Opinion: Why is the fear of a coming Eurabia so strong in certain quarters?
Khaled Diab, a Brussels based journalist, recently wrote an opinion piece in the Guardian debunking the Eurabian invasion theory. I've discussed the issue of demographics on this blog in the past (here, here and here).
But Diab doesn't only ask whether Europe will become Muslim (his answer being a resounding no). He also asks why Europe fears the possibility.
Though it might seem obvious to some, the question is actually two-pronged:
1. Why do Europeans think that Europe might become Muslim?
2. Why do Europeans fear such a possibility?
Diab's question seems to refer to the former. Why do Europeans think there's a chance Muslims would conquer Europe? Why do they think that Muslims could become a majority? Why do Europeans believe the 'myth' that Muslims might use birth-rates, immigration, or conversion as a weapon?
I think at least one answer is that prominent Muslims keep on saying so. Those Muslims might belong to very certain schools of Islamic thought. Some, like Gaddafi, might be viewed as complete nuts. But Gaddafi , and certainly people like Yusuf al-Qaradawi  or Amr Khaled , are extremely influential. They run global organizations dedicated to spreading their message, and those organizations are active in Europe as well. When they announce that Islam will conquer Europe, it does not really matter whether it makes sense or not, or whether they're correct or not. It sets up an equation where Islam is the conqueror and Europe is the vanquished.
"Then, there is the plain old fear stoked by the overexposure given to the most intolerant Islamic fringe groups and individuals. Certainly, there are some European Muslims who want to live according to sharia and there is even a lunatic fringe who would like to see Europe incorporated into some fantastical global caliphate."
Is it just overexposure?
Though most of the Muslims who say that Islam would conquer Europe do not live in Europe, they are very active in Europe and some claim to represent European Muslims. Al-Qaradawi, a Muslim Brotherhood ideologue, heads the European Fatwa Council and runs the Islam Online website, which has a special section for European Muslims. The Muslim Brotherhood does have branches in Europe. Tariq Ramadan, who is considered a very influential Muslim in his own right, never talks about it outright, but his rhetoric is full of fighting words. Needless to say, Tariq Ramadan  doesn't think the idea of a Muslim-dominated Europe is so 'mythical', either.
So my answer to Diab is quite simple: If you think Europe shouldn't fear an Islamic takeover, tell that to the Muslims who threaten Europe. Don't just accuse the Europeans who believe them of being phobic, or believing the 'lunatic fringe'. A decade ago, the idea that a guy could bring down the World Trade Center using box-cutters sounded outlandish to some people too, but a certain lunatic fringe believed it was possible and kept on preaching and acting on it.
After you denounce Yusuf al-Qaradawi, Amr Khaled, Tariq Ramadan, and, yes, Gaddafi too, you could start working on ways to counter their influence.
 Gaddafi: “There are tens of millions of Muslims in the European continent and the number is on the increase. The number of indigenous Europeans is falling drastically. This is the clear indication that the European continent will be converted to Islam. Europe will one day be a Muslim continent.”
 Amr Khaled: "The Muslims keep having children, while the Europeans don't. This means that within 20 years, the Muslims will be a majority, which may have an exceptional influence on the decision-making."
 Yusuf al-Qaradawi: "his means that Islam will come back to Europe for the third time, after it was expelled from it twice… Conquest through Da'wa [proselytizing], that is what we hope for. We will conquer Europe, we will conquer America! Not through sword but through Da'wa." And "This means that Islam will return to Europe as a conqueror and victor, after being expelled from it twice - once from the South, from Andalusia, and a second time from the East, when it knocked several times on the door of Athens."
 Tariq Ramadan:
Q: (..) At some point Muslims may be in the majority. I think in one sentence: How safe is multiculturalism with the people who entered Europe under the banner of multiculturalism?
A: (...) The way people are dealing with them being a majority has also to do with the way they are educated, and the way they see the other. So let us, for the time being, when you are in this situation, to go through a very deep educational process, by saying to the people: you have no right to impose your religion, you have to respect the principles of the other, you are not here to spy on people, you are not here to impose anything, you are here to be respected, to respect and to be respected. These teachings are very important. So, I think this is the only way forward. Because if we are scared of numbers, it's over. Because you know, the numbers are going to grow. [Ed: Interestingly enough, Ramadan did not answer that Islam is already European.]