Mar 5 2003
BERLIN - Europe will have an Islamic majority by the end of this century based on current demographic and migration trends, a leading US Middle East specialist says.
"Europe will be part of the Arab west - the Maghreb," said Bernard Lewis, a Princeton University professor and author of numerous books on the Middle East, in an interview with the newspaper Die Welt.
In addition to immigration, Lewis said Europeans were marrying too late and having too few children whereas Muslims in Europe married early and had far larger numbers of children.
"Current trends show Europe will have a Moslem majority by the end of the 21st century at the latest," said Lewis as quoted by the paper.
Germany, the biggest European Union (EU) country, currently has over 3 million Muslims out of a total population of 82 million.
EU leaders will in December decide on whether to open membership talks with mainly Muslim Turkey which currently has a population of 70 million but is expected to outgrow Germany in coming decades.