DEBUNKED: The European Refugee Crisis and Syria Explained

The popular YouTube channel “In a Nutshell – Kurzgesagt” has recently posted an animated video titled “The European Refugee Crisis and Syria Explained” [1] wherein they present a biased and dishonest overview of the current migrant crisis and the effects it will have on European society. In this post I will be focusing on the part of the video that addresses four concerns that people may have about the arrival of these migrants into Europe which are concerns about “Islam, high birth rates, crime, and the collapse of the social systems”.

Addressing the concern about Islam, the video states, “Even if the EU alone were to accept all four million Syrian refugees and 100% of them were Muslims, the percentage of Muslims in the European Union would only rise from about 4% to about 5%. This is not a drastic change and will certainly not make it a Muslim continent. A Muslim minority is neither new nor reason to be afraid”.

The first thing to note is that while the video is correct that there are currently a little over four million registered Syrian refugees this figure does not include unregistered refugees and people currently in Syria who could become refugees in the future. And it is highly unlikely there won’t be any more Syrians leaving considering that the civil war is still ongoing and that there are no signs of slowing migration out of Syria. Given this, there is no reason to believe that four million Syrian refugees is the upper limit like the video implies. Secondly, the video states that four million refugees entering the EU would only increase the percentage of Muslims from 4% to 5%. But this is not a very relevant number because the migrants would not be evenly distributed across EU countries. For instance, Germany has announced that it expects to take in one million migrants in 2015 [2]. Although they will not all be Syrian this will increase Germany’s Muslim population from 5% to 6.25% in one year alone, and if Germany stayed at this level of acceptance for another three years it would become a 10% Muslim country by refugees alone. So although these recent migrants will not make Europe a Muslim continent they still represent a substantial increase in the prevalence of Islam for certain countries.

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Immigration and Crime in Scandinavia

*The sources for all of these figures are the original government reports (when applicable) published in that country’s language so if you cannot read Swedish, Norwegian, or Danish you can use Google Translate to translate the pdf files* 


A report studying 4.4 million Swedes between the ages of 15 and 51 during the period 1997-2001 found that 25% of crimes were committed by foreign-born individuals while and additional 20% were committed by individuals born to foreign-born parents. In particular, immigrants from Africa and South & Western Asian were more likely to be charged of a crime than individuals born to two Swedish parents by a factor of 4.5 and 3.5 respectively. In regard to rape, the report revealed that immigrants were 5.5 times more likely to be charged of rape than individuals born in Sweden to two Swedish parent, although the category of immigrant was not broken down by country of origin in this report [1].

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