In the aftermath of the Paris attack, the usual Islam-themed debates crop up, as they tend to do. And with them comes the standard conspiracy-theories which has been in circulation for the last decade.
Conspiracy theories which range from everything from “Eurabia” to “Muslims want to make Christmas illegal”. In fact, that last one is one of the two most popular fears in the Nordic countries, where a typical Christmas dinner feature a large variety of pork-made dishes, like the Norwegian “Ribbe” (Pork Ribs) or the Swedish love for Julskinka (Christmas Ham), and not to leave out the danish with their peculiar “Stegt leverpostej” (fried liver pâté). Obviously, a religion which forbids pork in all forms and shapes is terrifying for the Scandinavians.
But the other most feared conspiracy theory is what many refer to at Crib-Jihad or Baby-Jihad (Barnevogns-jihad). Summed up, it’s the idea that Muslims will take over the Nordic countries by migrating into the countries, and then have kids, lots and lots and lots of kids. Enough to basically “Out-breed” the Scandinavians. And while migrants from African or middle-easter nations have a higher birth-rate, it does decrease as these migrants becomes increasingly assimilated into the society.
But still, is it really just a relatively harmless conspiracy-theory?
After all, part of intelligence is the art of imagining every possible future scenario based on pre-existing information. And thats the key-word right there, “pre-existing information”. In order to fully analyze this particular “theory” we need to look at similar historical events, and the one that comes to my mind is the Texas revolution of 1835.
In 1821, Mexico won its “War of independence” against Spain, which had owned the colony of Mexico from 1650 to 1821. Once Mexico gained its independence, the current state of Texas was part of the Mexican Empire (Which shortly after its independence became the Republic of Mexico), which owned much of Central-America up to California and down to Colombia.
During this time Texas was known as Coahuila y Tejas, or “Mexican Texas” (Which included the Mexican state of Coahuila and Texas).
It was a large state but it was not very well developed. From 1821 and up until 1835, much of Texas was scarcely populated and some rather radical but progressive laws enacted by Mexico encouraged immigration to the region. For instance, it was illegal to import slaves into Mexico, and all slaves crossing the Mexican border would be freed and made eligible for “citizenship”, or occupancy status as it was called. Another law that was rather progressive was the “Colonization Law” of August 18, 1824. Basically, the law made it possible for all heads of a household to claim a land patent, making everyone who did not already own land able to claim one square league of irrigable land that was not already occupied, with one additional square league to cattle-owners.
This law is worth mentioning because it resulted in two things, first it made it possible for foreign speculators, primarily American investors to invest in the land and import their own workforce by applying for colonization contracts in which they could bring with them dozens of immigrant families to work on the larger land they bought, the second thing the law did was becoming a great incentive for immigrants to try their luck in Texas as it was easy for them to become naturalized citizens by becoming landowners. This incentive was mostly driven by the fact that the Mexican laws did not differentiate between natively born Mexicans or immigrants, or even race, religion or gender. Everyone was equal under the law, even native American-Indians would be classified as immigrants and as such had the same rights as everyone else.
Across the border, the U.S. was struggling with the aftermath of the Panic of 1819 where food and land-prices had increased drastically and many Americans were driven into poverty and unable to feed their family in addition to existing laws which discriminated between ethnic groups, genders and, the poor and wealthy. For many Americans, immigrating to Mexico was seen as a way to find their fortune. And the easiest way to start anew was to settle in Texas.
At the time of 1821, Texas was dangerously underpopulated with only 3334 registered inhabitants. Immigration was seen by many Mexicans as a reasonable way to stimulate population growth and economic growth in Texas, and it was argued that by giving everyone land and citizenship, immigrants loyalty would turn to Mexico in appreciation of the generous offers Mexico made to new settlers in Texas.
Immigration was at first reasonably steady, with the occasional spikes thanks to colonization contracts bought by American investors in which a 100 or even up to 800 families would resettle into Texas to work for or with the land-speculators in an effort to colonize uninhabited regions of Texas. In return for colonization-contracts the new settlers would work the land to produce crops, secure the area or conduct raids to pacify the Comanche tribes.
By 1825 the population of Texas had risen from 3334 to roughly 12.000 inhabitants, with a large majority being Anglo-American immigrants from the American states. At this time, the Tejano population (“Native Mexicans) had remained constant compared to the other groups for a long time, and made up to roughly 25% of the population of Texas. In other words, from 1821 to 1825, Anglo-American immigration and birthrate had been at such high rates that the native Tejano population became a minority.
This led to increased tension between the two major ethnic groups of Texas, the Tejanos and the Anglo-Americans. This tension is most notable by aggressive grabs for power made by contract-colonizers such as Virginia-born American Haden Edwards who between 1825-1826 demanded that the surrounding native Tejanos (Mexicans) land would be confiscated by him unless they could provide a written deed that the land was officially registered as theirs. He wanted to expand his area in order to bring in more migrant settlers. The Mexican authorities ordered that he had no authority to do such and would have to honor the others land claims. But in 1826 he assembled 30 settlers to declare his land as independent from Mexico and named it “The Republic of Freedonia”. Other contract-colonizers distanced themselves from his actions and Stephen F. Austin, another contractor, assembled 250 militia-men to help the Mexicans quell the rebellion. Edwards was forced to flee but the damage was done, and many Tejanos became wary of the Anglo-Americans.
Now here is where it becomes interesting. All immigrants, primarily Anglo-Americans, were expected to become naturalized citizens, and any slaves they owned or other customs which went against Mexican culture were expected to be dropped upon arrival inside Mexican territory. It was also expected that migrants would respect, and adhere to the states religion which was catholicism, while most of the Anglo-American immigrants were protestants.
But with other reports of racial confrontation between Tejanos and Anglo-Americans, in 1829 Manuel Mier y Teran, who was charged by the Authorities to investigate the outcome of the Colonization law from 1825, delivered his report from Texas.
His report stated an alarming trend. Most Anglo-Americans outright refused to integrate into Mexican culture and customs, and opposed the authorities attempts at naturalization. Instead they congregated into areas and would isolate themselves from native Mexicans, basically creating what we would today call “America-towns” or “ghettos” inside the major cities. Manuel’s report also noted that while Mexican law and custom forbade the practice of slavery, most Anglo-Americans ignored the laws and continued holding slaves in Texas. There had been many slave reforms from 1821 in Mexico, but in 1829 slavery became outright banned. Anglo-Americans, fearing both an economic crisis due to freed slaves and already feeling a sense of resentment towards the Mexicans, began to illegally import slaves in the 1830’s. Mexico’s president Anastasio Bustamante wanted to restrict Anglo-American immigration by making it less desirable, and started introducing property taxes, tariffs and restricting citizenships and land-deeds to migrants. In April 1830 he even went as far as to threaten the Anglo-American population of Texas with military intervention if they did not adhere to Mexico’s ban on slavery. Most Anglo-Americans circumvented this by calling their slaves indentured servants instead, which was a legal way to pay off debt.
Colonization-contracts which had less than 150 inhabitants would also be forcibly canceled as a way to stem the tide of Anglo-American investors who imported large numbers of Anglo-American families. Despite these measures it did not stop Anglo-Americans from illegally immigrating to Texas and living unregistered. By 1834 the population of Anglo-Americans in Texas was over 30.000, compared to only 7800 Mexicans. This led to rising tensions among the two ethnic groups, which made the Mexican military officer and Politician Rafael Antonio Manchola to say the following about the Anglo-American immigrants:
“‘No faith can be placed in the Anglo-American colonists because they are continually demonstrating that they absolutely refuse to be subordinate, unless they find it convenient to what they want anyway, all of which I believe will be very detrimental to us for them to be our neighbors if we do not in time, clip the wings of their audacity by stationing a strong detachment in each new settlement which will enforce the laws and jurisdiction of a Mexican magistrate which should be placed in each of them, since under their own colonists as judges, they do nothing more than practice their own laws which they have practiced since they were born, forgetting the ones they have sworn to obey, these being the laws of our Supreme Government.'”
By now you might find some of this rhetoric familiar.
By 1835, years of increasing cultural, ethnic and religious tensions between the immigrating Anglo-Americans and the Mexican Government lead to the Texas revolution. This is of course incredibly summed up, as the revolution broke out for a variety of reasons, and during the conflict it was uncertainty whether Texas would be independent or became a more sovereign territory under Mexico. And by all means, the revolution itself is incredibly fascinating from a military perspective.
But the leading events up to the Texas revolution is what i wanted to focus on, in particular the large influx of Anglo-American immigrants, their opposition to follow Mexican law and customs, and how a relatively sparsely populated area on the size of France could quickly have its demographics radically shifted between two relatively similar ethnic groups is something worth keeping in mind when we deal with certain conspiracy-theories floating around these days.
So with the Texas revolution in mind, is the idea of Baby-jihad possible?
Well, it could be possible under very very specific criteria. After all, the Anglo-American immigration to Texas was organized and well planned with contract-colonizers, investors and families fleeing economic hardships. And this happened at the same time as Mexicans were welcoming of immigrants as a way to stimulate economic growth and had very lax laws and open borders. Obviously those criteria does not exist today. Most nations have strict immigration laws, or various Visa-programs, and there is no reasonable way immigrants from twenty or so nations existing in three different regions on two different continents would be organized in a similar manner to the Anglo-Americans.
So the ideas of “baby-jihad are certainly highly unlikely, and highly improbable, but impossible? No.