20 August 2017

Do countries have right to protect their majority demography against growing Muslim fertility?

All majority populace in any country take pride in their history, heritage, culture, values and desire to preserve that national identity. Japanese would not want anyone other than Japanese to be the majority in Japan, same with Chinese, Germans, British, French want to maintain their white Christian/Catholic status, even Hindu India. The rising Muslim population is a global concern and countries are realizing the need to address this. The traditional identity, culture, values are all at the risk of being replaced. It is not so much the fault with general Muslims but the extremist factions that are their leaders who pose the problem. The Sinhalese are also sharing the same concern in particular to preserve its Buddhist status realizing how Buddhism that spread across the world without the sword or forced conversions is now targeted to be annihilated. Myanmar has directly addressed these existential threats.

Many countries are discovering that the moment Muslim populace passes a certain percentage the bargaining increases as do the demands and assimilation becomes difficult. Muslims themselves, become victims to various forms of extremes all of which they are not in control over. They are helpless and become victims of both Muslim extremists as well as the rest of the non-Muslim community who are angered by these unfair demands.

It is not so much the rise in Muslim populace that is the concern but the rise in radicalism and extremism creating ghetto areas and self-isolation making assimilation difficult. The emergence of parallel societies is not healthy to a nation. This creates parallel cultures not assimilating with the dominant culture and then creates rifts as population increases.

With the rise of Muslim populace, their bargaining power also increases and they influence political decision making. Extremist Muslim leaders emerge using the Muslim bloc vote to make unfair demands that secure their political careers.

The demands for mosques, madrassas, playing of azan, new dress claiming to be religious, ghetto areas, special labeling for foods has turned into a lucrative business venture with certificates being issued for a fee to exporters/importers to majority Muslim countries, Shariah/Islamic banking systems forced upon countries even where Muslims are less than 9% of the total populace – these are just a handful of examples that have contributed to apprehensions across the globe especially in the West where white populations are declining and Muslim populations are rising with the guestimates that one day eventually Islam would prevail over them. It is that same concern that people of the East also have taken cognizance of.  

Global Muslim populace is 1.8billion or 24% of the world’s populace. Coincidentally, where Islam originated – Middle East-North Africa region has only 20% Muslims while 62% Muslims live in the Asia-Pacific region with Indonesia having the world’s largest Muslim populace.

Like Christianity, it was as a result of Islamic invasions & through the sword that non-Muslim territories became Islamized and communities of Muslims were created by forcibly converting those natives. A trail of the Islamic invasions will portray this reality. As will a trail of how Christianity spread.

The disproportionate birth rate is the cause for the alarm by non-Muslims with justification. In comparison to the 7 other major religious groups Muslim women have an average of 2.9children as against 2.2children of non-Muslims. While world population is projected to grow at 32% the number of Muslims is expected to increase by 70% - from 1.8b in 2015 to nearly 3b in 2060 according to Pew Research.

India’s Muslims are growing faster than the country’s majority Hindu population and is projected to rise from 14.9% (2015) to 19.4% by 2060 (333million people).
It is projected that 10% of Europe will be Muslim by 2050.
In the US, the Muslim populace is 3.35 million or 1% of the US population. Pew Research estimates that Muslims will become 2.1% of the U.S. population by the year 2050

There are 1,053,945 Muslims in Canada or 3.2% of the populace. 11 Muslims have got elected during the Federal elections in 2015. Hate crimes against Muslims are rising too http://globalnews.ca/news/3523535/hate-crimes-canada-muslim/ The expanding influence of Wahhabi/Salafism in Canada is contributing to a wave of extremism & influencing Muslims through the mosques. http://mackenzieinstitute.com/rise-islamic-extremism-canada/ And these are the fears that other countries are now waking up to.

Islam is the second largest religion in the United Kingdom – 3m Muslims in England & Wales – 5.4% of the total population. In 2011, 2.71 million Muslims lived in England and Wales, compared with 1.55 million in 2001. There were also 77,000 Muslims in Scotland and 3,800 in Northern Ireland.

Germany has 4.8 million Muslims in Germany (5.8% of the country’s population) There are 4.7 million Muslims in France (7.5%).
Russia has 14 million Muslims (10%) In Russia, Moscow had only 1 mosque in the 1980s now there are 4 mosques. Russia’s Muslim populace has increased b 40% since 1989 to about 25million.

As of 2010, the European Union was home to about 13 million Muslim immigrants. Total Muslims in Europe is said to number 52million.

While Muslims are increasing in non-Majority Muslim countries the non-Muslims in Muslim-majority countries are decreasing or disappearing!

Iraq had 1.4m Christians at the time of Saddam Hussein’s reign. It is now less than 800,000. In Pakistan religious minorities have dropped from 23% in 1947 to 3-4% in 2012 (Farahnaz Ispahani)
In the 1920s Christians are said to have been 30% of Syria’s population. It has dropped to 22% of Syria’s 22m populace now.
Lebanese Christian population has shrunken from 78% to only 34% over the last century.

"Christianity is under an existential threat," Anna Eshoo, a Democrat member of the US House of Representatives from California, and an advocate of Mideast Christians

While it is politically correct for Europeans to claim Muslims clash with fundamental precepts of Western secular beliefs Europeans claim it is politically incorrect for Asians to claim that Muslims clash with non-Muslim beliefs in their countries! Why this hypocrisy & double standards?

Examples of Muslim population increase in Sri Lanka

Muslim population in 1981 was 37,826
Muslim population in 2012 was 97,621

Muslim population in 1981 was 33,659
Muslim population in 2012 was 113,320

Muslim population in 1981 was 98,436
Muslim population in 2012 was 191,570

Muslim population in 1981 was 139,743
Muslim population in 2012 was 249,609

Muslim population in 1981 was 78,829
Muslim population in 2012 was 133,854

Muslim population in 1981 was 161,568
Muslim population in 2012 was 281,702

Muslim population in 1981 was 60,791
Muslim population in 2012 was 115,302

Muslim population in 1981 was 49,000
Muslim population in 2012 was 147,546

Muslim population in 1981 was 75,039
Muslim population in 2012 was 158,771

Meeting these existential threats directly has been Myanmar which brought Race and Religion Protection Laws in 2014.

1.   Monogamy Law
Criminal offence to have more than one spouse or to live with an unmarried partner who is not a spouse. The law is applicable to all living in Myanmar (Myanmar citizens who live outside as well as foreigners who marry Myanmar citizens while living in Myanmar)

2.    Religious Conversion Law
Myanmar citizens who wish to change his/her religion must obtain approval from Registration Board for Religious Conversion. There is also laws for forced conversion as well as for converting with intent to harm a religion.

3.   Interfaith Marriage Law
The Myanmar Buddhist Women’s Special Marriage Law regulates marriages of Buddhist women to non-Buddhist men.

4.    Population Control Law
The laws provides the governments of divisions and states ‘to request a presidential order limiting reproductive rates if it is determined that population growth, accelerating birth rates, or rising infant or maternal mortality rates are negatively impacting regional development’ or that an ‘imbalance between population and resources, low socio-economic indicators and regional food insufficiency because of internal migration’ exists.

India too recently banned polygamy.

Roman Catholicism is the state religion and protected by State laws in Costa Rica, Liechtenstein, Malta, Monaco, Italy, the Vatican City. Andorra, Argentina, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Panama, Paraquay, Peru & Poland.

Eastern Orthodoxy is state religion in Greece, Georgia & Bulgaria. England, Scotland & Wales are Anglican, Protestant, while Lutheran church is state religion in Norway, Denmark, Greenland, Iceland, Finland, Sweden. The Hungarian constitution describes Hungary as ‘part of Christian Europe’ and acknowledges the ‘role of Christianity in preserving nationhood’. Samoa’s constitution makes Christianity the state religion while Zambia’s constitution declares it a “Christian nation’. No one seems to be objecting to these countries very clearly demarcating Christian faith as state religion while giving others religious freedom! However, these countries all take measures to ensure Christian faith remains protected whatever freedoms are given to others.

In Muslim majority countries the state place for Islam is non-negotiable and often non-Islamic faiths have hardly any freedom.

In Singapore 75% of population are Chinese. Article 152 of the Singapore Constitution says
“(2) The Government shall exercise its functions in such manner as to recognise the special position of the Malays, who are the indigenous people of Singapore, and accordingly it shall be the responsibility of the Government to protect, safeguard, support, foster and promote their political, educational, religious, economic, social and cultural interests and the Malay language.”

Lee Kuan Yew himself has hinted at the need to maintain this ‘racial balance’
“By race, the fertility rate is 1.91 for Malays, 1.19 for Indians and 1.14 for Chinese. If we continue this way without the new immigrants and PRs and their children doing national service, the composition of our SAF (Singapore armed forces) will change. So please remember that”.

Singapore has also introduced the Ethnic Integration Policy that by law decides the ethnic percentage living in a neighborhood. This is to ensure no ethnic ghetto areas arise.

Malaysia follows the Bhoomiputra policy (sons of the land) Special position is given to the Malays in its constitution (Article 153) Article 160 defines a Malay as being one who "professes the religion of Islam, habitually speaks the Malay language, conforms to Malay customs and is the child of at least one parent who was born within the Federation of Malaysia before independence of Malaya on 31 August 1957, or the issue (off-spring) of such a person."

All Bumiputra, regardless of their financial standing, are entitled 7 percent discount on houses or property, including luxurious units; whilst a low-income non-Bumiputra receives no such financial assistance. Companies listed on the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange (Bursa Saham Kuala Lumpur) must have 30% bumiputra ownership of equity to satisfy listing requirements. Malaysia requires citizens to carry a national identification card called MyKad. Smart Cards identify citizens as Muslims or Non-Muslims

If fundamental rights for all must be equal then the laws applicable must be equal too. There cannot be special laws for a community especially if that law becomes detrimental for demography. In Sri Lanka polygamy is legal for only Muslims, that will definitely pose population problems in the future. Polygamy should thus be banned for all. Similarly, the proposed Anti-Conversion bill must also be passed.

Countries have realized the dangers & have taken measures to protect their heritage. There is no reason Sri Lanka shouldn’t either no matter the objections that come. While both Islam and Christianity have spread from its origins using the sword & forced conversions, presently replacing the sword has been the power of bloc nations, diplomatic pressures and the monopoly they hold via international trade & across various international forums. Nevertheless, we cannot forget that there is a 2600 history to preserve and it is our duty to do so for those that cry foul belong to faiths that have been targeting to change the demography and religious landscape of Sri Lanka.

Shenali D Waduge