ISLAM, POP CULTURE AND THE DEMOGRAPHIC DEMON
Posted on 2015-04-27 22:30:00
That was a magical evening. That was an evening of joyous songs. That was an evening of hopeless romantics discovering the love of their lives. As hundreds of thousands of people gathered at the Champs-Élysées amidst neon lights and honking horns, there was unprecedented merriment everywhere. It was the greatest party that Paris had hosted since liberation day in 1944. One pet name rang through the air of Paris that night and was flashed using a laser display on the Arc de Triomphe to loud cheers from the gathered sea of humanity. The whole of France was chanting “Zizou” even as the world watched in envy. Zenidine Zidane, who looked like a handsomer 90’s descendant of that delightful half-Martian, Spock, from the 60’s Star Trek, had achieved the impossible by conquering four time world champions, Brazil, and giving France the most coveted membership of the elite football world champion’s club. France, unlike her illustrious neighbours England, Germany and Italy, had never won a world cup till 1998 which acted as a constant reminder of the pain of an unhealed wound on the soul of a nation. Zizou had healed that wound with his famous balding head that night.
It was the night of madness. It was the night of bloodshed. It was a night when life discovered hopelessness amidst the overwhelming smell of death. Two words were flashed on the Arc de Triomphe using a laser display that read “Je suis Charlie”. Almost seventeen years after Zidane won the world cup, Paris had again gathered in a sea of humanity to mourn the death of satire even as the world watched in mounting horror. Life couldn’t have offered a greater contrast within two decades to mourn Europe’s funeral. France had become the first western country where an urban daylight war was waged in the name of religion and prophet. This was not a nightmare in Beirut or Baghdad or Peshawar. This was the epitome of libertarian society and democracy. This was the city of uninhibited love and lust and sorority. This was Paris. Three mad men had managed to wound the soul of France that night.
Pleasure and pain like day and night are often woven from the same cloth of karma. An Algerian Muslim immigrant had given France unlimited joy in the late 90’s while two others of similar ethnicity managed to wound France mortally in 2015. At the outset, this dichotomy is corroding Europe like a leech attached to its soul. Expert estimates suggest that about 15000 young Muslim men have returned back to Europe in the last one year after fighting in various conflict zones of the middle-east like Syria, Iraq and Yemen. These young Muslims, many of them of African descent, had ostensibly travelled to the middle-east to study Arabic and Islamic theology where they were offered the adrenaline rush of fighting Jihad in many of the conflict zones as an extracurricular activity!
Young men like the infamous Koachi brothers who massacred the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists in broad daylight would have lived an obscure life in some shanty town of Europe, but such young men are deliberately handpicked by radical Imams and clerics who give them a purpose in their otherwise meaningless life and that purpose is known popularly as Jihad. This uniquely Islamic ecosystem has been operating across the world for at least two decades now. What happened in Paris in January 2015 could happen anywhere in Europe, in Germany or Belgium or Switzerland or England, for Europe is teeming with young Muslim men in millions.
In order to fully understand this European dichotomy, we must once again go back to the redefining feature of Europe, its football. Like it always happens, in last year’s football world cup in Brazil some huge new superstars emerged on the world stage, many of them were from Europe. Be it world cup winners Sami Khedira and Mesut Ozil of Germany or the hatrick hero of Switzerland, Xherdan Shaqiri or the Real Madrid superstar, Karim Benzema of France, they all became instant hits and household names across the world. What is common between all of them? They are all young Muslim men of Europe.
In fact, the 2014 football world cup will go down in history as an event with the highest representation of Muslim footballers. A whopping 98 Muslim footballers took part in the 2014 world cup of Brazil. One might try and argue that this unusually high number is on account of those almost wholly Islamic countries like Iran from Asia and Algeria from Africa which had qualified for a trip to Brazil, but that would be a half-truth at best. Truth is that 40 of those Muslim footballers belonged to Europe.
The other continent which is as obsessed with football as Europe is undoubtedly South America, which also hosted the 2014 event. Do you know how many Muslim players belonged to South America or the whole of Americas in that same world cup? ZERO!
Above is the terrorism heat map of continental South America in the current millennium and this is the report card of the last 15 years. Mind you, this was a war ravaged continent with unending civil wars and disastrous Maoist violence throughout the 20th century, but even as the world witnessed the rise of Islamic fundamentalism, South America turned a new leaf of peace in the 21st century. Coincidentally, the population of Muslims in South America is less than 0.6%. Apart from the drug mafia and the military wing of communist party in Columbia and a few minor guerrilla-warfare incidents in Paraguay and Peru, over the last 15 years, the number of big terror events in South America for all practical purposes have been ZERO!
In the corresponding 15 year period, the world suffered some of the most horrific terror events – the September 11 attack by hijacked planes on the world trade centre in 2001, the Madrid train attack of 2004, the Mumbai train bombings of 2006, the London underground bombing in 2005, the 26/11 urban war on Mumbai in 2008 and the Borno Massacre of Kenya in 2014; the list is endless. In fact, there were 103 major Islamic terrorist events that the world suffered in the last 15 years since 2000 which have left 8223 dead and some 17000 injured as per official accounts of different countries. If we add the many minor incidents and the conflict zones of middle-east, south Asia and Africa to that list, the number of dead increases dramatically to many lakhs. Global terrorism watchdogs believe that even with conservative estimates the world has lost some 240000 lives while leaving at least a million and a half injured due to various Islamic wars and terror activities since 2000. These are stunning statistics, for every passing hour in this world is witness to at least 12 people being either killed or injured in the name of Islam, which means a colossal human tragedy develops every 5 minutes.
Even as this tragedy of unprecedented scale, depth and frequency in human history is unfolding in front of our eyes, the civilized world doesn’t really know how to react to it. Europe, for instance, celebrates her young Muslim football heroes while other young Muslim men terrorize the continent. How can Europe react to a Karim Benzema with a Mullah-beard on a footballing pitch? It is a deeply disturbing iconography that often creates mass conflict. Of course, the left-liberal view is to reject any questioning of Islam as a religion and against any tightening of porous European borders. Immigration, especially Islamic immigration is often presented as a deeply ideological debate from a liberal European standpoint, but the truth is often a lot more mundane than what liberal idealists would want us to believe.
In France, when François Hollande became the first Socialist President since 1995, he was able to achieve his victory because of the “Muslim vote”. A survey conducted by Paris based newspaper, Le Figaro, during the presidential election in 2012, had projected that an extraordinary 93% of all Muslims had voted in favour of Mr. Hollande who won his presidency by a mere margin of 1.1 million votes after securing 1.7 million Muslim votes out of a total of 2 million. One of the primary reasons why Hollande became a favoured choice among Muslims of France is because he had pledged to offer amnesty and citizenship to the 400000 illegal Muslim immigrants of the country.
As Soeren Kern, a senior fellow at the Gatestone Institute and a foreign policy analyst, had pointed out in 2012, “The French vote marks the first time that Muslims have determined the outcome of a presidential election in a major western European country; it is a preview of things to come”. His words turned out to be almost prophetic, but in a strangely gory twist. It was indeed a preview of “things to come” but the things that did come were in the form of two Jihadi ghosts who massacred with impunity while the French president and the rest of Europe made all the ‘right noises’ about terror having no religion and organizing a solidarity march which included Muslim leaders but excluded the Right wing leaders like Marine Le Pen of the French National Front. Thus, behind all the veneer of liberalism, the socialist Prime Minister of France, even in the midst of a terror attack was more interested in protecting his Muslim vote-bank than offering any lasting solutions to Europe’s problems.
That Europe is going through a crisis far deeper than they care to admit is a given, but what is astonishing is the amount of politics that is enacted in the name of liberalism. It is a deep societal disadvantage that Europe is facing. The greying of Europe and the advent of Islam are not mere historical coincidences, this is the nature of civilizational law. As the Brookings Institution Think Tank had predicted in 2003, the median age of Europe would increase to 52.3 in 2050 from the then average of 37.7 and then the IMF went further to project in 2006 that the ratio of retirees to workers in Europe will double to 0.54 by 2050, which all meant that Europe was ageing at an incredibly fast pace. It is in this backdrop that Islam offers Europe the elixir of eternal youth with an endless supply of young virile fighters and heroes.
The reconciliation of Europe to the dichotomy of Islam, of heroes and terrorists, is a harsh reality that is often opposed by the European far-right but only with the consequent ridicule from the intelligentsia. Any questioning of Islam or any attempts to protest Islamic barbarism are either described as Islamophobic at best or xenophobic at worst, because liberalism inherently lacks the understanding of the new world order. Europe, especially the liberal European part, still carries the immense weight of a Holocaust history on her old shoulders and cannot even begin to fathom this Islamic dichotomy, much less, present a tangible alternative.
Europe is not alone in this dilemma of 21st century. In fact, the European template is but only a minor manifestation of an experiment that was originally created in a laboratory that offered perfect testing environment. In order to understand the antecedents of the dichotomy of Islam we will have to travel all the way from Europe to the Indian subcontinent.
As Gulshan Kumar emerged from the Jeeteshwar Mahadev temple in Andheri of what was then recently re-christened as Mumbai, his would-be killer opened fire and the bullets hit Kumar in his arm and waist. A profusely bleeding Kumar first tried to duck into a public urinal but then crawled into a neighbouring shanty where he pleaded with an old woman to shut the door in a supposedly “panting voice”, but it was too late already. The killer and his accomplice followed a wounded Kumar and pumped more bullets into him. Throughout the incident the killer’s cell phone was switched on to ensure that Abu Salem could hear Gulshan Kumar’s screaming voice and agonized pleading on the other side of the line from Dubai. The assassination had taken a full 15 minutes to execute and was done in broad daylight in the busy by lanes of Mumbai in August 1997.
Notorious Mumbai underworld don Abu Salem had earlier demanded a regular hafta of 5 lakh rupees every month from Gulshan Kumar who had steadfastly refused to pay up and had even gone to the extent of insulting Salem by insisting that he “would rather donate the money to Mata Vaishno Devi’s Bhandara”. Gulshan Kumar was a devout Hindu who organized a Devi ka Bhandara every year to provide free meals to thousands of pilgrims of Vaishno Devi. In fact, Gulshan Kumar was more than just a devout Hindu, he was possibly the biggest patron of Hinduism from Bollywood in the 80’s and 90’s outside Sagar studios of Ramanand Sagar who made the uproariously successful TV series Ramayan for Doordarshan. A substantial portion of business in the Super Cassettes Industries who owned the label T-Series was focussed on Hindu devotional songs and albums. A deeply communal and pathologically Hindu-hating Mumbai underworld considered Gulshan Kumar, the owner of T-series, as their enemy number one and Abu Salem not only wanted him murdered but also wanted to listen to his death scream.
“This criminal act is totally out of place in a civilized society and particularly in a city known for its discipline and civic consciousness” – this was the exact statement of India’s then Prime Minister, Inder Kumar Gujral, given to Indian Express newspaper after Gulshan Kumar’s murder which had shaken the whole nation and not just Mumbai. That phrase “civic consciousness” strikes at you like a sharp knife piercing your heart. Here was our Prime Minister who couldn’t see beyond civic responsibilities of Indian citizenry as the biggest corollary of daylight terror in India’s financial and entertainment capital. With the stroke of one statement, I.K. Gujral had reduced the terrorist activities of Mumbai underworld to a municipal issue. This has always been the tragedy of India’s political leadership who never realized that India was fast emerging as the laboratory of global Jihad despite of the fact that 4 years before Gulshan Kumar’s murder, Mumbai had already witnessed the world’s first major act of Islamic terrorism in the post-cold-war era.
As Hussain Zaidi explains in his biography of Mumbai Mafia ‘Dongri to Dubai’, “from Crawford Market to the end of JJ hospital, covering Null Bazaar, Umarkhadi, Chor Bazaar, Kamathipura, and all the interweaving cloth and retail markets and Masjids… the eastern part of Bombay islands was historically Muslim dominated”. After the seven islands of Bombay were linked, this eastern island, referred to as Dongri, slowly became the den of crime in the city. Much before the advent of Dawood, during the British raj, Wahab Pehelwan, Chinka Dada, Ibrahim Dada and Nanhe Khan ruled the roost in these parts of Mumbai. “In those days, the easiest crime was to accost late night travellers and relieve them of their valuables. The art of pickpocketing was yet to be learnt and perfected” writes Zaidi.
After independence, first Karim Lala and then Haji Mastan took the crime scene of Mumbai to newer levels by mainly smuggling activities. Then Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar happened to Mumbai. Dawood crossed all the boundaries including the thin line separating the life of crime from the life of terrorism in the Muslim underworld of Mumbai. By the time he left Indian shores forever in the early 90’s, his crime syndicate was almost impossible to distinguish from the then emerging world of Islamic Jihad.
There is an interesting parallel to this mafia story also from Mumbai but from more affluent parts of the city like Juhu and Bandra. In the 1940’s India when the Indian film industry began to emerge as the greatest cultural portrait of a newly reborn nation, it was indeed taboo to have Muslim icons in a partitioned country with still festering wounds of mass murders and daylight rapes at the hands of communal Pakistanis. All the major Muslim movie stars of that era chose Hindu pseudonyms like Dilip Kumar, Madhubala and Meena Kumari to woo the Indian audiences and to cater to the Hindu sensibilities, while even somebody supposedly as ‘liberated’ as Fatima Rashid also chose a more benign screen name of Nargis to attain success.
There is an interesting side story to these pseudonyms of 1940’s Mumbai movie industry that many wouldn’t have heard of. Kidar Sharma, a successful director of that era had made an ambitious film, Neel Kamal in 1947 starring an adult Raj Kapoor for the first time opposite a certain “Mumtaz” which was released a few months before independence. The film bombed at the box office despite the best efforts by the original “Mr. Perfectionist” of Hindi movies, Kidar Sharma. One of the primary reasons given by many distributors and theatre owners for Neel Kamal’s failure in those days was the presence of a “Muslim heroine”. Mumtaz was a stunningly beautiful actress with an even more stunning screen presence, but her religion had become an obstacle to her success. This tricky issue was solved by producer-director Mohan Sinha who was then about to complete his own film Mere Bhagwan (1947) with the same beautiful actress in the lead role. Mohan Sinha gave her a new exotic name which bestowed Indian film industry with Madhubala.
For many years the Mumbai film fraternity continued with this tradition of choosing more palatable names for their Muslim heroes and heroines, even bit actors like Syed Ishtiaq Ahmed Jaffery chose pseudonyms like “Jagdeep” to find acceptance. To be sure, the trend first turned somewhere in the 70’s when Zeenat Aman and Parveen Babi became fashion divas of Bollywood. But really, the arrival of late 80’s and 90’s changed Indian heroes forever. The sudden appearance of the Khan triumvirate in the span of 3 years between 1988 and 1992 changed the grammar of Indian iconography.
It was in the 1980’s that the usually prescient Mumbai film industry had gained a lot of flab, both literally and figuratively. While the reigning superstar, Amitabh was mostly missing in action for almost the entire second half of 80’s, the film industry and the whole film business itself had gone stagnant. As film maker Amit Khanna had put it so succinctly in 1986, “There is a geriatric problem in the industry. It has lost the ability to throw up new dreams and has aged all the way down the line.” The almost repulsively old Dharmendras and Jeetendras and Shatrughan Sinhas with notebooks under their arms and hideous paunches would play collegiates chasing their co-eds Hema Malini or Rekha or Zeenat Aman (all on the wrong side of 30’s). The film industry desperately needed fresh blood, so much so that Sawan Kumar Tak, who had then given a big blockbuster in the form of Southen with a post-middle aged balding Rajesh Khanna, had spent 36000 rupees in 1986 to put out advertisements in all Mumbai dailies “for fresh faces”.
India too had come out of its colonial and partition hangovers after 40 years of independence and also the angry young man of Left-infested 70’s (so brilliantly portrayed by Bachchan in dozens of films) had given way to the new younger Indian who was more urbane, romantic and essentially a consumerist. This was an India at the bridge between the last vestiges of Licence-quota raj and the new beginnings of a liberalized economy. The Khan triumvirate exploited this vacuum in movie industry to the hilt. Aamir and Salman became overnight heartthrobs of the nation, but it was Shah Rukh who crossed the boundaries by playing the anti-Hero. He captured the imagination of a whole generation of young Muslim men who had grown up with little education and even little hope of finding a half decent job in a new India. This was the phase of Islam brazening it out with its surroundings after lying low for many years.
Literally at the same time that Dawood Ibrahim was bombing Mumbai, young Muslim men were catcalling in ecstasy in a movie theatre where Shah Rukh Khan would either throw the heroine down from a high rise or would kick a pregnant heroine into abortion. It was a strange but potent juxtaposition of imagery that would go on to define Islam in the coming millennium. Meanwhile a different social metamorphosis was shaping up in the newly awaken suburban and small town India where the Khans of Bollywood were the coolest brands of Islam. Maybe it is purely coincidental, but the fact that 3 of the 4 biggest Khans of Bollywood had married non-Muslims and Hindu women in particular provided a unique socio-cultural emphasis to young Indian girls who weaved a fantasy world of suave Muslim men being their knights in shining armour.
It was an era of erasing the boundaries of fringe at the fastest pace. On the one hand the political leadership believed that Islamic extremism was merely a civic issue, while on the other hand the liberal intelligentsia was against any kind of censure of Islam as they believed it smacked of majoritarianism. All this while the Muslim world was moving further and further towards the fringe. For instance, one of the oft repeated homilies of that era was the “undying spirit of Mumbai”, wherein a city was expected to take terror attacks in her stride and shrug off the killings and mayhem as simply the mischief of a petulant child and move on with life. Similarly subcontinent icons like Saeed Anwar and Inzamam-UL-Haq would walk into a cricket stadium with long Mullah-beards that provided crucial legitimacy to radical clerics and Imams directly from the sporting arena but not one voice of protest was raised by anyone. In fact, famous cricket commentators would pretend selective blindness to the elephant in the room. Perhaps more worryingly, it was in this era that for the first time many Kashmiri and Islamic terrorists were given direct access to various power centres of Delhi as part of track two diplomacy while Dawood Ibrahim and his associates continued to remain in close friendship with not just the film industry but also many journalists and even politicos.
What had started tentatively with Mumtaz blooming into Madhubala and Yusuf Khan transforming into Dilip Kumar had come to such a pass that a blatant pro-Pakistani and anti-India voice like Syed Ali Shah Geelani had also been mainstreamed. Shah Rukh and Salman became the ideal husbands and lovers that every Indian women prayed for, while Aamir preached us that Hinduism and idol worship was wrong. Meanwhile what had started with Nanhe Khan waylaying late night travellers of Byculla by wielding the shiny blade of a knife had transformed into Riyaz Bhatkal creating Indian Mujahidin which could bomb any Indian city at will with Ammonium Nitrate, RDX and Gelatine sticks. India’s role as the laboratory of Jihad and the new dichotomy of Islam couldn’t have been more apparent.
Until the 90’s, Islamic terrorism had not taken a global shape and was limited to the Middle-East. The 1983 US embassy attack in Beirut or the 1989 suicide attack on the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem bus were all distant horrors for the rest of the world. The world’s first big Islamic terror attack was the Mumbai bombing of March 12 1993 which killed 350 people as per official estimates. For the next decade and a half, that Mumbai bomb blast became the template for Islamic terrorism worldwide and was reused dozens of times. US embassy bombings of Tanzania and Kenya, London underground bombings and Madrid bombing are all variations of the same Mumbai bomb blast experience of the Jihadists.
On December 24th 1999, Indian Airlines flight 814 was hijacked and smoothly taken to Kandahar. This whole operation was a learning experience for Jihadists which was then used in the September 11 attacks on US using hijacked planes. Once bomb transporting and flight hijacking became a tough proposition because of tighter security all over the world, the next step of learning for Jihadists came in the Mumbai 26/11 attacks when they created a new experiment of urban warfare using militant gunmen. This same template is now being used across the world and attacks on France and Belgium are the latest examples of this. India, thus, has been the primary laboratory for Jihad where experiments are conducted in real-time test conditions and the modules then extrapolated and scaled to the world stage.
At the heart of every religion in this world is an order of existence that is deemed to be superior from all other belief systems. One of the fundamental tenets of every religion is to attract humanity to its order. Often in human history there have been conflicts between different religions leading up to wars, but as civilization evolved, religions too became less and less violent and more and more peaceful. Even as all religions grew more tolerant and compassionate, Islam was the sole exception that grew more and more militant driven by an unshakable belief that it has to win over all other ideologies.
Modern civilized world gives little space to violence of any kind, but the fact is that religions as a social construct are almost always beyond the realm of constitutional law. For instance, how can any legalese quantify faith to arrive at a fair judgment? Terrorism and Jihad maybe frowned upon by a civilized society with a stricter code of law, but it is having little impact on Islam or its propagation. Since the new millennium, Islam is the fastest growing religion of the world, outpacing all other faiths by a distance. In absolute terms, while the two other big religions of the world, Hinduism and Christianity struggled to add some 15 to 20 Cr adherents between 2000 and 2012, Islam managed to add more than double that number at 42 Cr new followers in the same period. The fact is that while all other religions of the world are either static or stable in their growth, Islam is growing exponentially, so much so that our own statistical projection is that it would be the single largest religion of the world by as early as 2030.
The rest of the non-Muslim world is unable to cope with the pace of Islam in any aspect – be it growth, the speed of transnationalism, the tempo of producing heroes and icons, the depth of faith, the ability to assimilate militant philosophies or even something as mundane as the number of marriages and the increased chances of procreation. If this velocity remains unobstructed then Islam could well be the single dominant religion of a monotheistic Human world by 2060 (possibly we would witness it in our own lifetimes if life expectancy keeps increasing at the current rate and if we are not victims of some terror attack by then).
Islam’s ability to expand at such a fast pace has left the world breathless no doubt, but other religionists cannot really complain for their own slackness. Instead, the world must try and understand this unhindered growth of a religion and its single-minded dedication towards defeating all other ideas to be the sole representative of the human race. Islam is operating at three levels towards its ultimate goal;
- At a fundamental level, Muslims believe in unhindered biological reproduction and multiplication – Primary
- Islam offers the single most attractive religious fountainhead for the modern world – Secondary
- Militant Islam considers no violent measure as taboo in its conflict with the kufr – Tertiary
Primarily, Islamic societal architecture is premised on polygamy and procreation. The moral and ethical obligations of a world that is consciously trying to avoid population explosion does not apply to the adherents of Islam. In fact, even modern day urban economic constraints that automatically restrict family sizes catering to the vagaries of inflationary pressures on per capita consumption of a family seem to have had the least impact on Muslims. This unhindered freedom to procreate combined with religiously sanctioned and often encouraged polygamy has provided a unique demographic advantage to Islam vis-à-vis other religions.
Population and fertility studies along religious lines is a controversial and sensitive subject for the civilized liberal world to address. For instance, even in the statistics obsessed United States of America, religion-based census is abhorred and there is no official data on the Muslim population of the country. There are various unofficial estimates though, but they vary by large numbers. Pew Research Center, one of the largest population studies institute in the world, estimates that there are roughly 2.75 million Muslims in the US which include some 1.7 million legal permanent residents. Yet, Pew’s estimate is probably on the lower end as The Council on American-Islamic Relations gives a much higher approximation of 7 million Muslims in the United States.
If that is the demographic status of US, the situation in Europe is far more acute. France, a country with merely 63 million population is today home to anywhere between 6 to 8 million Muslims, UK has 2.8 million Muslims at 4.6% and Muslims in Germany constitute 5% of the population at roughly 4 million. Pew Research Center puts the total number of Muslims in Europe at 45 million (4.5 Cr), but many experts believe that is again a conservative figure as the actual population of Muslims in Europe could be closer to 7 Crore.
At home in India there has been a raging debate about census and the Muslim population, but frankly, one couldn’t really have expected much from the Indian government. When countries of the west with far better technical finesse in maintaining population databases are themselves nearly blind about proportion of Muslim population, how can we expect a country like India to have any clear measure in this regard? Yet, India does officially conduct religion-based census studies, but only doesn’t release accurate data on time. Government of India has released many minute details of census 2011, but has maintained absolute secrecy on the headline data in one particular category for almost 4 years now – the religion wise population figures. There is now a real worry that the religion-wise data has been tampered with, so we may never really know the exact figures. However, there are some pointers on what to expect from the Indian population studies.
Even as per the census of 2001 (however erroneous the exercise was), Muslim child percentage to population was some 20% more than Hindu children due to higher fertility rates and multiple marriages among the former. What is more, the child sex ratio was also much higher at 950 girls to 1000 boys among Muslims as compared to 925:1000 among Hindus which means that Muslims will have at least 25 more mothers than Hindus per 1000 population. Census 2001 also throws light on another aspect that most statisticians tend to miss. Work participation rate (percentage of workers to total population) among Muslim women is also much less at 14.1% as compared to almost double among the Hindu women at 27.5%. What this means in real terms is that Muslim women are mostly domestic creatures which gives them much more time for reproduction and child rearing activities than average Hindu women.
Till 2011, Planning Commission had assigned a TFR (Total Fertility Rate) of 3.6 to Muslim women and 1.6 to Hindu women based on census data, but then suddenly in 2011 Planning Commission inexplicably reduced TFR of Muslim women to 3.1 while keeping the Hindu rate unchanged. This arbitrary decision by Planning Commission came about despite the fact that various international agencies including the UNHCR and the IMF had upwardly revising the TFR of Muslim women in India to 3.8! This was probably one of the reasons why we are seeing a slower growth in Muslim population as per the leaked numbers of 2011 census. What is undeniable though is that an average Muslim woman gives birth to at least 1.5 to 2 more children than an average Hindu woman. Consequently, based on just these above fertility parameters, Muslim population in India should be growing at a rate of at least 76% higher than that of Hindus. As we shall now see, this is but just partial analysis of demographics.
There is a Secondary aspect to the growth of Islam in the world which is probably even more controversial than the primary reason. Today Islam has emerged as the most attractive religion in the world for people to adhere to despite all the militancy. The amazing number of icons and heroes that Islam throws up with every passing year has only helped this cause immensely. Be it footballing superstars of Europe and Africa or Movie stars and pop stars of south Asia, the goodwill that these brand ambassadors generate for Islam among the average citizenry, especially with carefully cultivated media narrative, is probably at its peak today.
There is an astonishing statistic that should give us deeper insight into this phenomenon of Islamic heroes for the world. The last 15 years of this new millennium were possibly the bloodiest in Islamic history, especially considering the sheer number and global spread of terror incidents and innocent civilian casualties. Yet, you would be surprised to know that in the last 15 years, 5 Muslims won the Nobel Peace Prize (excluding Obama) – the highest ever in history because in the previous 50 years between 1950 and 2000, only two Muslims had been awarded the Peace Prize, Anwar Sadat and Yasser Arafat. It is these Malala Yousafzais and Shirin Ebadis who create a narrative of a religion in internal strife and attract world sympathy.
Thus, on the one hand various Muslim heroes and icons make Islam cool, while on the other hand a large number of peace prize winning activists garner sympathy which together creates a fatal attraction towards Islam. A statistical study of inter-faith marriages in the US done in 2012 by surveying the Macy’s marriage registry shows a stunning picture. A whopping 45% of Americans with Muslim last names had selected non-Muslims as their life partners. It is also well-known that interfaith marriages among Muslims is always a one-way traffic as partners and offspring are almost always expected to adapt Islam as the religion. In fact, the Muslim Sharia law is very clear on this as it allows Muslim men to marry up to 4 non-Muslim women whereas Muslim women are prohibited from marrying outside their faith.
The situation in Europe is probably even more conducive for such inter-faith marriages. For instance in 2005 the situation had become so alarming after more than 20000 marriages of Muslim men to Catholic women in Italy in just 1 year that many Cardinals had to issue a clear warning to Italian women against marrying outside their faith. As per a study conducted by Islam in Europe Committee in 2012, close to 30% Muslim men in Europe marry non-Muslims and this is increasing at a rate of 12% every year.
These are all worrying statistics for the non-Muslim world, but sadly there are not enough studies on this subject because the liberal world frowns upon such research and mostly all over the world funding strings for any population research (which is not an inexpensive affair) is controlled by liberal intelligentsia. In India, there has been much melodrama in the media about the concept of Love-Jihad, but hardly any study or research has been commissioned to study the phenomena in an unbiased manner. There is no clear data available on inter-religious or inter-faith marriages in India, let alone Muslim men marrying outside their faith.
Whatever little knowledge we have on interfaith marriages in India is derived from IHDS (Indian Human Development Survey) jointly funded by University of Maryland and NCAER (National Council for Applied Economic Research) but we would have to take the findings of this survey with a pinch of salt as it is also additionally funded by the Ford Foundation which always has hidden agendas. The first IHDS survey was conducted in 2004-05 and the second one in 2010-11, both the times involving 41554 households in 1503 villages and 971 urban neighbourhoods spread across 29 states. Deriving the data from IHDS we can deduce that 2.1% of marriages in India were of inter-faith nature with Punjab being the number one state outside the North-East with 7.3% mixed marriages, which is not a surprise considering the fact that Sikh-Hindu marriages are not uncommon in India. The one data point that is of particular interest in the IHDS survey is that Gujarat ranks among the lowest in number with under 1% inter-faith marriages which gives us some indication that in other parts of India Muslim men are marrying non-Muslim women at least to some degree.
The actual numbers of interfaith marriages ought to be much higher and one can also be reasonably sure that most of the Hindu-Muslim marriages would be one way streets in favour of conversion to Islam due to the inherent nature of stricter Muslim laws. For now, adopting the global data points and deriving statistics from studies within India we can safely add another 14% to the growth of Muslim population of India which would then stand at 90% more than the Hindu growth rate. Of course, that is not the final figure as we have to now consider the aspect of terrorism and migration.
The Tertiary level on which Islam interacts with the world is what is often termed by the media as “the fringe”. Yes, terrorism of the Jihad variety is a legitimate tool in Islam to deal with the non-believers. This tertiary tool has been used very effectively by Islam in the modern era. The first part of it is played out in the Muslim dominated countries where the non-believers are systematically cleansed out, the second part involves mass migration to non-Muslim countries and the third part is terrorising non-believers into eventually accepting Islamic hegemony.
Ample data evidence is present to show how Muslim dominated countries slowly cleanse non-Muslim population. One of the best examples is in our own neighbourhood where Pakistan has eliminated almost the entire non-Muslim populace in 6 decades. At the time of independence in 1947, the population of non-Muslims in Pakistan was roughly 23% whereas today it is 3% since Muslims now constitute 97% of all Pakistan.
Mass migration of Muslims is also a reality of our times that is less discussed. As we saw earlier on how there is no exact official data even in the US on religion-based population numbers and how different numbers with vast variations co-exist in the public domain. Whatever the final number, most research groups agree that about 60 to 65% of the Muslims in the US are foreign born. Once again Pew Research gives us a better clue on this by concluding that the number of Muslim immigrants coming into United States had doubled from 50000 to 1 lakh within a decade from 1991 to 2001. It then dipped to around 40000 after the 9/11 attacks but has since more than doubled again to 1 lakh.
Once Muslims are in sufficient numbers in an environment, Jihad begins. It is a constant fight between Islam and the non-Muslims and history has shown us that eventually Muslims emerge on top, with the only possible exception of Israel till now. This is what is happening in France right now, Islam is growing from strength to strength with each passing year and is also constantly waging a war with impunity while the non-Muslims are clueless and the leadership like that of Hollande are only interested in narrow electoral gains.
In India we see all three parts playing out simultaneously. We saw how non-Muslims were systematically cleansed in the state of Kashmir. We are seeing mass migration of illegal Bangladeshi Muslims on a regular basis and we are also seeing constant and consistent terror attacks. The liberal intelligentsia wants us to believe that all of this has had no impact on India demographically, while the government is not interested in releasing real data, lest it create “communal tensions”. Yet, truth is staring at us with impunity.
In 2010, the US state department released a stunning report on International religious freedom under the aegis of UNHCR, where it claims that the actual population of Muslims in India was 22%.
Today the Muslim population in India could be anywhere between 15 to 20% – one suspects that the latter figure of 20% is a more accurate estimate based on fertility rates, migration and conversions of the last two decades. By all accounts, the Muslim population in India has more than doubled in 60 years of independence as it was said to be around 10% in 1947. In fact, this is a continuing trend of the last 200 years. In 1800, Muslims in India were estimated to be 13% of the total population, which then increased to 16% in 1850. By 1900, Muslims constituted 20% of India and stood at 25% by 1947 in an undivided nation. Today, Muslims are in the vicinity of 36% in the subcontinent and growing exponentially every year at possibly 200% more than Hindus. Thus, in the subcontinent, for every Hindu child being born, at least three Muslim children take birth simultaneously.
The impact on the demographics of South Asia has been huge. Today, not only Pakistan with 97% Muslims and Bangladesh with 91% Muslims, but also states within India like Jammu and Kashmir with 67%, Assam with 35-48% (?) and West Bengal with 27-36% (?) Muslim populations have altered the demographic dynamics. In Assam today supposedly 11 out of 23 districts are now Muslim majority, while the same could be true of 8 out of 18 districts of West Bengal. Unofficial data of Kerala, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar also suggest a Muslim population percentage of anywhere between 25 and 30, although government census data still maintains it between 20 to 25% in these states. At this rate, in the next 25 odd years, by 2040, potentially 5 big Indian states could become Muslim majority geographies.
With this kind of growth in Muslim population also comes the attendant risk of terrorised neighbourhoods. We are already witnessing the slow emergence of terror tactics in the border districts of Assam and West Bengal, while Uttar Pradesh is constantly going through communal clashes. What is dismaying is our overall reaction as a society to this Islamization process. Our leadership has failed us again and again while the intelligentsia and the media constantly builds up a victimhood narrative around Islam rather than presenting plain facts. For all the bravado of a Sakshi Maharaj and the media outrage against it, truth is that Hindu women are only giving birth to 1.6 children whereas Muslim women probably reproduce 3.8 times.
Unless societal structures change dramatically and the non-Muslims find innovative and stringent ways to counter the rise of Islam, we are headed towards an Islamic world order. There are small glimmers of hope for non-Muslims of the world every now and then. One example is the India of 2014 where the voters overcame the overwhelming media narrative to vote for Narendra Modi and hopefully his BJP government will have some inventive ideas to deal with the problem of Islam in the coming decade. Even in Europe, slowly public opinion is overcoming the liberal media and intelligentsia narrative to arrive at a stronger reaction to Islam. For instance, last week, after the attack on France, tens of thousands of Germans gathered under the banner “Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of Occident” and demanded that European governments enact stricter immigration laws. Anti-immigration and anti-Islamic sentiments in Europe have been on steady rise over the last few years. As per a Bertelsmann study conducted only last month across Europe, some 54% Europeans now believe that “Islam is incompatible with the west” and almost 40% of them consider Islam as an “outright threat”; Just 5 years ago, the numbers for the same were said to be 33% and 14%, respectively. Will public opinion force a rethink among the leadership of the world and the media narrative on Islam or is it all too little too late already?