Family is the fundamental institution of a society. It is purposed to raise productive future generations. It is currently being destroyed in the Western societies by dominant secular forces.
Secularism which according to Merriam-Webster dictionary is the belief that religion should not have a role in society has generated a self-centered, anti-tradition, anti-family environment in the West. Thus, about 50 percent of Europeans and Americans stay unmarried singles, and most others cohabitate rather than taking responsibilities that go with marriage. Of the married, about half end up in divorce within a year thus adversely affecting family and children. Homosexuals constitute only about 3-4 percent of population, but have imposed their will on all others, as a law enacted by the U.S. Supreme Court and courts in Europe. The situation is bleaker for the future since millennials are even more secular and irreligious.
Declining Populations of the West
The above is happening to an aging European population with fertility below the replacement levels. The United States keeps up its population through liberal immigration laws, despite strict enforcement by President Donald Trump who intends building walls on southern border ostensibly to curb flow of the illegals.
The entire West is suffering from declining populations. Alongside there is precipitous drop of white population in the United States and Europe. At present 72 percent of the U.S. population is white, but the U.S. Census Bureau predicts they will become a minority between 2050 and 2060. And Europe is predicted to have only 7 percent of the world population by 2050. Hence West needs massive immigration to keep up productivity and maintain its prosperity. Welcomed by some, it has given rise to much xenophobia and destructive White supremacist nationalism. The rise of ultra-nationalists in Europe and of Trump in America is the result of this phenomenon.
Phenomenal Worldwide Increase in Muslim Population
In stark contrast to the West, Islam and Muslims the world over are growing faster and are predicted to outgrow all other populations by 2070. The prestigious Pew Research Center based in Washington, DC in its report on the Future of World Religions released on April 2, 2015 stated the world is rapidly changing, driven primarily by differences in fertility rates and size of youth population. Thus, attributing Muslims increase to a higher fertility rate; with an average have 3.1 children - significantly above the average of 2.3 for all non-Muslims. Muslims also have youngest median age of 23, which is 7 years younger than of the non-Muslims. A report issued by Pew Research report on April 7, 2019 that by 2060 “projects there will be 3 billion Christians and nearly 3 billion Muslims. That is because Muslims, on average, are younger and have more children than do Christians.” Excluding the United States, the increase in Christian populations will come solely from the non-European countries.
Secularism is the Problem
Europeans embarked on secularism just after the Enlightenment, abdicated faith as relic of the past that will disappear with time and progress. It was imported into the U.S. by secular elites. And the American Protestant establishment instead of presenting viable religious alternatives, joined in the secularist enterprise. Thus, secularism dominates all public institutions and is propagated vehemently by mainstream media. The American State takes itself as the bastion of secularism and uses it as standard for relationship with all others.
Islam Strengthens Individual and Society
Islam takes family as a divinely-ordained institution, formed by social contract between a man and woman committed to each other, and for upbringing God-conscious future generations. It sets guidelines to strengthen family institution and requires individual and society be reformed at this level. The basic family unit is made up of husband, wife, children, and relatives of the two spouses, with laws aimed at supporting and protecting this family institution. Each family member has a significant role in relation to others, so as to engender harmony and ensure balance in family and society.
The Pew Research Center in its worldwide surveys reported that Muslims “are deeply committed to their faith and want its teachings to shape not only their personal lives but also their societies and politics.”
Strong Association of Faith with Demographics
Current research shows there is a strong association of faith with fertility, family size, and demographics of a country. A critical statistic for understanding demographics of a society is its fertility rate, the average number of children born to a typical woman over her lifetime. Nations with faith increase in population, and those lacking it decrease in theirs.
Thus, world’s Southern nations, especially the Middle East and Africa will grow much more rapidly, while northern nations, including Europe, United States, Japan and Russia will decline. A contrast between Europe and Africa illustrates this transformation. Africa had about 130 million people in 1900, progressed to a billion in 2005, and could reach 2-2.25 billion by 2050. In 1900, there were three Europeans for every African; in 2050, there will be three Africans for every European.
Prevailing Encumbrances for Muslims
The phenomenal increase of Muslims has created problems for the dominant West. Muslims were a great power for a thousand years but weakened and were colonized by the European powers; the United States took over as the neo-colonialist. The “Clash of Civilizations”, “Global War on Terror”, and invasion and occupation of Muslim countries are the result of this Imperial mind-set.
In 1997 the Project for the New American Century put forth a policy document with the objective of total world dominance. The 9/11 terrorist incidents served as a perfect alibi to put it into work, initiated by invading Afghanistan and Iraq. The U.S. has not given up hegemonic agenda by any means, although Obama subsequently pulled out of Iraq, and Trump, after 17 years of the longest war in U.S. history, is now negotiating with its enemies, the Taliban to pull out of Afghanistan.
The U.S. led wars have caused killing of thousands of noncombatant civilians, including women, children and the elderly. They have also devastated the land, infrastructure, and economies of countries invaded, and are responsible for emergence of anti-American Islamic extremists. And it has cost America tremendously not only in numbers of soldiers killed but also the American tax-payers in treating the war veterans suffering from a variety of physical and mental illnesses that will continue into the future.
Worldwide Muslim Resurgence and Activism
Concurrently there is a resurgence of Muslims worldwide. In fact, renewal (tajdid) and revival (ahya) is nothing new and Muslims have undergone it throughout their history. Muslim masses have long going through struggles for their representation in the Middle East, including Egypt and Tunisia –homes of the Arab Spring, as well as in Turkey, Pakistan, and Indonesia where majority of Muslims reside.
The Arab Spring initiated in 2011 by Muslim masses in the Middle East to topple authoritarian regimes - were imposed, or co-opted, and supported by the West. It failed elsewhere at the moment, apart from Tunisia. But Muslims everywhere realized the force of their power, and it is a changed world for them now living in the 21st century. They, especially the youth, men and women that constitute the majority, have become active, engaged, and interconnected with the rest of the world, and stand for their God-given freedom, rights, and privileges. They are committed to reform their societies, get rid of corruption, and elect sincere leaders at all levels for the overall betterment of their countries, and ultimately of the Muslim Ummah.
American Muslims Emerging as Model Community
American Muslims participate in civic and humanitarian responsibilities and are involved at all segments of American society. Targeted post 9/11, they became galvanized and politically active, elected two Congressmen, and recently two courageous Congresswomen. Their organizations formed alliances with people of faith, and when Trump issued a ban on travel from Muslim countries, Americans from all walks of life came in droves in support. They represent a model community for Muslims that are active worldwide. As such, the future belongs to Muslims committed to God and working for the causes of peace, justice, equity, and service for all of humankind.
Siraj Islam Mufti, a community activist, recently authored “Western Families in Crisis, Muslims Resurging.” The book is available at Amazon.com.