16. Comment on Muhammad ‘Imārah’s text “The Rise of Islam in Western societies”

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16. Comment on Muhammad ‘Imārah’s text “The Rise of Islam in Western societies”


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December 3, 2012
Drs. Cornelis Hulsman and Eline Kasanwidjojo
Diana Maher Ghali
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[Diana Maher Ghali reviewed this article]

Drs. Cornelis Hulsman, General Director of the Center for Intercultural Dialogue and Arab West Report, wrote an introduction about Dr. Muhammad ‘Imārah:

He is a former leftist who turned Islamist many years ago. He is a great authority among Islamists. The figures he presents about the decline of Christianity in Europe are to a very large extent correct but he is making impossible and unfair comparisons between declining Christianity and ascending Islam in Europe.
The figures he presents of Christians are those who are attending church services. Those percentages are indeed small. But he compares that with total number of Muslims which is also done by many Islamophobes in the West to scare a Western public. If you want to make correct comparisons you have to compare between Muslims attending mosque prayers and Christians attending church services, or between people who are registered as Muslim and people who are registered as Christian. Just as with Christians many Muslims in the West are equally secular. The around one million Muslims in the Netherlands you need to compare with the around six million Christians who are registered as a church members in The Netherlands.

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The translated full text of Dr. Muhammad ‘Imārah’s article “The Rise of Islam in Western societies” [translated by Usāmah Wadī’]:

German Pastor Gottfried Küenzlen, sociologist and professor of Evangelical theology and social ethics (German: Institut fuer Theologie und Ethik) at Bundeswehr University Munich (German: Universität der Bundeswehr München) defines "secularism" as the complete and ultimate separation between religious beliefs and civil rights and the predominance of the principle of "religion without politics and politics without religion".

He explains the catastrophic impact that secularism produced in European individuals when it turned Christian beliefs into worldly concepts and offered modernism as a religion based on reason and science that can replace divine religion. As a result, Christianity lost its importance completely and religion lost its status as a general authority that conferred legitimacy on law, the system, politics, education, and the lifestyle of the vast majority of people.

Further, this theologian and sociologist speaks about modernism, the natural religion that weakened Christianity, and how it replaced divine religion, but failed to answer questions raised by human beings for who religion used to provide answers. As a result, modernism itself slipped into a crisis after the harm it had done to Christianity and Westerners lost the guiding stars that directed their path, namely religion and modernism.  

As a result, mental convictions began to lack certainty after the peace of religious faith was lost. This produced a human being who is totally ignorant to the present life, and experts became spiritless and scholars turned heartless. Then, postmodernist philosophy emerged and it dismantled the infrastructure of modernism, which threw the Western man into the darkness of non-existence, anarchy, and unconsciousness.

Then, Küenzlen speaks about the need that human beings have for answers to questions that remain unanswered and whose number is on the rise.  This pushed the European man to search for the peace of faith in various beliefs, from augury, worship of supernatural powers, belief in ghosts, to the ritual of Red Indians, and the spiritualities of Asian religions, and even in Islam, which is achieving increasing success in Western societies. Thus, and based on this genius analysis of the position of religious in Europe, we can conclude that Christianity lost its authority due to the emergence of secularism and modernism and Europe became a land of spiritual emptiness in which imported beliefs, on the top of which comes with Islam in the first place, are winning new grounds.  In his book "Without Roots: The West, Relativism, Christianity, Islam", and in connection to the status of religion in Europe, Pope Benedict XVI expressed three concerns:

  1. That Christianity would turn for the majority of Europeans into a mere affiliation to families that were Christians one day.
  2. The extinction of European Christians due to the break-up of family life and the rush towards pleasures and satisfaction of desires produced and magnified by secularism.
  3. Europe would become part of Dār al-Islām (House of Islam) in the twenty-first century.

Here are some facts and figures that prove the soundness of the above analysis and dispel any doubts regarding the realistic nature of the frightening picture of the spiritual emptiness which secularism produced in European that opened the door for the expansion of Islam in this emptiness:

  • Those who believe in the existence of a God in Europe, but not necessarily worshipping this God, are less than 14 per cent of the Europeans. At the time Christian Europe is witnessing an increase in living standards, the highest rates of anxiety, depression, and suicide are found there.
  • Those who attend the Holy Mass on a weekly basis in France, the heartland of Catholicism and the country with the largest number of Catholics, are less than 5 per cent of the whole population, a number less than three million, which is half the number of Muslims who observe the weekly Friday Prayer.
  • Seventy percent of the Catholics in Rome, where the Vatican is located, are for pre-marital sex.
  • One third of the churches of the diocese of Essen in Germany have stopped holding the Holy Mass due to the low number of attendees. This is in addition to some ten thousand churches that are expected to be closed or sold and used for other purposes. German churches lose more than one hundred thousand of their members on an annual basis.
  • In England, those who regularly attend the Sunday Mass are no more than one million persons. Further, 10 per cent of churches in England were officially declared unneeded and are expected to be sold and turned into restaurants and night clubs.
  • In the U.S., the number of people who attend of the Holy Mass in Catholic and Protestant churches has declined by 40 and 30 per cent respectively, compared to their number in the 1950s.

Amid this religious ruin caused by secularism in Europe, Islam is attracting minds and hearts more and more, in spite of the increase in anti-Islam sentiments or Islamophobia. For example:

The rates of people paying attention to and joining Islam have increased following the events of September 11, 2001. The number of people who join Islam annually in the U.S. and Europe is more than two thousand and 23 thousand persons, respectively. During 2007, more than 114 thousand people converted to Islam in France the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, and the northern part of Belgium, of whom 40 thousand were in Germany alone. This is in addition to those who join Islam in secret. Muslims account for 3 per cent of the total population in Germany, but the births of the German Muslims account for 10 per cent of the total number of births in Germany. This is at the time the mortality rate of German Christians exceeds their birth rate. During 2005 and 2006, the number of mosques in Germany increased from 141 to 187, in addition to 184 mosques under construction.

    • In England, statistics points out that the number of Muslims who are performing religious obligations will exceed their Evangelical peers within the coming decades. In recent years, many English people bearing the names George, Harry, and Jack name their children Muhammad. At the time, the number of British Muslims has increased by half of a million in four years from 2004 to 2008, while British Christians decreased by two millions.
    • The Muslim community in France is numbered at six million, according to official statistics, but according to the statistics of Muslim organizations, the number is eight million. There are more than 1,080 mosques in France and 3,600 French people convert to Islam every year. 
    • In the Netherlands, the Muslim population is at more than one million out of the total population of twelve million [Reviewer’s Note: 16, 655, 799 according to Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek (CBS)]. On the day when the anti-Islam "Fitnah" movie was released, all electronic copies of the Holy Qur'ān were sold. A Muslim mayor [Reviewer’s Note: Ahmad Aboutaleb] was elected for the city of Notre Dame [Reviewer’s Note: the author means “the city of Rotterdam”], home of the largest Dutch port.

      [Reviewer’s Note: Eline Kasanwidjojo, Dutch AWR Research intern, wrote a brief introduction about Ahmad Aboutaleb. She wrote that Ahmad Aboutaleb was born in 1961 in Beni Sidel, Morocco. He came to the Netherlands when he was fifteen years old. After becoming an engineer, he started his career as a journalist in 1989 and in 1991 he became a political activist. During the period from 2004 to 2007, he was alderman for the Labour Party (PvdA) in Amsterdam and then he became the State Secretary for Social Affairs and Employment from 2007 - 2008. In 2009, he became the mayor of the city of Rotterdam for six years. He is the first Muslim mayor of an important European city.(1) Aboutaleb does not involve his religion in his form of politics and is still a member of the Labour Party. In 2006 he came in the news as being a fierce opponent of women applying for social security wearing the burka (Dutch: boerka) “...off with the burqa and apply for work. If you don’t want to do that, that’s fine, but you don’t get a benefit payment.”(2)[Reviewer’s Note: Burka or Burqu’ is a long, loose garment covering the whole body, worn in public by many Muslim women]. Aboutaleb does not reject wearing of the burka as such, but mentions in this context of social security that the state can expect something from its citizens.(3)]

    • In Belgium, within twenty years Muslims will become the largest population in Brussels, the capital of both Belgium and the European Union and the most popular name among newly born boys has been Muhammad since 2001. The number of the Muslim population in Belgium doubled during the period from 1995 and 2005.

    • In the Russian Federation there were 98 mosques in 1990, prior to the collapse of Communism. This number increased to 7,200 mosques in 2008. According to some forecasts, Muslims will become the largest community in the Russian Federation by 2050 and accordingly Muslims will rule Moscow as Muslim Tatars once did.  
    • In 2007, about two hundred thousand Latin Americans joined Islam as 40 per cent of the Catholic youth fled from the Church.
    • According to the latest census conducted by America's Bio Forum, the number of Muslims in Canada is expected to increase three-fold within the coming twenty years and Argentina will have the third largest Muslim population following the United States and Canada. It is expected that the percent of Muslims to the total population will increase and by 2030 Muslims will account for 26.4 per cent of the total population in the world.

These forecasts show the status of religion in the West where secularism marginalized Christianity and produced the spiritual emptiness in which Islam expands, which created the Vatican Pontiff’s fears that Europe becomes part of Dār al-Islām in the twenty-first century. But, instead of waking up of the nightmare of secularism, the West and its agents in our country are working hard so that we drink from the same cup of poison which resulted in the situation demonstrated through the facts and figures I highlighted.

Read original text in Arabic

Klaas van der Kamp, Secretary General of the Council of Churches in the Netherlands,  responded to the following questions on November 21, 2012:

  • What is the total number of people registered as church members in the Netherlands?
  • Do you know what percentage of Muslims is regularly praying or attending Friday prayers?

Klaas responded:

There are about 4,200,000 Roman Catholics, 2,400,000 members of the Protestant PKN church. From the other 16 participants in the council of churches: between five hundred and 75 thousand members in each church. Furthermore there are about one million Christians not a member of a church that is a member of the council. So in total, approximately 7,800,000 Christians.

The number of Muslims is approximately 800 thousand in the Netherlands.  The group of new Dutchmen is equally divided between Christian migrants (one million) and Muslims (a little less than one million). Both have the same questions related to the choices of the second generation, etc.
In general the group most loyal to the weekly sermons is the group of protestants, they are more dedicated to this than Roman Catholics or Muslims.
The majority in the Netherlands are the non-religious group. They are growing very fast and recruit new members both from Christians as from Muslims.

The cooperation between Christians and Muslims is of growing importance in order to be visible in society and in legislation as religious entities.

We have good contacts, both in the ‘Cairo-Overleg’ as in the ‘In Vrijheid Verbonden’- group.

Hulsman concludes that the decline of Western Christianity is unfortunately a fact. But also a fact is that secularism among Muslims in Europe is larger then Islamists would like to admit. Another fact is that Islamists as Muhammad ‘Imārah use figures showing Christian decline to show Muslim superiority. Of course that hurts Christians and only adds to mutual ill feelings.

Eline Kasanwidjojo translated the official numbers of the Central Office of Statistics in the Netherlands that supports Hulsman’s opinion. The Central Office of Statistics in the Netherlands mentioned that Muslim attendance at religious institutions, such as churches and mosques has shown the biggest decline in the late 1990s.

This is the original text in Dutch:
"Het bezoek aan kerken, moskeeën en religieuze bijeenkomsten is de afgelopen jaren fors afgenomen. De daling is het grootst onder islamieten. Van 2004 tot en met 2008 ging gemiddeld 35 procent van de islamieten minstens een keer per maand naar de moskee, tegenover 47 procent in 1998 en 1999.  Ook onder katholieken nam het kerkbezoek aanzienlijk af. Van 2004 tot en met 2008 bezocht gemiddeld 23 procent minstens eens per maand een kerkdienst, tegenover 31 procent in 1998 en 1999. Onder protestanten liep de kerkgang nauwelijks terug."   

This is the translated text by Eline:
Attending church, the mosque, and religious gatherings has shown a major decline in the past years. The decline is the largest among Muslims. From 2004 until 2008, 35 per cent of Muslims went to the mosque once a month, as opposed to 47 per cent in 1998 and 1999. Also among Catholics a major drop can be seen as well. From 2004 to 2008 an average of 23 per cent went to church at least once a month, down from 31 per cent in 1998 and 1999. Among the Protestants church attendance barely changed.


(1) Cityportal Rotterdam. Curricullum vitae burgemeesterahmed aboutaleb. December 2, 2012. Online: http://www.rotterdam.nl/tekst:curriculum_vitae_burgemeester_ahmed_aboutaleb
Wikipedia. Ahmed Aboutaleb. September 25, 2012. Online: http://nl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ahmed_Aboutaleb
The New York Times. Rotterdam elects first Moroccan-born mayor. January 5, 2009. Online: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/05/world/europe/05iht-dutch.4.19099246.ht...
Rijksoverheid. Benoeming burgemeester Rotterdam. October 31, 2008. Online: http://www.rijksoverheid.nl/documenten-en-publicaties/persberichten/2008...

(2) Spiegel Online. Muslims in Holland. Amsterdam Mulls Axing Dole for Women in Burqas. April 21, 2006. Online: http://www.spiegel.de/international/0,1518,412355,00.html

(3) TROUW. Aboutaleb: Vrouw met boerka heeft geen recht op utikering. April 18, 2006. Online: http://www.trouw.nl/tr/nl/4324/Nieuws/archief/article/detail/1698384/200...