So multiculturalism has failed. David Cameron and Angela Merkel and a growing number of people in the west believe so and they might be right. So now what? This is where all the problems and the hypocrisy will tumble out.
Most people want an integrated society. It makes sense. However targetting muslims for not integrating is wholly unfair. No one is asking the Portuguese community to better integrate. No one is asking the various Indian communities to better integrate. Being in a Portuguese British Indian household my wife and I know how insular our communities are and what kind of racist attitudes they hold. So who is going to challenge them?
By asking all muslims to always come out and condemn others who share a wholly different understanding of the faith they share is frankly over the top. By the same reasoning Archibishop Rowan Williams (bless his name) should stand up and condemn all the rubbish that the Christian loony fringe get up to. Atheists should routinely condemn Stalin and Mao because they share the same ‘faith’.
There is a deeper problem here that many do actually feel that the rich live by different rules. Or that the rules are stacked against the poor. By playing this religion/race card it is easy to hide the deeper issues that this society is facing. It is easier to blame the poor (many of whom are muslim) rather than face upto the smooth talking, justice bending, privileged, prejudiced people in power. That’s what European politicians do in a delusional attempt to offer an answer.
British governments unfortunately have been quite good in hardening up identities and causing violence. A brief look through India’s history will show how so many caste and religious differences were hugely hardened (not with intention I would like to think) by meddling colonials. The statements of politicians regarding multiculturalism are going to deepen the alienation that David Cameron wishes to avoid. It shows a simple lack of awareness of what is actually going on. It shows a lack of awareness that all are prejudiced.
Until everyone accepts this we will have at best a continued sense of alienation for some and at worst violence that could engulf us. Germany 1930s is not that far away. Neither is Bosnia 1990s.