European Union countries including Britain can expect to see a large increase in the Muslim population by the middle of the 21st century, statisticians have predicted.
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.
The Daily Telegraph’s Foreign Editor Adrian Michaels called the situation a “demographic time bomb”.
Mr Michaels warned that the issue was being ignored by mainstream parties, and added: “Into the void has stepped a resurgent group of extreme-Right political parties, among them the British National Party, which gained two seats at recent elections to the European Parliament.”
A report for the American Pew Research Center described the impact on the EU countries of a large rise in Muslim numbers.
It said: “These countries possess deep historical, cultural, religious and linguistic traditions. Injecting hundreds of thousands, and in some cases millions, of people who look, speak and act differently into these settings often makes for a difficult social fit.”
Angel Gurría, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development secretary-general, said in June: “Migration is not a tap that can be turned on and off at will. We need fair and effective migration and integration policies; policies that work and adjust to both good economic times and bad ones.”
Precise figures are scarce due to European countries not collecting statistics on their citizens’ religion.
But Karoly Lorant, a Hungarian economist who wrote a paper for the European Parliament, calculates that Muslims already make up 25 per cent of the population in Marseilles and Rotterdam, 20 per cent in Malmo, 15 per cent in Brussels and Birmingham and 10 per cent in London, Paris and Copenhagen.
A YouTube video released in March quoted demographics to suggest that Islam will become the dominant religion in Europe. The video has been viewed over ten million times. But a BBC report casts doubts on the video’s use of fertility statistics.