Sunday, 20 February 2011

no, multiculturalism has not failed

i've had a pretty quiet weekend, which is good because i definitely needed one of those! just some links today: myself and a friend, aliya dansiezen, did an interview with sapna samant on the asian radio show (its show 107, season 4 episode 2 on that webpage). dr sapna was challenging, as ever, and one day i'm really going to have it with her regarding the use of the term PC!

the main purpose of the interview was to talk about the muslim women's conference last month, but one of the other issues she asked us about was angela merkel & david cameron deciding multiculturalism had failed. that kind of statement makes me really angry, which no doubt came across in the interview. i basically said that germany had never given multiculturalism any kind of serious try, so i didn't see how ms merkel could validly make that claim.

as for mr cameron, i think his making that claim was insulting to the good work done by hundreds of thousand of people across britain who are working to build a sense of community. if he thinks the current form of multiculturalism isn't working, then i suppose he'd rather go back to the race-based riots of the 70s or the riots through paris a couple of years ago, or the cronulla riots in sydney.

thanx to sahar, i found this letter responding to mr cameron, written by haitham al-haddad, a londoner with some leadership positions in the muslim community. it's pretty challenging, but exactly the kind of response needed to the kind of nonsense that mr cameron is spouting. an excerpt:

What we believe to be wrong and unjust, we will exercise our right to speak out against. You cannot speak of a belief in the freedom of speech and religion while in the same breath denying the Muslims the right to proclaim and preach their belief. You thus make ‘freedom of speech’ an empty slogan. You either accept that people – British Muslims included – have a right to believe in the values that their religion teaches, or that the state regulates our beliefs and our values as in a ‘thought police’ that incriminates and sanctions citizens for what they may believe even if they break no law. This, in essence, is what you propose. If so, then how different is that from communist dictatorships that repress those voices that oppose the state’s ‘values’? You are travelling down a road that will end with sanctions being placed on Muslims for simply believing in Islam and the Quran.

The Islamic faith does not teach extremism. But the Prime Minister, MPs and non-representative think-tanks with their own prejudices will not dictate to Muslims what constitutes a correct Islamic understanding and what does not. You would be ill-advised to be directed by any biased coterie of individuals with neo-conservative leanings or those who seek to undermine Muslims to forward the cause of other interest groups. The government has already, on the basis of such misinformation, branded mainstream Muslim individuals, events and organisations as extremist, reinforcing the perception that your government is unable to make an impartial judgement about its Muslim citizens. This reality makes your speech a cause for even greater concern among British Muslims.

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