A study conducted by the Belgian French-speaking newspaper La Libre Belgique [see: www.lalibre.be] has said that Muslims would become the majority in the capital city of Brussels 20 years from now.
The study affirmed that the name ’Muhammad’ jumped to the top of the newborns’ name list in 2001.
Professor of Sociology at the Catholic University of Leuven [see: www.kuleuven.be/english/] Olivie Servie has said that they currently comprise one third of the population of the capital city, attributing this to the high birth rate amongst Muslims.
However, a socialist member of the Belgian Parliament Mahfūz Ramadānī doubted the accuracy of the information, saying that not all emigrants from Islamic states are Muslims, and that he himself is an atheist.
Relatively, calls to pass a legislation to prevent Muslims from marrying relatives have been raised in The Netherlands after the rate of disabled children due to genetic reasons has been found to be increasing. A study by The Netherlands National Institute for Public Health and Environment [RIVM, see: www.rivm.nl/en] found it has preceded 20 percent, especially in Muslim communities.
[Comment added by Elinor de Poyer, Belgian AWR subscriber living in Brussels.
The Muslim population in Brussels has indeed immensely increased over the past few years.
As a child I can remember it was a rarity to encounter a Muslim somewhere else in the country, whereas these days they have become part of the society everywhere. In major cities, such as Brussels, entire areas are resided in and occupied mainly by Muslims. Mosques rise from the streets and in certain suburbs only Arabic scripture is found on the billboards of the shops.
High birth rates amongst the Muslims are more common then with Belgians, but I believe this still to be part of the culture. In the earlier days, high birth rates were also common amongst Belgians, but due to the evolution of society and work, lack of time and means, and sometimes by pure choice, this tendency has greatly decreased. So, although in these times it is still a common thing within the Arab population in Belgium [since this indeed applies not only to Muslims but also Christians and other faiths that are part of the Arab population], I believe also here in time it will become less, for a big part of the new generation adapts itself to the speed and practice of the society it is living in.
It must also be said that we need to keep in mind that Europe is continues to evolve and grow by the day. Other countries are enlisted and people start migrating allover Europe, many to Brussels, Muslims as well as non-Muslims.
Belgium is no longer the country of the "Belgians." But then again what is and who is a "Belgian"? Founded in 1830 we have always been a buffer and a country/people known for their compromises. As long as everyone gets along and is able to respect and live together, it is the most important thing, and a difference in faith should never become the problem - on either side. So the best thing to do in these times, is to do what Belgium is best at: finding compromises to keep and help the state evolve for the better.