Putting Muslims to the Test

From the May 2006 Trumpet Print Edition

European governments want to make it harder for immigrants to attain citizenship; Germany and the Netherlands lead the charge.

A set of proposed tests that would be mandatory for incoming immigrants has been criticized as anti-Muslim. The test advocated by one German state asks about a person’s views on forced marriage, homosexuality and women’s rights. In another state, a 100-question test asks immigrants whether “the applicant believes in Israel’s right to exist and whether a woman should be allowed in public without the accompaniment of a male relative” (Deutsche Welle, March 16).

These culturally charged questions are considered mild compared with immigration procedures introduced in the Netherlands. Applicants are tested on their tolerance to homosexuality and nude sunbathing. On top of that, the preparation packet and the test itself cost 400 euros. German politicians see the Netherlands’ moves as “a model for Germany” (ibid.).

No question about it: Europeans are increasingly wary of the Muslim segments of their populations.

With the rise of radical Islam and a steady drumbeat of high-profile cases of Islamist terrorism within EU nations, it is hard to fault the predominantly Roman Catholic continental population for getting edgy. At the same time, the global political climate is putting these two cultures more at odds: Iran is consistently defying Europe’s three biggest nations, the United Nations and the United States; meanwhile radical Islamists are gaining significant political leverage in the Middle East.

That said, Europe doesn’t have the best track record of tolerating what it deems to be alien cultures living in its midst: the Serbs prior to World War i and the Jews before and during World War ii are two notable and uncomfortably recent examples.

But what is most interesting is the demographic nightmare most European nations will face unless they accept massive immigration. Europeans simply aren’t birthing anywhere near the 2.1 children per woman required to maintain a population. As Mark Steyn wrote in an OpinionJournal.com piece, “Germany and Austria are at 1.3, the brink of the death spiral; Russia and Italy are at 1.2; Spain 1.1, about half replacement rate. That’s to say, Spain’s population is halving every generation. By 2050, Italy’s population will have fallen by 22 percent, Bulgaria’s by 36 percent, Estonia’s by 52 percent” (January 4). Germany’s birthrate, in fact, was lower last year than in 1945.

And though population alone doesn’t define national strength, it is a significant factor: To grow its industry, stoke its economy and populate its military, a country simply must have a young, growing populace.

Berlin knows this. Germany and other low-birthrate European nations will soon have to rectify the situation. And they don’t consider unbridled immigration an acceptable answer.

But there is another, more sinister solution to this crisis—portended by history and suggested by Bible prophecy. Though it may seem unlikely in modern times, the Bible speaks of a European power that will compensate for its lack of native manpower by trading in “slaves, and souls of men” (Revelation 18:13)—a modern revival of a slave trade, destined to involve millions.

Watching the confluence of trends in Europe—declining birthrates and resulting economic strains, increasing xenophobia and the inevitable population crunch this will create—the prospect of this frightening prophecy springing to life is becoming more real all the time.