Europe faces Islamisation because it has denied its Christian roots, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Prague has warned.
Cardinal Miloslav Vlk said Europe will “pay dear” for having left its spiritual foundations, and said that it was now in the last period when a chance remained to do something about it.
Cardinal Vlk made his remarks in an interview to mark his retirement after 19 years leading the Czech Roman Catholic Church.
“Unless the Christians wake up,” the Cardinal said, “life may be Islamised and Christianity will not have the strength to imprint its character on the life of people, not to say society.”
He also said that one motive of Muslims immigrating to Europe was to bring their religion to “the pagan environment of Europe, to its atheistic style of life”.
But he said that Europeans had brought the crisis on themselves by exchanging European Christian culture for an aggressive atheistic secularism.
Czech historian Martin C Putna endorsed the Cardinal’s remarks. He said: “It is of course true that Europe has given up its Christian values and that has created a vacuum, filled by everything from New Age to Islam.”
Europe is home to 38 million Muslims, around 5 per cent of its population.
European Muslims account for 2.4 per cent of the worldwide Muslim population.
Statisticians have recently predicted that European Union countries including Britain can expect to see a large increase in the Muslim population by the middle of the 21st century.
They say increasing levels of immigration from Muslim countries and low birth rates among Europeans could bring the EU’s Muslim population up to 20 per cent by 2050.
In 2008, just five per cent of the EU population was Muslim.
One commentator called the situation a “demographic time bomb”.