The Suicide of Islam

The Closing of the Muslim Womb

“Population decline is the elephant in the world’s living room. As a matter of arithmetic, we know that the social life of most developed countries will break down within two generations. Two out of three Italians and three of four Japanese will be elderly dependents by 2050. If present fertility rates hold, the number of Germans will fall by 98 percent over the next two centuries. No pension and health care system can support such an inverted population pyramid. Nor is the problem limited to the industrial nations. Fertility is falling at even faster rates—indeed, at rates never before registered anywhere—in the Muslim world. The world’s population will fall by as much as a fifth between the middle and the end of the twenty-first century, by far the worst decline in human history.” [1]

So writes David P. Goldman in the introduction to his recent book, How Civilisations Die (and Why Islam is Dying Too).

Goldman observes that the economic crisis in Europe is at root a demographic crisis, and the demographic crisis is a crisis of faith.

In the absence of religious faith, if our culture dies, our hope of transcending mere physical existence dies with it. Individuals trapped in a dying culture live in a twilight world. They embrace death through infertility, concupiscence and war. A dog will crawl into a hole to die. The members of sick cultures do not do anything quite so dramatic, but they cease to have children, dull their senses with alcohol and drugs, become despondent, and too frequently do away with themselves. Or they may make war on the perceived source of their humiliation. [2]

The secularization of Europe is tragic, but the loss of faith and subsequent demographic decline in the Muslim world is news to me. What’s interesting is that not only have the birthrates among Muslim immigrants in European countries (except Great Britain) fallen to current European levels within one or two generations, the birthrates in Muslim states are also falling dramatically.

Islam is a pagan parody of Judeo-Christian religion, says Franz Rozenzweig. But how does Islam respond to the encroachment of the modern world?

In Europe, a decline in religious faith underlies its demographic decline… In the footsteps of Western Europe, Islam also faces a crisis of faith that will bring about a demographic catastrophe in the middle of the present century. Given the prominence of what Westerners call “Islamic fundamentalism,” it seems odd to speak of a crisis of faith in the Islamic world. Striking statistical evidence supports this conclusion…

Although the Muslim birthrate today is the world’s second highest (after sub-Saharan Africa), it is falling faster than the birthrate of any other culture… The demographic position of the Islamic world has set a catastrophe in motion. It is hard enough for rich nations to care for a growing elderly population, but it is impossible for poor nations to do so. If America faces discomfort, and Europe faces crisis, Muslim countries face breakdown. [3]

Demographic decline due to literacy and modernity is not really news, even in Muslim nations. What is news is that this process is occurring in Islamic nations at a rate that is dumbfounding the experts. Muslim nations currently have a relatively young population, but that population is not having children. In response to the onslaught of modernity, this “suicide of Islam” is a titanic version of the self-immolation of an endangered tribe.

If demographic winter is encroaching slowly on the West, a snap frost has overtaken the Muslim world. Europe has had two hundred years to make the transition from the high fertility rates of rural life to the low fertility rates of the industrial world. Iran, Turkey, Tunisia, and Algeria are attempting it in twenty. The graying of the Muslim world in lapsed time, as it were, can have only tragic consequences. [4]

The political and religious leaders of these Muslim states are aware of the problem. Where the West is pessimistic, these nations are panicking. Faced with poverty and, in some cases, starvation, it is likely they will become not less dangerous but more so. Goldman’s take on the recent Arab revolutions is eye-opening.

Despite the desperate efforts of political and religious leaders, Islam’s response to modernity has been not only a sudden demographic decline, but in many cases a descent into self-destructive behavior.

The underside of Islam’s demographic freeze is an appalling breakdown of traditional mores… Under the facade of radical Islam, Iran suffers from an eruption of social pathologies such as drug addiction and prostitution on a scale much worse than anything observed in the West. It appears than Islamic theocracy promotes rather than represses social decay. A spiritual malaise has overcome Iran despite the best efforts of the totalitarian Islamists. Popular morale has deteriorated much faster than in the “decadent” West against which the Khomeini revolution was directed. [5]

This statement is shocking enough, but Goldman’s evidence and breakdown of the problem is not only heart-rending, it exposes the Islamic hypocrisy for what it is — an impotent Phariseeism.

[1] How Civilisations Die, p. ix
[2] How Civilisations Die, p. xxii
[3] David P. Goldman, It’s Not the End of the World, It’s Just the End of You: The Great Extinction of the Nations, pp. 280-284.
[4] How Civilisations Die, p. 1
[5] How Civilisations Die, p. 45-46.


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