by John Stevenson
Alarmists and Islamophobes claim Europe is being overrun by Muslims. They already constitute significant percentages in the populations of some European nations. And their birth rate is much higher than that of non-Muslim Europeans. As migrants and refugees they are flocking into Europe from the Middle East and North Africa in large numbers.
But is there really cause for alarm? Let’s look at Britain.
Britain’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) reports that for 2016 the most popular given name for baby boys in England was Oliver. There were 6,623 Olivers born. Muhammad came in eighth, with 3,908 Muhammads. So what’s the worry?
Well, it turns out that ONS says the results were “based on exact spelling of the name given on the birth certificate.” Grouping similarly pronounced names would change the rankings. Thus babies with the also popular names Mohammed, Mohammad, and Muhammed are separately counted---not included with the Muhammads. If those variants had been included with the Muhammads, they would add up to 7,084---beating the diapers off the Olivers. Nationwide.
Regionally, Muhammad alone (without including the variant spellings) is the top choice in both London and Birmingham---England’s two most populous cities. Not to say that Muslims “own” London, but in fact London’s mayor is---well, you know---a Muslim.
So what about the trend line? Well, over the decade 2006 to 2016, Muhammad (just Muhammad, no variant spellings) moved up 35 spots in the nationwide rankings of boy baby names. That’s a whopping increase.
Muhammad’s 2016 placement at number eight ousted the traditionally popular William from the top ten. As in William the Conqueror (1066-1087), his royal namesake successors, and countless schoolboys over the centuries.
ONS says on their web site that they treat “all names separately by publishing the names of babies as they are written on their birth certificates and ranking them accordingly. This has been our longstanding approach and is consistent with international practice.” They follow this with a tortured and downright silly conjecture about why Muhammad is the top choice of so many, even suggesting that it’s because of the popularity of Muhammad Ali (really? in 2016?).
By breaking the differently spelled Muhammads into separate categories and ranking them separately, ONS has obscured the fact that all of these boy babies are in fact named after the Prophet, the Messenger of Allah. Thus ONS has, in its own way, masked the growth trend of the Muslim population in England.
There is a WWII patriotic song, sung by Vera Lynn, “There Will Always Be an England.” It rallied the British in those dark days. And there always will be an England, in the sense that---absent a tectonic cataclysm---the land itself will doubtless outlive mankind.
If the demographic trajectory continues---and there is no evidence that it will not---the Muslim population will inevitably become the majority. This will mean an England whose people, their religion, their culture, their language would have been unimaginable a few years ago. London already has that feel.
Yes, “There Will Always Be an England,” but it won’t be recognizable. It won’t be English.