The Christchurch Killer: Don't Blame Islam for Europe's Decline
After a crazed gunman murdered 50 people in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, he told police that his motive was to avenge "the hundreds of thousands of deaths caused by foreign invaders in European lands throughout history, [and] the enslavement of millions of Europeans taken from their lands by the Islamic slavers."
This statement was an attempt to justify his homicidal attack. But are his words consistent with the history of the last 500 years? The record shows that it was population dynamics and intra-European conflicts that played the key roles in the struggle between the West and the rest.
Between 1492 and 1915, Europe — despite constant warfare, epidemics, and emigration — increased from 50 million people to 500 million, growing to 27 percent of the world's population. This skyrocketing birth rate provided the millions of soldiers and settlers who made it possible for the Occident to conquer quite a lot of the Earth.
The accused killer denounces "Islamic slavers," but the fact that European and Western societies are now a third of their former 27 percent of the global population is, at best, only indirectly due to Muslims. Between 1900 and 2018, they increased by a factor of 12 from 150 million to 1.8 billion people and reached an awe-inspiring 23 percent of the world's population.
The demographically rampant Europeans of the Age of Imperialism feared, above all, other Europeans. Between 1914 and 1945 alone, they killed around 70 million of their peers through wars, Gulags, and genocides. Muslim deaths after 1945 were also mostly victims of fellow believers due to even more vigorous birth rates. This applies to 80 to 90 percent of the approximately twelve million who perished by violence.
A small percentage of these Muslim deaths occurred in the various attempts to destroy Israel. In this series of wars, Muslim states lost some 65,000 men, about half a percent — or five out of a thousand — of the total number of Muslim casualties after 1945.
However, the Jews killed by Muslims in the same conflicts not only failed to create significant outrage in the West, but garnered enough approval to sustain anti-Semitic factions in the West, notably in the U.K. and U.S.
Meanwhile, the press somehow failed to notice the Algerian civil war (1991–2002), in which strict Muslim believers battled moderates, a conflict that all by itself cost three times as many deaths as the Israeli-Muslim wars. Even more deadly was the combat in Syria, which since 2011 has taken seven times as many Muslim lives.
Tarrant's mass murder rampage was supposedly meant to prove that "our lands will never be their lands, our homelands are our own and that, as long as a white man still lives, they will never" be conquered.
Now, it is not Islam's fault that the likelihood of "white" countries going to war has become practically nonexistent. Long gone are the days when high European birth rates easily compensated for losses on the battlefield. Today, each fallen European soldier erases a family line, because the soldier is probably an only child. The fact that the 2011 Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik, who was emulated by Tarrant in 2019, did not find any comparable imitators in the meantime, proves to be at least one beneficial consequence of Europe's aging and shrinking population, a disappearing culture with only 1.6 per children per woman's lifetime.
Moreover, Islam cannot help the fact that the world population share of Great Britain and its main colonies (AUS, CDN, NZ) slipped from 3.4 percent in 1919 (57 million) to 1.7 percent in 2019 (134 million). Nor is it due to any religion that, demographically, Germany is even more vulnerable than Britain. In 2019, Germany has 61 million so-called bio-Germans, the same number it had in 1919, but the average age has risen from 28 to 47 years. Today, only seven out of every thousand citizens of the world are indigenous Germans, down from 35 a century ago. Only with the help of over 20 million migrants can Germany's population threshold of 80 million be maintained.
No bloodthirsty would-be role model like the accused mass murderer will make up for the West's demographic vulnerability. Since 90 percent of Western job-seekers must compete for positions in the labour markets, they devote their time and energy to improving their qualifications for employment, not to having children. Therefore, Western birth rates will stay low.
In the Muslim world, similar changes are coming. By 2035, most Islamic states will experience a demographic decline that sharply reduces the number of potential soldiers, thereby making war and aggression much less likely. Murder and manslaughter in the name of the Highest will then decline, which of course does not justify any slackening of vigilance against Islamist attacks. Yet it is highly unlikely that the intra-Muslim death toll will ever reach or exceed the horrendous dimensions of the intra-European wars in the first half of the 20th century.
The manifesto writer's demographic ignorance is a worrying reminder of the pathetic level of European politicians. Today, these minions have to beg each other for a few hundred soldiers to fight in Mali or Niger. At the same time, they are convinced that only the European Union can stop its member-nations from reverting to old habits and attacking each other again with ferocious armies of millions. These politicians don't realize that such Western armies will never be available again — neither for a new European quest for world power nor for white supremacists. America as the heartland of such groups today has a war index of 1. The hot-headed lads of a Boston Tea Party of 1773, when the women had eight children (war index around 5), are simply not available. The rage may be still be sufficient for racist agitation and occasionally bloody terror, but there are no excitable youth masses for a civil war à la 1861–1865. "Old white men" over 50 years of age make up just three percent of the world's population. Not their power, but its loss is reflected in the endless tracts about their supposed horror.
New Zealand and Australia — the accused's home — are among the few nations that have turned themselves into strongholds of Western civilization with protected borders. Those who truly want to safeguard Western values will resist any call for "salvation" by killers, just as they will resist politicians who put countries at risk by weakening their borders. It is true that such politicians can enable Islamist bloodshed through gross negligence. But there can be no moral equation between incompetent politicians and the deluded mass murderers of Norway and Christchurch.
Gunnar Heinsohn teaches war demography at NATO Defense College (Rome/Italy).