I blogged on the state of Christianity in Europe during my recent trip to Germany and Switzerland. The current exhibition of "Urban Islam: Zwischen Handy und Koran" (Between Cell Phone and Koran) in Basel's Museum der Kulturen testifies to the interest in the topic in Europe.
"According to 2005 statistics, roughly 10 percent of the population in France is Muslim -- percentages in Bulgaria and Russia, says IslamicPopulation.com, are even higher (12 and 19 percent, respectively). And in Southern Europe, there are considerably higher percentages in Macedonia (30), Bosnia Herzegovina (60), and Albania (70). By comparison, estimates place the Muslim presence in the United States at around two percent of the population."
Some observers such as Jihad Watch's Robert Spencer note that there are "already vast areas surrounding major European cities like Paris that have been completely taken over by Muslims."
Spencer comments on the "very dangerous situation" when he observes:
"I was in the Hague [Netherlands] not long ago for a conference, and some of the speakers were saying that they think the only solution, the only ultimate outcome, is going to be a conflict that leads to division of territory within Europe with Muslim and non-Muslim enclaves."
Some experts have even predicted that Europe could find itself in a situation analogous to Israel's situation with the Palestinians. The lack of clear differentiation within the Muslim community between moderates and Jihadists does not bode well for Europe in the mid term.
Spencer points to the lack of a clear "moderate" voice to denounce extremist factions of the Muslim population. As he notes, "The moderates, so-called, do not expel the extremists from their communities, [and] they don't root them out. They're not cooperating, for the most part, with law enforcement officials in anti-terror efforts -- and we have to face the implications of that." Readers will note the absence of criticism of various terrorist atrocities by leaders within the American Musllim community, for example.
Current Muslim popularity cannot be reduced to a simple matter of immigration statistics or comparative birth rates although these are admittedly factors. After generations of coasting on the cultural fumes of past Christian belief, Europe is finally facing a high octane Islam, full of passion and belief, at a time when it finds its own spiritual gas tank practically empty.
Jesus assured us: "I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." Observers of demographic shifts and current trends in Europe may lament the anemic state of Christ's church in Europe, particularly vis a vis a growing drumbeat of militant Muslim advance. However, in global (even cosmic) terms, the ultimate victory of the "Kingdom of our God and of his Christ" cannot be stopped, even if it may suffer serious reverses in some parts of the world.
[For a full copy of the article, cf. http://www.crosswalk.com/news/religiontoday/1384188.html]