Weak meta-multiculturalism joke inspired by strong article.
An even stronger article, with opinions from the very same Kenan Malik. Can’t recommend this enough.
Trust Moses to avoid mention of anti-multiculturalists who seek to replace the prevailing culture with their own.
I tried to wrap my head around all of this, but sadly, it exploded. I hope the noise didn’t bother anyone, it’s much quieter now.
I’m honoured that one of my debates should inspire a Jesus and Mo cartoon. I’ve always thought they were brilliant. I think that even more now:-).
Thanks, Kenan. I’m honoured that you’re honoured.
The demands of Islam out west
Are not of a polite guest
Having escaped with it’s life
Returns violence and strife
This cult is a self serving pest.
Dude, I haven’t been around for some time, who’s the new addition? Let me guess and say that they all represent people who know that the God of Abraham is real.
I’m one of those guys, or am I all three, and this is why I ask the question:
I’ve been circumsised, baptized, and ordained a priest in these later days. I’m now a Muslim Master Mind. do you believe I’ve covered all the bases?
If you can’t cope with the reality that I’m back, oh well – that’s not my fault.
I HOPE you know you can’t CHANGE the truth, all you can do is CHANGE your mind.
And no I’m not spam, you know i shouldn’t eat ham. it’s those silly christians who broke the rules, and think I’m some sort of GOD. The rest of you can think what you want, but know I’m telling the truth.
I’m a semi-multiculturalist: love the folk dances and colorful hats but can’t really get behind the clitorectomies.
from Kenan’s article:
“But that is not what assimilation has come to mean in practice somewhere like France, where policies of assimilation have resulted in the authorities treating different groups of people differently by pointing up their differences, insisting that certain groups – Muslims or the Roma, for example – cannot belong to our culture, to our society, because their culture, their values, their ways of life are so different and inimical to ours. That is the way assimilation policies have developd and I think that is very dangerous.”
I really hate how Kenan makes it sound that those ‘differences in the way of life’ are something trivial and negligeable that the Europeans just want to make a fuss about because they are secretly racists of whatever… when actually among the biggest problems in the immigrant communities are horrible things like honor killings, female genital mutilation, child marriages, polygamy (most often arranged marriages in which women have no saying about anything), animal sacrificing, holocaust-denial and evolution denial (and often violent attacks by students on teachers who try to educate them on those questions) Where you have a community where this behavior is considered normal, the government has every right to point out that they *are* different, and that those values *are* indeed inimical to the modern, liberal values, and that those communities are in need of some serious re-education, questioning and re-evaluation of their ‘lifestyle’.
After 8 years of working for NGOs in different ‘ghettos’ of european cities, trying to combat some of those problems, and seeing things only get worse and worse…I resigned, I don’t have the stomach for it and I don’t want to risk my life anymore…
and about Kenan’s comment how ‘dangers of free speech are exaggerated’…yeah really…Kenan must have never heard of anyone that has ever gotten killed for criticising Islam, or had fatwa on them and had to go in hiding…right…
kareen, what are you quoting from? That passage isn’t in the linked article.
Did you read the linked article? Kenan Malik is in no sense a defender of ” horrible things like honor killings, female genital mutilation, child marriages” etc. And as for free speech – well, look it up. Ten seconds with Google should show you your mistake.
the sad part is that if we just didn’t try to control or deny rights/opportunties to other people/of minority groups
we wouldn’t need to waste time trying to legally determine how to behave towards each other
Kareen’s quotes comes from a Eurozine debate about multiculturalism (http://www.eurozine.com/articles/2011-01-18-debate-en.html). And she’s a bit naughty in not giving the full quote in either case. On assimilation, this what I said:
‘In one sense assimilation means treating individuals as citizens and not as members of a particular group. That seems to me to be a very good thing. But that is not what assimilation has come to mean in practice somewhere like France, where policies of assimilation have resulted in the authorities treating different groups of people differently by pointing up their differences, insisting that certain groups – Muslims or the Roma, for example – cannot belong to our culture, to our society, because their culture, their values, their ways of life are so different and inimical to ours. That is the way assimilation policies have developed and I think that is very dangerous.’
That is not a defence of ‘horrible practices’ but a critique of a ‘horrible practice’ – racism. As for free speech this is actually what I said:
‘I wouldn’t want to minimize some of the dangers, but I wouldn’t want to exaggerate them either. Part of the problem it seems to me is that we exaggerate the dangers of free speech. And in so doing we create the problem. The real issue is not actually the threat of violence from Islamists. It is something much more internal to western societies, the sense that it is morally wrong to give offence to other groups and cultures. People are frightened of doing things because they fear the repercussions, but they are also frightened of doing things because they think it is morally wrong to offend other people and other cultures. And I think that is a much greater problem. We should say it is morally right to offend people.’
The whole thrust of that talk – as of much of my work – is a critique of multiculturalism and a defence of free speech. I don’t mind robust debate or people criticising my arguments. I would prefer, however, not to be misrepresented.
Right, I think Kenan Malik’s opinions on these issues are extremely well thought out and persuasive. His criticisms of the French model ought to be understood in the context of what he says about other countries. It’s great that Jesus & Mo has drawn attention to Kenan Malik whose new blog “Pandaemonium” is excellent.
would i paraphrase you correctly by saying:
Respect other people,
Respect their right to state their opinions and beliefs
Do not respect their opinions and beliefs without first subjecting them to critical analysis. And do not be afraid to share your analysis.
Strange, I can subscribe to practically everything you say, yet I call myself a great fan and supporter of multiculturalism. Just a difference in semantics, I suppose. In the debate, the only people I hear talking about the evils of multiculturalism are reactionaries who use the term as a thin veil for their xenophobic hate speech.
This usually works by attacking the straw man of cultural relativism. But cultural relativism has next to no followers except a few undergrad sociology students. For those of you who agree with Kareen, I have a challenge: Name a single prominent European politician or major political group whose defense of multiculturalism included allowing FGM, honour killings, the subjugation of women or anything of the kind in the immigrant communities because “we mustn’t force our culture on them”. I don’t know of any. Meanwhile I might make a list of politicians and groups who attacked multiculturalism to advance their nationalist and racist agendas. Might take a couple of weeks though, there are quite a bunch….
Thanks DonF. And my apologies if I appeared too grouchy in my previous comment – long day, late night, etc.
TonV – couldn’t disagree with that. Foundationist – there’s a long tradition of left wing criticism of multiculturalism going back to the 80s (and Sivanandan, for instance). And before that figures like CLR James were highly critical of pluralism and champions of universalism. It’s true that there is a growing xenophobic critique of multiculturalism. That doesn’t stop me continuing to criticise multiculturalism – it has dangerous political consequences for those who believe in equality and universal values. But it is important, I think, to link such a critique with a defence of mass immigration, of diversity as lived experience and of equal rights for all. And while it is true that many straw man arguments are raised about relativism, it is not true that ‘cultural relativism has next to no followers except a few undergrad sociology students’. It can, and does, have pernicious practical consequences. Brian Barry’s book Culture and Equality is a good starting point for discussion of this. See also my paper on ‘Making a Difference: Culture, Race and Social Policy’ (http://www.kenanmalik.com/papers/pop_multiculturalism.html) for some examples. Also this: http://www.kenanmalik.com/essays/australian_polygamy.html.
Hmmm — it seems to me that if people entering into a new social construct (moving there for some reason, presumably) experience new opportunities for a better life, they will tend to accept the values of that new environment, whereas if they feel oppressed of stifled or suppressed, they will blame the existing culture & its values & regress to something else — too simplistic & that’s just me & OCICBW
@P.A. you can leave out the OCICBW, thats taken as read for everyone!
One thing that remains to be explained is the large number of women–I have heard a figure of 20000/year–converting TO Islam in the UK.
This cannot be explained by the usual “Its the patriarchy forcing them” or the more subtle “They are in ignorance of the alternatives” explanations.
Presumably Islam is offering something to these women–but what?
Foundationist – there may not be many politicians arguing to legalize such abominable practices as you mentioned, but at the same time, almost none appear to even be concerned with the radical patriarchy, censorship, and anti-science attitudes widespread in immigrant communities and exhibited by much higher rates of rape, violent reactions to criticism of Islam or Mohammed, schooling standards that flatter religion and undermine science, and the brute fact of life for many women who are not given an equal education or employment opportunities and are instead expected to marry early and spend their lives raising children and being submissive and thankful to their husbands, who may well have been chosen for them by their fathers in exchange for financial consideration.
The last is perhaps the most insidious grievance as it is de facto sex slavery and subjugation of women of the worst kind, yet just like religion the strongest chains are forged in the minds of the oppressed. The most effective mask for fear and oppression is adulation; it is often remarked that totalitarian states have pictures of the dictator everywhere because the people love the dictator. Stalin was a much loved man while he was in power – a love born of a whispered fear.
The way forward is obvious in many cases: integrate schools and demand rigorous standards, protect the rights of abused women instead of delivering them back into the hands of their tormentors, and enforce anti-discrimination and anti-sexism laws. It should be a slam-dunk issue, but such measures don’t respect the diversity of cultures in the community, which is why liberals have to argue against respect and for offense if they want to treat minorities humanely. What supreme irony.
daoloth — good question, but I doubt that there is one answer — perhaps confusion of mixed signals in modern secular society where women are told that they can do anything men can but with an asterisk — in Islam (or Hassidic Judaism) the gender roles are clear — some types of people find that stifling — others find it a secure & safe place. One might also ask why the highest percentage of male to female transgenders people are in the black & Hispanic communities which (from an outsider’s perspective) demean the feminine. People are complicated.
Miles — your last paragraph is the Catch-22 — someone who is so liberal that he won’t stand up for his own beliefs …
@PA. Interesting points.
BY MTF transitioners do you mean early transitioners rather than autogynophyliacs? If that’s true that would be highly intriguing–do you have figures and references for this?
As for the other issue–I have had an opportunity to watch it in action twice–with my sister-in-law and my god daughter–both of whom converted. When asked both said that reading the Koran had convinced them but all they spouted were platitudes from an Iman and “outsiders don’t understand”. Something else was going on.
In at least one case (god-daughter) she became, from being what we called up in Sheffield “a right lil slapper” a born-again virgin. It looked a lot like she was switching strategies, unconsciously of course, to males in the local environment who might be willing to invest long-term, and therefore needed to “flaunt her modesty” as Mo would have it.
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