A Framework for Understanding Radical Islam’s Challenge to European Governments


Publication Date: May 2007

Publisher: Hudson Institute

Author(s): Jonathan S. Paris

Research Area: Population and demographics

Type: Report


Demography is one of Europe’s most significant challenges.A relatively high Muslim birthrate in Europe and an alarmingly low birthrate among indigenous Europeans, combined with the tendency of Muslims to live in urban areas, suggest that many European cities will have Muslim majorities by 2020 or 2025, even with government imposition of tighter immigration restrictions. To take one city, Bradford, UK, one of the early destinations of Pakistani immigrants after the Second World War, the 1991 census recorded 64,000 Muslims representing 13 per cent of the population. By 2001, there were 94,000 Muslims, a 50 per cent increase from 1991. In 2001, Muslims represented nearly 20 per cent of overall population but over 30 per cent of students and 50 per cent of toddlers. By 2011, Muslims will represent close to 30 per cent of the population in Bradford and over 50 per cent of its students. The high growth rates and youth bubble create a burgeoning pool of young Muslim males. The Muslim population surge is most apparent in the British Midlands and in the adjacent corridor across the channel from northern France through Belgium and Holland. Europe’s challenge is thus one of integration. The question one must ask, given these trends and the worrisome manifestations of Islamic radicalism accompanying the rise of a new generation of European-born Muslims, is: what tools can Europe adopt to ensure a successful integration of this growing minority?