Second-generation Muslim immigrants in Europe marry people who have arrived straight from their parents’ homelands, rather than immigrant youths of their own ethnic background who have also grown up in Europe. Research by Hilâl Yalçin and Ina Lodewyckx of the University of Antwerp reveals that almost three quarters of the Moroccan and Turkish community import their spouses from Morocco and Turkey.
“Marital import” is on the rise. In the 1970s 41.4% of the Moroccan immigrants in Flanders, the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium, married a partner who lived in Morocco, while almost all the others married a member of the Moroccan immigrant community in Belgium. In the 1980s the number of spouses arriving fresh from Morocco had risen to 48.8%. In the 1990s that number rose even further to 60.3%. Between 2000 and 2003, 65.4% of Belgian Moroccan youths imported a spouse from Morocco. The figures are even higher for Turks. Today, eight out of every ten Turkish youths whose family emigrated to Flanders between their 7th and 17th year of age marry someone who lives in Turkey. And six out of every ten Turks who were born in Belgium or moved there before their 7th birthday do so, too.
The researchers point out that people in Morocco and Turkey regard marriage to a Belgian Moroccan or a Belgian Turk as a means of gaining access to the “promised land.” Often, however, they encounter serious difficulties and their inadequate education combined with an insufficient mastery of the Dutch language lead to “social isolation.” Nahima Lanjri, a Belgian Moroccan and a member of the Belgian Parliament, says that children of these marriages “are often considered to be third-generation immigrants, but this is wrong since one of their parents has had to start from zero.”
The study of the Antwerp researchers does not mention the fact that Muslim girls in Belgium are often married off by their families to relatives (such as first cousins) from their home country. The study also fails to mention the dramatic demographic consequences of “marital import.” It increases the speed and extent of the islamization of Western Europe. The following simulation may serve to clarify this.
Assume that couples on average have their children at the age of 25. Assume also that no-one dies within the next 50 years and that the immigrants remain Muslim, i.e. do not convert to Christianity or secularism. In these circumstances, without marital import in the Muslim community (i.e. the immigrants marry other immigrants) and with couples having an average of three children, the Muslim population will increase eight-fold in 50 years.
In this model a population of 8 immigrants, constituting 4 couples, will have 12 children, who 25 years from now will constitute 6 couples with 18 children. The Muslim population will then be 8+12+18=38. In 50 years from now the 18 children will constitute 9 couples with 27 children. The population will have increased by a factor of 8, to 38+27=65.
However, if wedding partners are imported the situation alters dramatically. Assuming in the above model that two thirds of the brides and grooms are imported (the current situation in Flanders is even worse, with three quarters of the Muslim marriage partners being imported) and that every couple has three children, there will be a 30-fold increase of the Muslim population after 50 years, rather than an 8-fold increase.
In this situation a first-generation immigrant population of 4 couples also yields a second generation of 12 young Muslims. The latter, however, import 8 partners, constituting 10 couples with 30 children. The Muslim population will then be 8+12+8+30=58. The 30 children by importing 20 partners constitute 25 couples who have 75 children. This will lead to a Muslim population of 58+20+75=153, which is a 30-fold increase.
If two thirds of the partners are imported and every couple has four children the population will multiply by 50 after two generations. This is also the case if all the partners are imported and every couple has three children.