The failure of multiculturalism
Published: Friday, August 25, 2006
Immediately following the most recent round of terrorism-related arrests in the United Kingdom, the government arranged a meeting with Muslim leaders to discuss how to best tackle extremism. Instead of offering up things that the Muslim community itself could do, the groups presented the government with a list of demands, including the introduction of Sharia law for family-law cases and public holidays to mark Muslim religious festivals. If their religious demands were met, the Muslim leaders argued, then they would be in a better position to disarm radicals. This is the cancer of multiculturalism in its advanced stages.
Given that polls show that many British Muslims want Britain to become an Islamic state, these are unlikely to be the final demands placed on the government by the Muslim community. As Michael Nazir-Ali, the Anglican Bishop of Rochester, said, “Given the world view that has given rise to such grievances, there can never be sufficient appeasement, and new demands will continue to be made.”
Little wonder, then, that Tony Blair's government has announced the establishment of a Commission on Integration and Cohesion that will study the effect of multiculturalism policies that have for decades sought to downplay the notion of a British identity and culture in favour of a “fruitcake” approach to citizenship — that is, a collection of ethnic and racial communities living separately side-by-side.
In unveiling the commission, Ruth Kelly, Britain's Communities Secretary, said as much explicitly, calling for an open debate on multiculturalism, uncensored by political correctness. Many Britons find no need for such a debate or any reason to wait for the commission's report. The Bishop of Rochester said a week ago, “The multiculturalism beloved by our political and civic bureaucracies has not only failed to deliver peace, but is the partial cause” of alienation and extremism. In the wake of the 7/7 terrorist bombings of London's subway system, and a series of terrorism scares in the year since, that view is now widely shared in the U.K. While everyone continues to mouth the usual platitudes about how Muslims and other immigrant communities can take pride in their traditions etc., etc., the firm belief of many is that they now must be compelled to assimilate into British society.
Britain has at last awoken to the dangers wrought by multiculturalism, a policy that only feeds intolerance and misunderstanding by separating people into ethnic and racial tribes, formalizing — indeed celebrating — divisions. Whether four decades of multi-culti indoctrination can be easily undone, and the cancer arrested, is another matter. It's a question Canadians must also face: With recent studies showing a growing pattern of ghettoization of racial and ethnic communities in Canada, and with our own homegrown terrorist plots, how long before this country is compelled to follow the British example and establish its own Commission on Integration?
National Post 2006