Controversial French archbishop warns of 'great replacement' by Muslims

Muslims praying in France.Reuters

A French Archbishop has warned that his country is in the midst of a 'great replacement' by Muslims because of demographic shifts.

The Catholic Archbishop of Strasbourg, Luc Ravel, also attacked France's alleged 'promotion' of abortion.

Addressing Muslim birth rates, Ravel quoted the contemporary French writer Renaud Camus who coined the controversial phrase 'the great replacement', used by anti-Islam campaigners and referring to a take-over by immigrants.

'Muslim believers know very well that their birth rate is such that today, they call it...the Great Replacement, they tell you in a very calm, very positive way that, "one day all this, it will be ours",' he said.

Ravel, who is the former bishop of the Diocese of the French Armed forces, also said: 'Abortion is not only conceded but promoted. It's a promotion and I can not accept it, not just on a question of faith but because I love France.'

Archbishop Luc Ravel, who has warned of a 'great replacement' by Muslims in France.Wikimedia Commons

In 2015 Ravel, who became Archbishop of Strasbourg in February, controversially described abortion as a 'weapon of mass destruction' in an article published in a magazine for the French military in 2015.

The comments prompted the defence minister of the famously secular country to ask the magazine to stop displaying the official armed forces logo in order to distance itself from the content.

Ravel's intervention in the debate on immigration comes as anti-Islam movements continue to criticise the reaction to the migration crisis, which has seen significant numbers of people fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East and North Africa try to reach Europe.

Camus has said that the 'the great replacement' is taking place not only in France but across Western Europe.

In 2014, he was convicted of incitement to racial hatred and fined €4,000 after elaborating on his ideas during the 'International Conference on Islamisation' in comments that a Paris court later ruled were a 'very violent stigmatisation of Muslims'.

According to a 2016 Pew Research study, France has one of the largest Muslim communities in Europe, with an estimated 4.7 million making up about 7.5 per cent of its population.

'In recent decades, the Muslim share of the population throughout Europe grew about one percentage point a decade, from four per cent in 1990 to 6 per cent in 2010. This pattern is expected to continue through 2030, when Muslims are projected to make up eight per cent of Europe's population,' the study says.