephant in the room” that most European politicians wish to avoid publicly discussing these days.  This is very odd because in a democracy politicians are meant to reflect the views of their constituents, and besides, there is a desperate need to get to grips with one of the great issues of our time.  Unfortunately this lack of debate shows the limitations of the current political frameworks.  We now live in an era of professional politicians who want to build careers that lead to money and fame, and they know that one misinterpreted word on immigration could easily cost them votes if not their livelihood.  Nowhere is this more obvious than in Britain where many years of politically correct propaganda from the BBC and the Labour Party has created an atmosphere where even to discuss immigration in realistic terms has come to risk being portrayed as an uneducated bigot. So let’s ignore any biased rhetoric and simply look at the facts: In academic terms immigration is defined as being about “the other,” the outsider perceived by the group as different.  Unfortunately “the other” is a broad catch-all term and there is very little academic research into various types of “otherness.”  In reality there are many categories and the extent to which immigration is tolerated by any society essentially comes down to three parameters: the degree of otherness, the quantity or scale of the immigration, and the context, or situation, prevailing in the society at that moment in time.  These three parameters explain why immigration into Europe is so contentious now.  Many of today’s immigrants have an extremely high degree of otherness, they have been arriving in unprecedented numbers, and at a time of prolonged economic depression.  Why so many?  We have to blame the United States who ruthlessly tried to re-shape the Middle East to capture oil supplies by military intervention in Iraq, (aided by the British) and the destabilisation of Syria.  The blowback, to use a CIA term, is that for many people living in that part of the world the sensible option is to try and migrate to Europe well away from the horrors that the U.S. foreign policy has unleashed.   Unfortunately religion often defines the extreme otherness to Europeans of the hapless immigrants from the Middle East and Africa who manage to land on Europe’s shores.  Islam shares much in common with Judaism and both have their origins in tribal culture.  Central to the belief of the followers of Islam is the definition of a non-believer as an outsider – the infidel.  In a similarly dismissive way Judaism also defines an unbeliever, or outsider, as a goy or gentile.  Both religions have hard-line fundamental or orthodox members who are intolerant of inter-marriage with outsiders which makes integration into a society where either Islam or Judaism is not dominant virtually impossible.  Unfortunately both these religions also strongly identify with there being only one true way to God, and lack any degree of the pragmatism so necessary to be assimilated into a multi-cultural and often secular modern European environment.   It’s interesting to note that there is very little hard evidence about European Islamic immigration, even though it is re-shaping the political landscape in many countries.  For example, under the last Labour government, Britain stopped registering actual inward and outward immigration figures. Instead it relies on sample polls taken at airports which ask a migrant a vacuous series of questions about the reason for being there.  The data that I’m using for the PowerPoint chart above comes from the American Pew Research Center and, as they explain in their report Europe’s Growing Muslim Population, they worked on three future scenarios that use a starting point of Europe’s population in mid-2016.  To understand the size of the Muslim population within Europe was not an easy task and took much work and analysis using the available census and survey data for each country combined with Eurostat data.  As far as I’m aware this is the first attempt to objectively analyse the scale of current Islamic immigration, and to try to model the future impact on European societies. As with most research the average can be misleading, Pew calculated the total of Europe’s Muslim population in 2016 to be 25,770,000, making a European average Muslim population of 4.9%.  It’s the distribution that highlights large differences.  Some countries have a much higher percentage of Muslims, for example France has 8.8%, Sweden has 8.1%, the Netherlands has 7.1%, the United Kingdom has 6.3%, and Germany has 6.1%.  Now compare those figures to the countries with far fewer Muslims: Poland has fewer than 0.1%, Slovakia has 0.1%, Lithuania has 0.1%, the Czech Republic has 0.2%, Latvia has 0.2%, Estonia has 0.2%, Romania has 0.4%, Portugal has 0.4%, and Hungary has 0.4%.  My first thought was that maybe such uneven distribution was a result of the countries with far fewer Muslim immigrants being predominantly Roman Catholic, yet France is also largely Roman Catholic and they have received many Muslims.  The picture gets more complicated when a country’s colonial past is considered - France once held dominion over Islamic Algeria, Britain occupied India and what is now Muslim Pakistan, the Netherlands once held Indonesia, Antilles and Surinam.  A colonial past brings with it something I call “reverse empire” when, after the collapse of the empire, immigration rapidly rises from the former colony.  The centre of the old empire being seen as the place where wealth and the chance of economic success is the greatest. There’s no doubt that overall Muslim expansion into Europe has been blunted by Roman Catholicism, forcing greater numbers of immigrants to move to Protestant or more secular countries.  Even a modern, developed economy like Roman Catholic Ireland has a much smaller than average Muslim population at 1.4%.  In summary, Muslim immigration is distributed throughout Europe in a very unequal and disproportionate way with Roman Catholicism playing a significant role. Views about immigration, and especially Islamic immigration, are already causing the political map of Europe to be redrawn.  Poland and Hungary are leading an eastern European bloc which opposes any immigration, and these countries are coming into conflict with European Union technocrats because this behaviour is against the free movement of people, a central rule of belonging to the EU.  This is such a strong rule that Brexit Britain has been excluded from entertaining any thoughts of belonging to the Customs Union because Britain wishes to control who is allowed to live in the country.  How this can be resolved with a typical European Union fudge is difficult to foresee, particularly as post-election Italy is now highly likely to be controlled by an anti-immigration political party.  Ironically Britain’s vote to leave the EU was largely caused by the anti-immigrant backlash after some areas of the country were swamped by over three million EU migrants and roughly twice that number of non-EU, mostly Muslim immigrants, in the last ten years.  As I said earlier in this article – the scale of immigration is a key factor to how well a homogeneous society receives new arrivals.  Immigration is obviously not a two way street, it is ironic that Poland, with the lowest level of Muslim immigration, is also the country where at least one million of its population migrated to Britain, and large numbers also went to Germany.  Under EU rules, this happened so quickly, and caused such a shortage of skills in Poland, that before Donald Tusk left to go to Brussels he had plans to offer tax breaks to Poles who returned home.  More than 30,000 Polish children born in Britain are being brought up in Poland on British Child Benefits where the money is substantially greater than Polish benefits, a source of considerable irritation to British taxpayers.  The EU technocrats have one strong card to play against Poland, Hungary and the eastern European bloc they represent – Poland and Hungary receive substantial sums of money from the EU whereas Britain is the second highest donor.  Having visited Hungary recently I was struck that there were no Muslim or other immigrants to be seen on the streets of Budapest.  Any that do arrive are quickly pushed through the country into Germany or France or onto Sweden.  As I discovered, this behaviour has historical roots:  Between 1544 to 1699 Hungary was part of the Turkish Ottoman empire.  It took a series of bloody wars before the Islamic occupation of Hungary was finally overcome - something that is still remembered and resented to this day. Looking into the future, Pew modelled three scenarios to try to forecast what the situation in Europe would be like by 2050.  The first scenario considered that zero migration of any kind would take place to or from Europe in the future, which is highly unlikely.  The second, and more realistic scenario which I’ve used to illustrate the PowerPoint slide, is that regular migration continues but the flow of refugees ceases.  The third, high immigration, scenario anticipates refugee flows continuing at a rate similar to that experienced between 2014 and 2016 in addition to regular migration.   Being realistic, it is more likely that significant Muslim immigration into Europe will continue as there are already many millions of refugees leading difficult and miserable lives in camps in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.  Therefore I would anticipate future Muslim immigration will fall somewhere between the medium and high scenarios.  The zero immigration model projects that the proportion of Islamic people in Europe would rise from 4.9% to 7.4% because Muslim immigrants are younger than the average host population and also tend to have far more children.  The calculation for the medium immigration scenario is 11.2%, and for the high immigration scenario it is 14.0%.  But as mentioned previously Muslim immigration is very unevenly distributed between countries in Europe so these averages don’t mean very much.  By 2050 Germany will have a Muslim population that at its lowest projection could be 9%, or at the medium projection could be 11%, and at the highest, it could be 20%.  As you can see on the medium scenario map used on the PowerPoint slide, several European countries are likely to end up with a significant proportion of Muslims in their populations: Sweden can expect 20.5%, France 17.4%, Britain 16.7%, Belgium 15.1% and Norway 13.4%. Looking at the medium scenario map above shows that by 2050 the anti-immigration bloc of countries led by Poland and Hungary will still have a low percentage of Muslims.  So if this status quo remains, in the next 30 years it would seem that European countries will polarise between those with very low or very high Muslim populations.  Social friction is already increasing in formerly benign countries like Germany.  The nationalistic Alternative for Germany (AfD) political party successfully ran the German 2017 election promoting a policy that “Germany is not a Muslim country.”  This weakened Angela Merkel’s coalition position by approximately one million votes with the consequence that Merkel now has to deal with a AfD  Interior Minister.  The latest polls show that if that election was run again today Merkel’s Centre-Left party would be trounced by the AfD.  The political map of Europe is changing rapidly because of Muslim immigration and, as the Pew scenarios show, the difficulties are not going to go away but are likely to become increasingly fractious and divisive.  According to the Central Council of Muslims in Germany over a 1,000 crimes against Muslims took place in 2017.  Currently the most popular opposition political party in Germany is now right wing and nationalist, and that is something that hasn’t happened since the days of the Weimar Republic.  Intolerance is on the rise fuelled by the scale of Muslim immigration and the invisible, imagined religious constructs that are believed by many of Europe’s host populations, as well as the Muslim immigrants themselves.  When will Europe’s politicians stop being so politically correct and begin to address one of the central issues that will shape Europe’s future for the next 30 years?  If they don’t, we will have a situation that could end up being a rerun of the 1930s. January 2018  
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Immigration is “the elephant in the room” that most European politicians wish to avoid publicly discussing these days.  This is very odd because in a democracy politicians are meant to reflect the views of their constituents, and besides, there is a desperate need to get to grips with one of the great issues of our time.  Unfortunately this lack of debate shows the limitations of the current political frameworks.  We now live in an era of professional politicians who want to build careers that lead to money and fame, and they know that one misinterpreted word on immigration could easily cost them votes if not their livelihood.  Nowhere is this more obvious than in Britain where many years of politically correct propaganda from the BBC and the Labour Party has created an atmosphere where even to discuss immigration in realistic terms has come to risk being portrayed as an uneducated bigot. So let’s ignore any biased rhetoric and simply look at the facts: In academic terms immigration is defined as being about “the other,” the outsider perceived by the group as different.  Unfortunately “the other” is a broad catch-all term and there is very little academic research into various types of “otherness.”  In reality there are many categories and the extent to which immigration is tolerated by any society essentially comes down to three parameters: the degree of otherness, the quantity or scale of the immigration, and the context, or situation, prevailing in the society at that moment in time.  These three parameters explain why immigration into Europe is so contentious now.  Many of today’s immigrants have an extremely high degree of otherness, they have been arriving in unprecedented numbers, and at a time of prolonged economic depression.  Why so many?  We have to blame the United States who ruthlessly tried to re-shape the Middle East to capture oil supplies by military intervention in Iraq, (aided by the British) and the destabilisation of Syria.  The blowback, to use a CIA term, is that for many people living in that part of the world the sensible option is to try and migrate to Europe well away from the horrors that the U.S. foreign policy has unleashed.   Unfortunately religion often defines the extreme otherness to Europeans of the hapless immigrants from the Middle East and Africa who manage to land on Europe’s shores.  Islam shares much in common with Judaism and both have their origins in tribal culture.  Central to the belief of the followers of Islam is the definition of a non-believer as an outsider – the infidel.  In a similarly dismissive way Judaism also defines an unbeliever, or outsider, as a goy or gentile.  Both religions have hard-line fundamental or orthodox members who are intolerant of inter-marriage with outsiders which makes integration into a society where either Islam or Judaism is not dominant virtually impossible.  Unfortunately both these religions also strongly identify with there being only one true way to God, and lack any degree of the pragmatism so necessary to be assimilated into a multi-cultural and often secular modern European environment.   It’s interesting to note that there is very little hard evidence about European Islamic immigration, even though it is re-shaping the political landscape in many countries.  For example, under the last Labour government, Britain stopped registering actual inward and outward immigration figures. Instead it relies on sample polls taken at airports which ask a migrant a vacuous series of questions about the reason for being there.  The data that I’m using for the PowerPoint chart above comes from the American Pew Research Center and, as they explain in their report Europe’s Growing Muslim Population, they worked on three future scenarios that use a starting point of Europe’s population in mid-2016.  To understand the size of the Muslim population within Europe was not an easy task and took much work and analysis using the available census and survey data for each country combined with Eurostat data.  As far as I’m aware this is the first attempt to objectively analyse the scale of current Islamic immigration, and to try to model the future impact on European societies. As with most research the average can be misleading, Pew calculated the total of Europe’s Muslim population in 2016 to be 25,770,000, making a European average Muslim population of 4.9%.  It’s the distribution that highlights large differences.  Some countries have a much higher percentage of Muslims, for example France has 8.8%, Sweden has 8.1%, the Netherlands has 7.1%, the United Kingdom has 6.3%, and Germany has 6.1%.  Now compare those figures to the countries with far fewer Muslims: Poland has fewer than 0.1%, Slovakia has 0.1%, Lithuania has 0.1%, the Czech Republic has 0.2%, Latvia has 0.2%, Estonia has 0.2%, Romania has 0.4%, Portugal has 0.4%, and Hungary has 0.4%.  My first thought was that maybe such uneven distribution was a result of the countries with far fewer Muslim immigrants being predominantly Roman Catholic, yet France is also largely Roman Catholic and they have received many Muslims.  The picture gets more complicated when a country’s colonial past is considered - France once held dominion over Islamic Algeria, Britain occupied India and what is now Muslim Pakistan, the Netherlands once held Indonesia, Antilles and Surinam.  A colonial past brings with it something I call “reverse empire” when, after the collapse of the empire, immigration rapidly rises from the former colony.  The centre of the old empire being seen as the place where wealth and the chance of economic success is the greatest. There’s no doubt that overall Muslim expansion into Europe has been blunted by Roman Catholicism, forcing greater numbers of immigrants to move to Protestant or more secular countries.  Even a modern, developed economy like Roman Catholic Ireland has a much smaller than average Muslim population at 1.4%.  In summary, Muslim immigration is distributed throughout Europe in a very unequal and disproportionate way with Roman Catholicism playing a significant role. Views about immigration, and especially Islamic immigration, are already causing the political map of Europe to be redrawn.  Poland and Hungary are leading an eastern European bloc which opposes any immigration, and these countries are coming into conflict with European Union technocrats because this behaviour is against the free movement of people, a central rule of belonging to the EU.  This is such a strong rule that Brexit Britain has been excluded from entertaining any thoughts of belonging to the Customs Union because Britain wishes to control who is allowed to live in the country.  How this can be resolved with a typical European Union fudge is difficult to foresee, particularly as post-election Italy is now highly likely to be controlled by an anti-immigration political party.  Ironically Britain’s vote to leave the EU was largely caused by the anti- immigrant backlash after some areas of the country were swamped by over three million EU migrants and roughly twice that number of non-EU, mostly Muslim immigrants, in the last ten years.  As I said earlier in this article – the scale of immigration is a key factor to how well a homogeneous society receives new arrivals.  Immigration is obviously not a two way street, it is ironic that Poland, with the lowest level of Muslim immigration, is also the country where at least one million of its population migrated to Britain, and large numbers also went to Germany.  Under EU rules, this happened so quickly, and caused such a shortage of skills in Poland, that before Donald Tusk left to go to Brussels he had plans to offer tax breaks to Poles who returned home.  More than 30,000 Polish children born in Britain are being brought up in Poland on British Child Benefits where the money is substantially greater than Polish benefits, a source of considerable irritation to British taxpayers.  The EU technocrats have one strong card to play against Poland, Hungary and the eastern European bloc they represent – Poland and Hungary receive substantial sums of money from the EU whereas Britain is the second highest donor.  Having visited Hungary recently I was struck that there were no Muslim or other immigrants to be seen on the streets of Budapest.  Any that do arrive are quickly pushed through the country into Germany or France or onto Sweden.  As I discovered, this behaviour has historical roots:  Between 1544 to 1699 Hungary was part of the Turkish Ottoman empire.  It took a series of bloody wars before the Islamic occupation of Hungary was finally overcome - something that is still remembered and resented to this day. Looking into the future, Pew modelled three scenarios to try to forecast what the situation in Europe would be like by 2050.  The first scenario considered that zero migration of any kind would take place to or from Europe in the future, which is highly unlikely.  The second, and more realistic scenario which I’ve used to illustrate the PowerPoint slide, is that regular migration continues but the flow of refugees ceases.  The third, high immigration, scenario anticipates refugee flows continuing at a rate similar to that experienced between 2014 and 2016 in addition to regular migration.   Being realistic, it is more likely that significant Muslim immigration into Europe will continue as there are already many millions of refugees leading difficult and miserable lives in camps in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.  Therefore I would anticipate future Muslim immigration will fall somewhere between the medium and high scenarios.  The zero immigration model projects that the proportion of Islamic people in Europe would rise from 4.9% to 7.4% because Muslim immigrants are younger than the average host population and also tend to have far more children.  The calculation for the medium immigration scenario is 11.2%, and for the high immigration scenario it is 14.0%.  But as mentioned previously Muslim immigration is very unevenly distributed between countries in Europe so these averages don’t mean very much.  By 2050 Germany will have a Muslim population that at its lowest projection could be 9%, or at the medium projection could be 11%, and at the highest, it could be 20%.  As you can see on the medium scenario map used on the PowerPoint slide, several European countries are likely to end up with a significant proportion of Muslims in their populations: Sweden can expect 20.5%, France 17.4%, Britain 16.7%, Belgium 15.1% and Norway 13.4%. Looking at the medium scenario map above shows that by 2050 the anti-immigration bloc of countries led by Poland and Hungary will still have a low percentage of Muslims.  So if this status quo remains, in the next 30 years it would seem that European countries will polarise between those with very low or very high Muslim populations.  Social friction is already increasing in formerly benign countries like Germany.  The nationalistic Alternative for Germany (AfD) political party successfully ran the German 2017 election promoting a policy that “Germany is not a Muslim country.”  This weakened Angela Merkel’s coalition position by approximately one million votes with the consequence that Merkel now has to deal with a AfD  Interior Minister.  The latest polls show that if that election was run again today Merkel’s Centre-Left party would be trounced by the AfD.  The political map of Europe is changing rapidly because of Muslim immigration and, as the Pew scenarios show, the difficulties are not going to go away but are likely to become increasingly fractious and divisive.  According to the Central Council of Muslims in Germany over a 1,000 crimes against Muslims took place in 2017.  Currently the most popular opposition political party in Germany is now right wing and nationalist, and that is something that hasn’t happened since the days of the Weimar Republic.  Intolerance is on the rise fuelled by the scale of Muslim immigration and the invisible, imagined religious constructs that are believed by many of Europe’s host populations, as well as the Muslim immigrants themselves.  When will Europe’s politicians stop being so politically correct and begin to address one of the central issues that will shape Europe’s future for the next 30 years?  If they don’t, we will have a situation that could end up being a rerun of the 1930s. January 2018  
Click here to download the PowerPoint chart: Click here to download the PowerPoint chart: Click here to download the PowerPoint chart: Click here to download the PowerPoint chart: Click here to download the PowerPoint chart: Click here to download the PowerPoint chart: Click to return to page