On Saturday evening, a seven-minute YouTube video warning of the rise of Islam in Europe was shown to the bishops at the synod on the new evangelization.
“I think it would be fair to say that several in the room questioned the veracity of the facts followed by ‘who can this be attributed to?’ and ‘who actually wanted this film to be shown?’” Father Thomas Rosica, the English-language briefing officer for the synod, told journalists.
A cardinal in the Roman curia requested that the film be shown at the synod during Saturday night’s free discussion period.
Fr. Rosica reported that the film, called “Muslim Demographics,” “begins with a very uncreative use of special effects” and is “really not professionally done.”
The film tries to show that in a very few years, Europe will be majority Muslim, as immigrant Muslim families have high birth rates and Europeans have falling fertility rates.
The 2009 video claims that “in just 39 years, France will be an Islamic republic.”
According to the French daily “Le Figaro,” in 2010 three to four percent of people in France identified as Muslim.
Vatican Radio described the video as a “fear-mongering presentation” complete with “scary music” and “stark white words on a black background.”
The video shows churches transform into mosques as it forecasts majority-Muslim populations in the countries of Europe.
The European bishops’ conference said the statistics cited in the video are faulty.
Synod bishops continued to discuss the film on Monday, and why it was shown. It has sparked debate on interfaith dialogue with Islam and what the biggest challenges are to the New Evangelization.
The European bishops’ conference plans to publish accurate statistics on birth rates and religious affiliation on the continent for synod participants.
“So that remains one person’s individual presentation showing this film,” said Fr. Rosica. “Perhaps one might envisage that the film was shown to stir up a conversation afterwards. I don’t think so.”