In the aftermath of the horrific ISIS terrorist attacks on Paris, I wrote the following on my Facebook page:
Everyone wants to know, "What can we do? What can we do?" That's a tough one, but there are some basic facts that we have to face:
Europe is post-Christian. As Pope Benedict urged, it needs to get back to its Christian roots and live out those virtues and truths, unapologetically. If that doesn't happen, Europe will lose, because ultimately it's a numbers game -- Europeans really don't have babies any more. They've given that up. Muslims (radical or not) have oodles of babies. Demographics, people. There was blood this time, but in the end it will be a bloodless coup.
A friend of mine gently responded with: "Leila. This is racist."
But is it?
First, I myself am an Arab. My father is a full-blooded Arab man, a Palestinian born and raised in the Middle East. He is also a devout Catholic (yes, Catholic/Christian Arabs existed for centuries before Islam entered the scene). If I am a racist, then am I a self-hating Arab? I don't think so. I love my family, I love my heritage, I love the Arab people.
Second, Islam is (obviously) not a race, it's a religion. More accurately, radical Islam is an ideology, and an overtly political one. There is no arguing that, is there? Now it is true that we cannot paint all Muslims with the brush of "radical". However, we also cannot find and identify "true" Islam, because Islam has a "sola scriptura" problem: They have no pope, so to speak. Each branch of Islam is one particular interpretation of the Quran, but there is no final authority. So, the sects with the most power and influence are the ones who sort of "define" what we see as Islam, even if those beliefs are not held by all, or even most, Muslims.
But ultimately, can we really argue with the demographics? After all, the demographics are just facts, numbers, statistics, projections. There's nothing racist about noting the facts, noting where Europe is headed if nothing changes.
Europe was a Christian continent, to its very roots, to its deepest identity. Demographically, we know that Europe will one day be a Muslim continent unless it reestablishes its Christian roots. The French (and Germans, and Italians, and Spanish, etc.) do not have babies anymore. Muslims, and I can't knock them for it, have broods of children. This is a fact. If Europeans do not return to the practice of Christianity, if their abysmal rates of reproduction stay deathly low, you can extrapolate and predict the outcome. It's not rocket science.
Inexplicably, some people don't appreciate differences between Judeo-Christian values and Islam (including a radicalized form of Islam that appears to have more power than peaceful Islam), but the differences are vast, and the ascendency of Islam on a once-Christian continent will change the face of our world. Is it bigoted to point this out?
If we want to pretend that this is an issue of racism or bigotry rather than a clash of truth against error and, yes, a spiritual battle, perhaps we should take the terrorists at their own words. They proudly took responsibility for last night's heinous attacks, calling France "...the carrier of the banner of the Cross in Europe" and referring to Europeans as "Crusaders" no less than five times. The deceased victims themselves are referred to as "Crusaders".
It is not racist to assert that Europe's only hope is to return to its Christian roots.
Echoing Pope Benedict before him, Pope Francis recently said as much, including urging Europeans to have more children:
When there is an empty space, people try to fill it. If a country has no children, immigrants come in and take their place. I think of the birth-rate in Italy, Portugal and Spain. I believe it is close to 0%. So, if there are no children, there are empty spaces. And this not wanting to have children is, partly...due to a culture of comfort, isn’t it? In my own family I heard, a few years ago, my Italian cousins saying: “Children? No. We prefer to travel on our vacations, or buy a villa, or this and that”… And the elderly are more and more alone. I believe Europe’s greatest challenge is to go back to being a mother Europe….
Francis laments the mistake of Europe in discarding its Christian identity:
Europe made a mistake when it chose to speak of its identity without wanting to recognize the deepest level of its identity, its Christians roots. That was a mistake. But, well, we all make mistakes in life. It's time to recover its faith.
Pope Francis is not a racist for speaking these truths.
Let us pray for the souls of the dead, the consolation of their families, the healing of the wounded, and the restoration of Christ's Kingship in Europe.
Let us specifically ask the saints of France to pray for their homeland, which is often referred to as the "Eldest Daughter of the Church".
St. Thérèse of Lisieux, St. Irenaeus, St. Jean Vianney, St. Joan of Arc, St. Bernadette, St. Vincent de Paul, St. Louise de Marillac, St. Catherine Labouré, and St. Bernard of Clairvaux, pray for your countrymen, and for our world!