The same situation prevails in Vienna. How will Europe avoid having a majority-Muslim population all across the Continent, and not very long from now? And do Europeans think that the Muslim majorities in European countries will preserve secular societies that respect the freedom of speech and equality of rights for women? There is no tradition of that in Islamic history.
“In and around Brussels, the practice of Islam is outstripping Christianity,” by Erasmus, The Economist, February 18, 2016:
LIKE so many other pieces in the European mosaic, Belgium has an idiosyncratic relationship with faith. It is both historically devout and heavily secular in its present-day practices. Its ancient cities are cradles of Christian art and learning, and Catholicism is in many ways the country’s raison d’etre. When it was created in 1830, the kingdom offered a political home to Catholic Dutch-speakers who preferred to unite with French-speaking co-religionists than with Protestants with whom they had a common tongue. Faith had trumped language. But as Christianity’s role has waned, so too has Belgium’s ability to hold together the two linguistic camps. And a new creed, Islam, is gaining importance all the while.
The royal family, a national linchpin, is devoutly Catholic. In 1990, King Baudouin stepped aside for a day rather than sign a bill legalising abortion. But in 2014, his successor King Philippe disappointed conservative Catholics by signing an exceptionally liberal euthanasia law, extending the practice to terminally ill children.
The easy passage of that law reflected the political strength of non-religious ethical systems. But in contrast with secular France, a lot of religion is taught in Belgian schools; children are generally instructed in the faith of their heritage, be it Christian, Jewish or, in steadily increasing numbers, Muslim. In Brussels, about half the children in state schools opt for classes in Islam, although this figure excludes the large share of youngsters who attend private, mostly Catholic schools….
The pollsters were surprised by how many respondents still professed some attachment to a religion. Among all respondents, 20% called themselves practising Catholics and 43% non-practising Catholics; 6% were practising Muslims and 1% non-practising Muslims. With other religions accounting for a few points each, that left 26% who called themselves atheist or agnostic. Jean-Philippe Schreiber, a professor of religous studies who co-commissioned the poll, said a remarkably high number of Belgians “claimed a religious identity” even if it did not affect their behaviour much. That certainly applied to loosely affiliated Catholics; and it might also be true that not every respondent who identified with Islam actually prayed and fasted as the rules lay down.
Then turn to Brussels, some parts of which host large communities of Moroccan and Turkish immigrants, mostly from religiously conservative regions of those countries. Among respondents in the city, practising Catholics amounted to 12% and non-practising ones to 28%. Some 19% were active Muslims and another 4% were of Muslim identity without practising the faith. The atheist/agnostic camp came to 30%.
Among all respondents, levels of active adherence to Catholicism seemed to diminish dramatically with age, while the practice of Islam increased correspondingly. Thus among respondents aged 55 and over, practising Catholics amounted to 30% and practising Muslims to less than 1%; but among those aged between 18 and 34, active adherence to Islam (14%) exceeded the practice of Catholicism (12%). Admittedly the sample (600 people in all) is small. But if this trend continues, practitioners of Islam may soon comfortably exceed devout Catholics not just in cosmopolitan Brussels, as is the case already, but across the whole of Belgium’s southern half….