The writer Emile Cioran cast a sad prophecy on Europe: “The French will not wake up until Notre Dame becomes a mosque.”
This is now a reality. But unlike the Middle East, where non-Muslim sites were razed or violently converted to Islam, in Europe this process is voluntary.
The church of Saint-Eloi in the French region of Vierzon will soon become a mosque. The diocese of Bourges has put on sale the church and a Muslim organization, l’Association des Marocains, made the most generous offer to buy the site.
The church of Saint-Eloi is located in an area inhabited by Turks and Moroccans. It’s the “de-Christianization” of Europe, which is naturally followed by its gradual Islamization and increasing anti-Semitism. Of 27.000 inhabitants in the town of Vierzon, only 300 go to church once a week.
In the past decade, French Catholic bishops formally closed more than 60 churches, many of which are destined to become mosques, according to the research conducted by the newspaper La Croix.
According to a recent report of the U.S. Pew Center, Islam is already “the fastest-growing religion in Europe,” where the number of Muslims has tripled over the past 30 years. One-third of all European children will be born to Muslim families by 2025.
Demography is the most important symptom of exhaustion: Without a cradle, you can't sustain a civilization.
To understand this historic process, one has to see the number of churches converted into mosques.
In the Netherlands, more than 250 buildings where Catholics, Lutherans and Calvinists have prayed for centuries, have changed owners. Like the Fatih Camii Mosque in Amsterdam, which once was Saint Ignatius, a Catholic church. Or the church of S. Vincentius, which was put on sale along with the benches, the crucifixes and the chandeliers. Today more than half of the Dutch population is buitenkerkelijk, free from any religious affiliation. Catholics have decreased by 70 percent.
Islam is now considered the “most widely practiced religion” in the Netherlands. The Oude Kerk, the oldest church in Amsterdam, built in 1309, stands solidly in the heart of downtown. Around it is the red-light district with the South American and Eastern European prostitutes knocking on the glass to attract the attention of passersby.
The Neuwe Kerk, the church where the Dutch kings were crowned, is a museum. The only "church" in the city that is crowded is that of Scientology, which offers free stress tests.
4,400 church buildings remain in the Netherlands. Each week, two close their doors forever.
In Duisburg, Germany, the Catholic church closed six churches. In Marxloh, the only church that survives, that of St. Peter and Paul, will close at the end of 2012. In Germany 400 churches have been closed.
The municpality of Antwerp, Belgium proposed to transform the empty churches into mosques. Scandinavia lives the same phenomenon. To cite one case, the Swedish church of St. Olfos is used by the Muslims. The main mosque in Dublin is a former Presbyterian church.
In England, 10,000 churches have been closed since 1960. By 2020, another 4.000 churches will close while another 1,700 new mosques will be built, many of which will arise on sites of former churches.
“God is dead” declared Friedrich Nietzsche and Europe obliged. Now, Europe is poised to adopt the Koranic, “There is no God but Allah.” And the old Gregorian chants will be substituted by the muezzin.
Europe's tragedy is embodied by the sterile blocks of concrete and glass of the European Union in Bruxelles. Symbols of the moral emptiness within. Meanwhile the top seven baby boys’ names in Brussels are Mohammed, Adam, Rayan, Ayoub, Mehdi, Amine and Hamza.
A couple of years ago I visited Rotterdam, the Dutch industrial polmon. Everywhere are casbah-cafes, travel agencies offering flights to Rabat and Casablanca, and posters expressing solidarity with Hamas. Most of the population are immigrants, and the city has the tallest and most imposing mosque in Europe.
When arriving in the city by train, most striking are the mosques framed by the green, luxuriant, wooded, watery countryside. Rotterdam has the tallest minarets in Europe. The city was buzzing when the newspapers published a letter by Bouchra Ismaili, a city councilmanwho declared, "Listen up, crazy freaks, we're here to stay. You're the foreigners here. With Allah on my side, I'm not afraid of anything. Take my advice: Convert to Islam, and you will find peace."
A French friend showed me one of Rotterdam's main squares, where there is a mosque with Arabic writing outside proclaiming, "This used to be a church.”
Is Islam the destiny for the world's most affluent, relaxed and pacified societies which opted for self-liquidation?
Giulio Meotti is an Italian journalist with Il Foglio. He is the author of the acclaimed book, A New Shoah, that researched the personal stories of Israel's terror victims (published by Encounter). His writing has appeared in publications such as the Wall Street Journal, Frontpage, Makor Rishon and Jerusalem Post. He is working on a book about the Vatican and Israel.