Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The jihad against Jihad Watch

It's pretty clear by now: Muslims and their Leftist supporters have been waging a cyber-war against Jihad Watch to try to cripple it, or disable it, or -- as Leftist Islamopologist Nathan Lean put it -- to "Take him down".

Hack attacks on the Internet would constitute a type of jihad of the pen (jihad-bil-kalam) -- or a subtype of that type of jihad, the "jihad of the mouse" (jihad-bil-farfur).

This cyber jihad against Jihad Watch has apparently mainly targeted its comments sections -- perhaps because they are the most vulnerable; or perhaps because the Islamopologists know (something Spencer himself doesn't seem to quite fully appreciate) that the comments section are the very heart of Jihad Watch and form a vibrant and informative community where individuals from all over the world come together not only to express their moral outrage and witty disdain for malignant Muslims, but also to vent their frustration at the West's continuing myopia about Islam -- and, perhaps most productively, to exchange myriad pieces of information about our ongoing crucial war of ideas by which we all hope to steer this ship, the U.S.S. Occidental, around from its Titanically blundering course toward the tip of the iceberg.

Another thing about this cyber jihad: it seems to have been long in coming, and coming in stages or bits and pieces.  For a long time, commenters were beset by their comments taking too long to appear, and then receiving an error message of a "gateway timeout".  Then, about a month ago, things got worse.  And in the last week it is out of control.  At times, the word "Comments" has vanished from the bottom of each Jihad Watch article, rendering it impossible, obviously, to enter the comments field.  At other times,  one enters, only to find no "Sign in" by which to register and begin to comment.  Or, one finds it, and proceeds with the sign in process, but finds several other problems may beset the conclusion of the process.

I have even found a few times that when I try to open the main Jihad Watch site, I get an error message that implies I have been disconnected -- but I have not, because I can open other websites.  Or, other times it just takes forever to open Jihad Watch.

Another permutation I have noticed in the last couple of days:  On the rare few times you can sign in to comment, then click "Submit", and wait for that seemingly interminable spiral to finish spiralling -- you may find you receive the message that your comment has been "successfully submitted".  But then you go back to check -- and it's not there!  This just happened to me 30 seconds ago (this paragraph is a late update addition).

Whatever these Islamopologist mice are doing as they busily burrow into the interstices behind and beneath Jihad Watch to chew on its wiring, it's having a strangely disparate effect, almost as though they are doing the best they can with their mischief, but are confronting certain limitations blocking their way from full success.

Now is the time for supporters of Jihad Watch who know about computers and about the complex field of Internet codes to contact Robert Spencer and lend him a hand.  I regretfully must bow out, as I am so techno-illiterate, I don't even know why or how electricity works.


I just tried to visit the Gates of Vienna blog -- and unprecedentedly, I got this error message:

Blog has been removed.

Sorry, the blog at has been removed. 
This address is not available for new blogs.

Second Update:

(Pause to hold hand to earbud like Brian Williams in the newsroom:) This Just In:

The Gates of Vienna blog is back and running; full details there.  And Jihad Watch seems to be better, though still exhibiting the odd cough and burp.

Third Update:

I'm not in the business of providing constant updates to a situation continuing to change, and this will be my last word on the ongoing situation that evidently will continue flutuating for an indefinite time (though we all hope it will be definitively resolved in favor of free speech).  Gates of Vienna is once again inaccessible -- for at least the last 24 hours if not longer.  This time, it looks like more than a "glitch".  Instead of getting to the blog when you click on its link, you get this Orwellian, Kafkaesque notice:

"This blog is under review due to possible Blogger Terms of Service violations and is open to authors only".

And what "Term of Service" did Gates of Vienna likely "violate"? No doubt this one, found under their "Content policy" page, in which with one hand they claim to support freedom of speech, but with the other -- just as the Constitution under the totalitarian Soviet Union in large print guaranteed rights but took them away in the fine print -- they provide themselves with a broad loophole to arbitrarily invoke the irrational paradigm of PC MC in order to trample that right:

Hate Speech: We want you to use Blogger to express your opinions, even very controversial ones. But, don't cross the line by publishing hate speech. By this, we mean content that promotes hate or violence towards groups based on race, ethnicity, religion, disability, gender, age, veteran status, or sexual orientation/gender identity. For example, don't write a blog saying that members of Race X are criminals or advocating violence against followers of Religion Y.


Anonymous said...

Gates of Vienna is offline on Google tonight!


Hesperado said...

Yeah, I just added an "Update" on that in this essay, seconds after getting that error message about GOV.

Traeh said...

You describe well exactly my experience lately with Jihad Watch.

While in Barnes & Nobles this evening at the Palisades Mall, I spied a book called, The Myth of the Muslim Tide. I suddenly took it into my head that it might be useful to liven up Jihad Watch comments sections by playing devil's advocate and posting stuff that would challenge me and other commenters to refute it. At home this evening I started googling around for reviews of The Myth of the Muslim Tide and found an interesting book excerpt and an interview, which I'll excerpt.

Here's the interview excerpt:

DOUG SAUNDERS: ...The bottom line is that Muslims in Europe may peak somewhere close to 10 percent of the population - if you include Russia, which has a large Muslim population - by about the middle of the 21st century. And they're really not going to get much larger than that in population. And in fact it may be much lower than that.

And they'll peak at probably somewhere under 2 percent of the U.S. population, around the same size as Jews or Episcopalians. And at that point probably will stop growing because the one thing we have to understand. There's been a revolution in our scholarly and statistical understanding of population growth rates of immigrant groups; is that first of all, the countries they come from, the Muslim-majority countries of the world, are seeing the fastest-falling population growth rates and family sizes in the world right now.

I mean, Iran has gone from seven children per family in the '80s to 1.7 now. It's not exactly a place that - where they go shouting about condoms a lot. And this is true of many of the largest Muslim-majority countries. But also that the immigrants from those countries are having population growth rates and family sizes that are converging quickly within three generations with those of the host countries and so on, which is something that happens with other immigrants, as well.

Traeh said...

Now here's the book excerpt:

Immigrants have large families. Any social service agency will tell you that public-housing apartments built for four-person families are inadequate for big new-immigrant families. This is nothing new. Recently arrived immigrants have always had big families: The seemingly limitless issue of Roman Catholics and Jews in the neighbourhoods of Western cities was the subject of national hysteria throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. But within a generation or two, their family sizes were little different from those of the general population.

Still, many in the West believe that Muslims are different: Not only do they have larger families than the people around them, but they sometimes have higher fertility rates than their cousins back in the home country. Moroccan women in the Netherlands, for instance, have a fertility rate of 2.9 children, while Moroccan women in Morocco have 2.4 children each. Bangladeshis in Britain have 3.0 children, while those in Bangladesh have 2.4. So even if fertility rates at home are falling toward Western levels, relatives who have migrated to the West appear to be maintaining larger families. This, to some observers, is proof that there is a conspiracy of deliberate population growth, an invasion by reproductive means.

There are two important reasons for these higher numbers. First, the Muslim immigrants who come to Europe (though not so much to the United States or Canada) are overwhelmingly from rural areas, where fertility rates are much higher than the national average. Turks tend to come from rural Anatolia and the southeast, not from Istanbul or Ankara; Moroccans from the Rif mountains; the largest group of Pakistanis from Mirpur, a rural district in Kashmir; the majority of British Bangladeshis from Sylhet, an almost entirely rural district in the northeast of Bangladesh. Around the world and throughout history, rural families have more children — often many more.

These immigrants aren’t just changing from one national culture to another, but from a rural to an urban culture, which is an even more shocking adjustment. But it is a shift that universally leads to smaller families. It also produces higher-than-usual levels of culture shock and insecurity — one of the key reasons why integration is slower and more difficult for some of these immigrants than it is for more urban immigrant groups.

Second, the highest family-size numbers are probably wrong. Women from Muslim countries tend to give birth to the majority of their children soon after arriving in their new homelands. Because of the way total fertility rate is calculated — by averaging the recorded births across a woman’s fertile lifespan — a cluster of births will produce an exaggerated figure.

We now have proof that this is occurring. A large-scale study from Germany shows that a sizable majority of immigrants from Turkey marry and have most of their children almost immediately after arrival. Studies in France show that immigrant women tend to have children during their first two years in France — an effect that, once taken into account, lowers the real French Muslim fertility rate from 2.5 children to 2.2, barely above the native-born French rate. A similar effect is found in Sweden.

(Saunders book excerpt continued below)

Traeh said...

(Saunders book excerpt cont)

This high birth rate in the early years tends to create a sense of panic among observers. It led to the rather startling observation that the most common name for baby boys in Britain is Mohammed. This is true in some years (most recently 2010), if you count all 12 variants of its spelling as a single name, but it says little beyond the fact that Muslims have far less variety in their names than other, much larger ethnic groups — the majority of Muslim men in many cultures have Mohammed as their legal first name. At the same time, members of other ethnic groups (especially white Anglo-Saxons and black American Christians) are now more than 50% more likely than they were a generation before to give their children uncommon names. The result is that Mohammeds can dominate the list without being terribly great in number: Together, boys named after the prophet accounted for 1% of British newborns in 2010.

That points to something else that lowers the population-growth rate. The Muslim immigrants in some countries supposedly being swamped by Islam are more likely to be male, as a result of immigration driven by manual-labour employment shortages that tend to attract unaccompanied men. Because intermarriage in the first generation is rare, few of these male immigrants are marrying and having offspring even if their community’s fertility rate appears high. An average of 3.0 children per woman isn’t as significant if only a third of your population is female. And that’s exactly the case in Spain, which has 190 Moroccan men for every 100 Moroccan women.

But the vision of a “Muslim tide” isn’t primarily based on immigrants having many children. It’s based on the children of immigrants having many children, and their children having more children, and so on. Do the offspring of the Muslims who came to the West make babies at a Sudanese pace, or do they fall into the more modest childbearing patterns of Europe and North America? In short, do they become like the people around them?

France has the largest Muslim population in Western Europe, 4.7 million, and its politics are often defined by tensions over Islamic immigration. Many believe that the poor Muslim immigrants housed in the high-rise apartment towers on the edges of French cities have formed parallel societies, isolating themselves from the mainstream. The struggles of Muslims in France, including the 2005 riots, feature heavily in the “Eurabia” literature — in which conservative cultural critics present Europe as being overwhelmed by Muslim immigrants.

(Saunders book excerpt continued below.)

Traeh said...

(Saunders book excerpt cont.)

But French Muslims, despite their economic isolation, are falling fast into the reproduction patterns — and the cultural patterns — of their host country. A major study by American and French scholars found that fertility rates are “closely tied to length of residence in France … the longer immigrant women live in France, the fewer children they have; their fertility rate approaches that of native-born women.” The real fertility rates of French Muslim women, as we have seen, are now only slightly higher than those of the general population, and they are still falling. The data, the authors conclude, “show that immigrants adapt to local norms (and, perhaps, to the cost of living) soon after arrival. The change may reflect acculturation, a reaction to living in close quarters, the entry of women into the workforce, or improved socioeconomic status.” This drop in fertility rate is a key measure of integration, and it is happening dramatically in France.

In Germany, home to more than 2-million Turkish immigrants and their children, the convergence has been even more remarkable. In 1970, Turks in Germany had 4.4 children each, and ethnic Germans 2.0. Today Turks have fewer than 2.2 children, barely above the general reproduction rate. Large-scale surveys suggest that the fertility rate of second-generation Turks is on the verge of falling to the very low German rate of 1.3 children. This sort of “fertility convergence” is not unique to Muslim immigrants; it is observed among other poor religious-minority immigrant groups, such as Latin American Catholics in the United States, whose birth rates are approaching those of the wider population, albeit slowly.

Often characterized as the site of a Muslim demographic takeover, Austria is home to one of Europe’s most extreme fertility contrasts: The Muslim population has a fairly high birth rate (2.3 to 2.4) and the non-Muslim population has an unusually low one (1.3). Several credible projections show that the Muslim population in Austria could come close to 10% by 2030 and could reach 14% to 18% by 2051 if immigration rates remain constant. This would make Islam the third-largest religion in Austria, by mid-century.

But before predicting that steeples will be driven out by minaret spires and Islam will reconquer Vienna by stealth (as several Eurabia authors have done), it’s worth taking a closer look at what’s happening. Austria’s Muslims had a recorded fertility rate of 3.09 children per mother in 1981, 2.77 in 1991, and 2.3 in 2001: They have the fastest-falling fertility rates of any group in Austria. By 2030, that rate will fall to 2.1 children per family, not enough to create any growth; among non-Muslims, the rate is predicted to rise slightly to 1.4, leaving a very small gap. Indeed, one study projects that the fertility rates of Austria’s Muslims will converge with those of non-Muslims shortly after 2030.

Britain is headed, more slowly, in a similar direction. Its Muslim population comes mainly from Bangladesh and Pakistan, two countries whose fertility rates remain high. But the fertility rates of immigrants from those countries in Britain have fallen by half over the past 20 years, and the rates of their British-born children are considerably lower. Women living in Britain who emigrated from Pakistan have 3.5 children each, while their British-born daughters have 2.5. One study concludes that Pakistani and Bangladeshi immigrant fertility rates will drop to white British levels, depending on a number of hard-to-predict variables, between 2012 and 2040.24 Canada, whose largest group of Muslim immigrants comes from the Indian subcontinent, will likely experience a similar pattern.

(Saunders book excerpt cont. below)

Traeh said...

(Saunders book excerpt cont.)

By 2030, even without any decrease in immigration levels, the Muslim and non-Muslim birth rates will be statistically identical in Germany, Greece, Spain and Denmark, and within half a child of one another in Belgium, France, Italy and Sweden. Across the entire European continent, the difference will be only 0.4, down from 0.7 two decades earlier. And that difference will continue to shrink. At that rate, the continent’s Muslims and non-Muslims should have nearly identical fertility rates by 2050.

This does not mean that those rates will converge in all countries. And growth can continue after the fertility rates become the same, because Muslims may have a larger population of childbearing age. But these trends do show that Muslims are following the path of earlier religious-minority immigrants to countries of the West, including Jews and Roman Catholics: From big families and rapid growth in the first couple of decades to a gradual blending into the fertility patterns of the host population later on. This fertility convergence, demographers note, is usually a strong indicator of other forms of integration. When women decide to have fewer children (for it is almost always their decision), it’s a sign that their education levels and social values are falling into line with those of their new country.

Deprived of any genuine facts suggesting an overwhelming Muslim baby boom, the more radical Muslim-tide proponents simply make them up. More than 13 million people have now viewed the YouTube video Muslim Demographics, which claims among other things that Germany will be a “Muslim state” by 2050. Every one of the video’s claims is untrue. It says that French Muslims have 8.1 children and ethnic-French families 1.8 (the figures are 2.8 and 1.9, respectively). It says that a quarter of the Belgian population is Muslim (it’s 6%), that the Netherlands will be half Muslim in 15 years (it will be 7.8% Muslim in 18 years) — and so on.

For the core claims of Muslim Demographics to be true, Muslim immigrants in the West would need to have fertility rates far above the highest ever recorded in the world. As I’ve just shown, they’re nowhere close.

Excerpted from The Myth of the Muslim Tide, by Doug Saunders.

Traeh said...

I disagree with many of Saunders' non-demographic conclusions (which I haven't bothered to excerpt above), at least to the slight extent I've become acquainted with them.

But if his demographic conclusions are accurate, that would somewhat revolutionize my attitude on these matters. A large part of my concern was based on my fear that Islam was heading toward majority status in Europe in a couple of generations, and toward significant minority status (10% or more) in the U.S. If that's not the case, it would be a huge relief.

Hesperado said...

Thanks traeh, I'll take a closer look at the excerpts. For now, one thing caught my eye:

A major study by American and French scholars found that fertility rates are “closely tied to length of residence in France … the longer immigrant women live in France, the fewer children they have; their fertility rate approaches that of native-born women.”

Are Saunders and those scholars taking into account the "Babushka effect" -- i.e., in Muslim cultures women are used for fertility when they are young -- so of course the longer a woman lives she's not going to continue to have children into her Muslim Middle Age (probably much younger than modern Western age).

Two other factors may militate against the reliability of their conclusions, if they haven't paid sufficient attention to them: the difficulty of getting reliable stats about Muslim behavior; and the predation by Muslim men of white Western women.

Also, Saunders seems to base his entire thesis that Muslim demographics are plateauing on fertility, not on continued influx through immigration, which as far as I can tell, is continuing apace.

Anonymous said...

Hey Traeh,

Arch/Kinana here:

There are a number of problems with Saunders' claims which I've already reviewed some time ago. Saunders is a journalist who has at best a weak grasp of the scientific issues, and does not seem capable of basic arithmetic. Some of the problems: He often uses data for "immigrant" to mean "Muslim", even though most immigrants are not Muslims; in many cases he does not have data directly comparing Muslims versus non-Muslims in fertility rates in the West (see previous point); his Iran example (currently slightly below replacement fertility) is dubious because Iran had a baby boom whereby the population doubled under Khomeini (i.e., the damage is done) and in any case this is not the trend shown in most Muslim countries or in the West, where Muslims are almost without exception above replacement; in the West Muslims remain above replacement level whereas non-Muslims are on average well below replacement (traditional European-origin Westerners have the lowest fertility rates of all, and this is and will continue to be a long-term trend for cultural reasons); and his hopes (which, despite his benign view of Islam, are that the Muslims will not increase too much in the West--only "10%" by mid-century, he imagines) are based on demographic projections that assume a benign view of Islam that does not promote high fertility, whereas my research indicates that Islam promotes high fertility; he does not take into account that Muslim immigration is increasing and that, even if his hypothesis is correct that Muslims' fertility rates decrease the longer they are living in the West, even by his own admission these new immigrant Muslims have high fertility just doesn't seem to have registered with him that we are having more and more of these new Muslim immigrants and there is no sign of a stoppage or slow-down of this trend. After all, who is going to stop or reduce Muslim immigration? Realistically, no one in the foreseeable future.

If you are worried about the U.S. becoming 10% Muslim, don't worry too much. The U.S. as I have pointed out before does not have a significant Muslim demographic problem, at least not within this century and perhaps not the next either. But almost all of the other Western countries, major and minor, do have this demographic problem. If the U.S. is all you care about, then consider what the relationship will be between the U.S. and an Islamic Europe and Canada in the later part of this century or early in the next.

Of course, I hope I'm wrong. Many things can happen. Projections are a bit of a crap shoot. But my cold assessment of the trends, without being hindered by a benign view of Islam and Muslim demographics (contra Saunders et al.), suggest most of the West (outside of the U.S.) will have Muslim majorities in about 60-100 years. Much depends on Muslim immigration being stopped or slowed drastically. That's unlikely, especially when there are influential people like Saunders who argue that we need to keep the floodgates open, and that any suggestion to the contrary is racism, etc.

Anonymous said...

"...whereas my research indicates that Islam promotes high fertility"

More specifically, in reference to the composition within the Muslim population within the West, this means among other things that the more devout and militant Muslims will have more children. In fact, this is true of followers of the major mainstream religions generally--the more "fundamentalist" the believer, the more children they tend to have. True of Christianity, Judaism, and certainly no less true among Muslims. Saunders has failed to take into account the dynamics within Muslim populations, whereby the more fanatic Muslims are increasing in number, as well as in their severity, and the "moderates" do nothing to stop them.

(BTW, another reason why Saunders' Iran example is questionable: In Iran, both the incumbent regime and the opposition want hardline sharia and support terrorist groups like Hizballah and Hamas--fat lot of help their temporarily slighlty-lower-than-replacement fertility rates have made in making them more secular and moderate and pluralist in the long run, eh? Saunders is oblivious to these problems).

But Christianity and Judaism in the West are declining, while Islam increases. According to the PEW data, which Saunders should have consulted more carefully and thoroughly--were he not in such a rush to bash those dastardly Islamophobes and score PC points--the number of Jews and Christians leaving the Western countries is increasing on average, while Muslim immigration to the Western countries is increasing on average. Again, is there anything or anyone which/who would reverse these trends? Realistically, I don't see it happening within this generation. And if the motivation isn't sufficient within this generation, the long-term picture looks to me like we (most of the West, excluding the U.S.) are for the most part toast, demographically, in the time-frame I suggested.

Anonymous said...

Hi Traeh, I quite like the idea that you would present material for us to refute. Keep it coming.

I have a few thoughts on the book that you excerpted:

1. It seems impossible that this author is able to legitimately track the entire extent of illegal Muslim immigration in Europe. So, his numbers are underestimated.

2. Do Western countries track the religions of citizens, immigrants, and illegals? If not, why not? Could it be that Western leaders seek to hide the extent of Muslim colonization of the West? On December 14, 2012, the Gates of Vienna website had an essay called The Tell-Tale Sickle Cell that stated that France had stopped keeping race relevant statistics, but that medical research on the incidence of Sickle Cell Disease in newborns showed that HUGE numbers of new births were to Africans living in France. What religion do these French Africans practice? Presumably Islam.

3. Western countries that track the fertility of Muslim women presumably omit to consider that Muslim men may 'marry' multiple wives. So, a Muslim man with four wives will produce more heirs than a non-Muslim man with one wife.

Also, Muslim men may marry four wives, BUT may also divorce any wife and take another at will. Thus, Muslim men may 'marry' many more than four wives. Note that Muslim men in the West may omit to declare their wives who may live as aunts or friends in the Muslim household.

4. Muslim immigrants have more children in the West because those Muslim children are subsidized by the West. We enable Muslims to multiply more here than in their poor home countries.

5. The author pretends that first generation Muslim immigrant males do NOT intermarry and produce children. Where is his evidence for his (flawed) assertion?

6. Muslim 'women' reproduce on a quicker cycle than Western women. In other words, girls who marry and bear children at 16 years old have a faster reproduction cycle than women who marry and bear children at 30 years old. In other words, Muslims can produce TWO generations in the time that Westerners produce ONE generation - especially with enforced cousin marriage that requires young girls to marry.

7. According to Daniel Pipes, Russia will fall to Islam in the too-near future.

To see the extent of the Muslim takeover of Russia, visit this webpage, and your blood will run cold.

8. Islam is making inroads to South America - and Hispanic Muslim immigrants will easily blend in and travel to the USA.[tt_news]=623&tx_ttnews[backPid]=180&no_cache=1


Traeh said...

Hesperado, Kinana, and Egghead, thank you for your replies.

I'll have to look into these issues further. Am going to try to get Saunders himself to respond to Kinana's comments. I'll just note that Saunders claims, as I understand them, do include an assumption of continuing immigration to Europe.

Traeh said...

Okay, I just emailed Saunders, quoting Kinana's two comments, and requesting a response. I'll let you know if he gets back to me.

Anonymous said...

Hey Traeh,

Kinana here. It should be interesting to see what Saunders has to say, if he responds. My guess is he'll dismiss this all as racism/bigotry, even though he sometimes denies that that's his main beef against those who think Europe is going to become Islamic later in the century. There's a lot more I could say, and have said, about Saunders' book. I have notes somewhere specifically challenging each of his major claims in his book, but can't find them at the moment. What you see above is a memory of the gist of some of the points. Had I known you were going to send these casual comments to Saunders himself, I might have spent a few hours preparing and getting everything precise. As you can imagine, nailing everything down to exact page number references and exact wording is a lot more time-consuming. To what I posted, he does have some wiggle room; then I'd have to respond with clarifications, and so on. So his response might not be all that useful in getting to the truth of the matter...which ultimately requires you or anyone else to do your own research rather than be concerned about what Saunders or I or other commenters have to say. Then you can ask Saunders your own questions, if you disagree with him.

"I'll just note that Saunders claims, as I understand them, do include an assumption of continuing immigration to Europe."

Yes, as I said or implied, he does assume continued immigration. Even though he is a journalist of today, he is not completely foolish! That's not my issue with him. It is the size, nature, and kind of the immigration that is at issue. And he thinks Islam is as benign in the West as Catholicism and Judaism, etc., which is why he is so optimistic about Muslim immigration. He thinks this is just another wave of religious-ethnic immigration, which has generally been positive, and so all those people worrying about an Islamic takeover need to relax. He claims he has no positive illusions about Islam, nor any particular like of it, but his entire argument rests on the assumption that Islam is benign and Muslims will become more and more secular and Western-like (e.g., not taking religion seriously, treating women and non-members of the religion as equals, etc.) in the long run.

Anonymous said...

Okay Traeh,

Kinana again,

I'm going to give a quick example of some of the glaring problems with Saunders' arguments. Here's an excerpt from his huffington post article where he was promoting his book; he cites a Muslim tide myth and then refutes it:

"1. Muslims have a higher birth rate than other religions, and will take over the world by population

Two generations ago, it seemed as if Islamic countries were destined for out-of-control population growth. People spoke of an “Islamic fertility rate” - - more than 5 children per family, on average - - and predicted minaret spires foresting the Earth.

Today, it is readily apparent that Islam is not connected with population growth. Just look at Iran, the world’s only Islamic theocracy, where the average family had around 7 children in the 1980s - - and has 1.7 today, a lower rate than France or Britain. Or look at the United Arab Emirates, with 1.9 children per family. Or Turkey, ruled by an elected party of devout Muslims for a decade, which now has 2.15 children per family. Or Lebanon, where, despite Hezbollah’s rise, has only 1.86 children per family (so that its population will be shrinking).

Around the world, the average Muslim family size has fallen from 4.3 children per family in 1995 to 2.9 in 2010, and is expected to fall below the population-growth rate, and converge with Western family sizes, by mid-century. This is a crucial sign that Muslim societies are undergoing a major modernizing, secularizing wave - - even if they elect Islamist parties while doing so."


He "refutes" several other such "myths."

To continue...

Anonymous said... brief off-the-cuff response to the above:

As I said, he tries to use the exceptions-- a small number of Islamic countries in which fertility rates have slipped slightly below replacement level--as a persuasive device to help "prove" his case, which requires that Muslim fertility rates be the same as or lower than non-Muslim fertility rates. But this is a dishonest tactic. (Yet, even of these low exceptions for Muslim countries, they taken on average are still above average European-origin Western fertility rates). The appropriate comparisons, if one is looking at Muslim populations outside of the West, from which to draw indirect inferences about Muslims coming into the West, are between Muslims overall on average, and non-Muslims overall on average. He's cherry-picking a few exceptional countries that seem to support his case, and ignoring the vast majority of Islamic countries in which fertility rates are above replacement.

You will also note that he cites "Lebanon", without distinguishing between Muslims and non-Muslims there. Also, does not distinguish between more fervent Muslims and less fervent ones. The fact that Christians are now a minority in Lebanon, where they once were a majority, and the fact that the country is now step-by-step being taken over by Hizballah, actually undermine Saunders' case and support mine. In fact, Hizballah's rise is at least partly a consequence of a Shia Muslim boom in population over the past few decades, with the more militant Muslims having more children; meanwhile the non-Muslim population there has declined.

Second, when he does get around to talking about averages, he does not directly compare actual current fertility levels between Muslims and non-Muslims. As I have pointed out before, the world Muslim average fertility rate remains significantly above the world non-Muslim average fertility rate.

Next, he turns to the most optimistic projections that assume that Muslims are trending toward being just like secular Westerners in terms of fertility rates, then uses these as "signs" that Muslims are modernizing and secularizing, etc. Sorry, you can't use projections as "signs". That is, Saunders is using these agreeable projections as though they were hard data supporting his case. They are not. They are interpretations and speculations. They are projections that agree with him. As I have cited many times before, there are many projections which don't agree with this benign view of Muslim demographics.

But perhaps the biggest problem is that he doesn't directly compare Muslims versus non-Muslims in the West. He keeps using immigrant to mean Muslim, and come to think of it that is the central underlying problem with his entire thesis--he assumes Muslims are just like (or are rapidly and surely becoming like) Jews, Christians, secularists, etc.

Anonymous said... for his other 9 refutations to myths in that article, I have data on file which refutes every one of his refutations. Don't have time to post it all. Hopefully the above gives some taste of Saunders' deficiencies, though they are merely the tip of the iceberg.

Anonymous said...

From the Saunders excerpt:
"This is a crucial sign that Muslim societies are undergoing a major modernizing, secularizing wave - - even if they elect Islamist parties while doing so."

Note that last part. The fact that they are electing "Islamist" parties severely undermines Saunders' case, but he adds that point as though it is some insignificant blip contrary to or despite this larger (and largely imaginary) trend toward secularization.

In fact, polls have shown that overall the majority of Muslims, inside and outside of the West, want at least some significant sharia such as harsh restrictions on freedom of expression regarding Islam and Muhammad. The desire for sharia and harsh elements of sharia among Muslim in the West is higher among younger Muslims than among older Muslims.

Anonymous said...

Kinana again,

Just checking back to see if you'd responded yet Traeh...I noticed this whopper from Saunders which I hadn't even caught my eye when I was focussing on other points:

Saunders: "...Just look at Iran, the world’s only Islamic theocracy..."

Hasn't Saunders ever heard of Saudi Arabia?

Sudan? Somalia?

Now, the latter two might not immediately come to mind. But Saudi Arabia? What kind of a glib ignoramus would write that Iran is the world's only Islamic theocracy, when Saudi Arabia is usually the first and foremost example that comes to mind? Saudi Arabia's constitution is explicitly the Quran (and supportive texts like the Hadith).

We could add numerous other countries to the list, though Saunders might haggle over whether such countries are truly or purely Islamic theocracies (e.g., Pakistan has some very harsh Islamic laws, death penalties for blasphemy, heresy, etc., though some people might argue it is not technically a theocracy...then again there are some such people who would argue that Iran is not a theocracy).

There are numerous Islamic countries that have harsh Islamic laws and Islamic governments. Saudi Arabia is at the top of the list.

Anonymous said...

BTW, it's not clear from the time stamps labeled on the above comments, which only note the time of day, but Traeh's post indicating that he had emailed Doug Saunders was I believe at least three days ago. It is now January 23, 2013.

It looks like Saunders is either ignoring the email, or is for some reason delaying responding. I don't expect him to necessarily have time to respond to some anonymous comments on a blog, but I will check back here in a few days, or a week perhaps, and note the date. I'll give him about a week max, then I'm going to forget about it.

Anonymous said...

p.s. "I" in the immediately above post being Kinana.

Anonymous said...


But relax. Doug Saunders assures us that Muslim immigrants overall are the same as other immigrant groups. Whew! What a relief. Good thing we have Doug Saunders to provide his "balanced" views, so that we need not be troubled by the data.

Hesperado said...

Doug Saunders appears to be a PC MC ideologue. As such, I doubt that he's going to change his mind about the paradigm he holds dear.

A brief time spent at his blog yields a crop of dubious premises and conclusions about the Muslim world and the problems it poses for the West (and for the Rest).

Consider this sweeping statement he makes -- basically a variant on the tried-and-true shibboleth that the problems of Muslim fanaticism are, ultimately, our fault, not the fault of the Islamic blueprint slavishly enculturating Muslims:

Concerning "...the hundreds of millions of people who live in the lands between Tripoli and Tehran...", Saunders writes:

"Their countries have been viewed by the wider world as black boxes.

"A black box is a device that has inputs and outputs – no one cares what’s in between. You feed something into a black box – money, arms, military attacks – and you get something out. No thought is given to what actually occurs inside the box. As long as you get what you want, or prevent what you don’t want, you don’t concern yourself with the millions of human lives affected.

"That, throughout the postwar period, has been the way the world has regarded the Arab and Persian countries of the Middle East, and it is the predominant reason why dictatorship, terrorism, theocracy and religious extremism have become potent forces there while fading away everywhere else in the world."

Anonymous said...

Even this part of the sentence is dubious: " is the predominant reason why dictatorship, terrorism, theocracy and religious extremism have become potent forces there while fading away everywhere else in the world."

Really?! Current events indicate that dictatorship, terrorism, theocracy and religious extremism are making a rousing comeback everywhere in the world - even here in the good old USA.


Anonymous said...

Igh yigh yigh. Kinana here.

It is now January 26th 2013. I'm getting restless. While Saunders ponders his response, perhaps we have enough time to write a play--call it Waiting for Dougot.

Yeah, Saunders is probably not pondering a response. I just wanted to get in that play on words. Not sure of the reason for the delay. I do not believe I would wait this long for a princess who was playing hard to get. I trust that the faithful messenger Traeh would have relayed the response back to us with Mercurial speed. So I suspect it is some technical issue with Saunders filtering out/ignoring certain kinds of emails categorically; or perhaps Saunders saw it, skimmed it, and dismissed it as more railings of assorted Islamophobes, etc.

Oh Dougie, Dougie baby, we await, with bated breath, for your reply...

Anonymous said...

For the record:

On Jan 23 2013, about three days after Traeh said he emailed Doug Saunders my comments, I wrote: "I'll give him about a week max, then I'm going to forget about it."

It is now January 30 2013, so I think I've waited a generous amount of time for a response from Saunders. I'm done.