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Why multiculturalism must be abandoned - Comments

eoinc's Avatar Comment 1 by eoinc

Haven't yet got past the first sentence, but just had to praise its wonderful wordplay:

"How do you solve a problem like Sharia?"

Why didn't I ever think of that?

Mon, 11 Feb 2008 02:10:00 UTC | #118921

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 2 by Steve Zara

The young Hari talks a lot of sense, presenting his arguments with clarity and useful information.

I have moaned somewhat about the recent Condell video on this subject, posted on this site. I feel strongly that this is the way to do things: Hari has it right.

Mon, 11 Feb 2008 02:24:00 UTC | #118927

BaronOchs's Avatar Comment 3 by BaronOchs

We've heard this before remember? Trevor Philips said multiculturalism encouraged divisions in society and then people criticised him for "playing into the hands of the right".

Still good article.

Mon, 11 Feb 2008 02:32:00 UTC | #118933

Henri Bergson's Avatar Comment 4 by Henri Bergson

I was actually at the Archbishop's lecture in the Royal Courts of Justice. What he is accused of is an exaggeration of what he said, to be fair.

However, I am glad for the harsh response because ultimately and implicitly he is suggesting that we should accommodate muslim values rather than they accommodating ours fully.

But Hari's proposed solution here makes me laugh. Multiculturalism is a part of Liberalism which cannot be simply taken away. Multiculturalism is the ultimate ideology of global capitalism as it hinders the formation of national economies (thus limiting the global market of multinationals), as is Liberalism generally (just look at its origins).

The solution is simple: outlaw any non-state court or law, and stop non-EU low-skill (i.e. thick) immigrants from entering the continent. The latter has just been instigated by Britain at last. Also ban the teaching of religion as truth (as in Sweden).

Rowan Williams may have a PhD, but it's in theology and thus easily acquired.

In the lecture he said that a muslim board must decide which sharia laws are cultural as opposed to those which are religious, as if there's a difference! As if there is a 'true' Islam as opposed to a culturally-created one. Fool.

He also tried to water down the punishment in Sharia of Apostasy (conversion from a religion). He likened it to treason where a person rejects the community and actively goes against it. As if an apostate is like a traitor... However, even Britain doesn't stone traitors to death.

I think he may resign as the effect of his words in parts of Africa may be fatal to Anglicans there battling with sharia courts on a daily basis.

The effect may be a replaced stronger, stricter Archbishop, which, also, is not desirable for atheists (or is it?)....

Mon, 11 Feb 2008 02:37:00 UTC | #118935

tieInterceptor's Avatar Comment 5 by tieInterceptor

this article is really good, he* makes a lot of sense.

(*fixed)

to anyone who hasn't seen the Uk divorce: sharia stile documentary mentioned in this article, it's totally worth it.

http://uk.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=97CD3BD1948BE551

This World: Inside a Shari'ah Court a female muslim uk reporter in nigeria's sharia courts. Interesting.

http://uk.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=A07C626899D1E6D4

Dispatches: Undercover Mosque Very good one, and the Imam that appears on Divorce sharia stile is one of the radical ones portrayed. He looks ok'ish as a sharia judge, then he talks vitriol on the pulpit on the mosque, who would have known?

http://uk.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=B61DDD1701F98467

Unreported World: Egypt's Rubbish People This one is quite sad. I'veen to Cairo and never knew this existed.

http://uk.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=880679FBF7239D0B

Mon, 11 Feb 2008 02:52:00 UTC | #118943

Peacebeuponme's Avatar Comment 6 by Peacebeuponme

The young Hari talks a lot of sense, presenting his arguments with clarity and useful information.

I have moaned somewhat about the recent Condell video on this subject, posted on this site. I feel strongly that this is the way to do things: Hari has it right.
Excellent point. Hari's columns in the Independent are always a pleasure to read. Condell makes me cringe more often than not.

Mon, 11 Feb 2008 02:54:00 UTC | #118944

BaronOchs's Avatar Comment 7 by BaronOchs

this article is really good, she makes a lot of sense.


He might have manboobs but he isn't a she.

Mon, 11 Feb 2008 02:56:00 UTC | #118947

davem's Avatar Comment 8 by davem

This article needs to be sent to the Archbishop...

Mon, 11 Feb 2008 03:14:00 UTC | #118956

AllanW's Avatar Comment 9 by AllanW

I like this article; clear, factual, well-argued and points in the right direction.

Whether Williams stays or goes is a toss-up; he has 'pissed on his chips' as we say oop north and will never again be treated with any respect by much of the population.

Two things;

I hope this emboldens the second and third generation Muslim population to take control of their communities: the absence of integrated, westernized Muslims in positions of influence should finally have made them realise that they must clean the stables or be faced with more regrettable and unjust victimization by racists in this country.

And secondly I hope that the main secular lobbies really co-ordinate and press for change on the back of this. Blasphemy laws repealed, Hate laws immasculated, faith schools and academies opened to all or forcibly changed. I think disestablishment is maybe too far away but you never know.

Mon, 11 Feb 2008 03:17:00 UTC | #118959

gcdavis's Avatar Comment 10 by gcdavis

I first wrote this a year ago and have taken a lot of stick here and at other forums for opposing the concept of multiculturalism as practised here in the UK. I thought it worth repeating. I have been misrepresented as a racist usually by lefties for having the temerity of saying that immigrants should be expected to “sign up” to the core values of the host nation even at the expense of their own cultural origins.

If you want to live in the UK your entry ticket should be to share our values and learn our language (quickly), your colour, class, skills are not the issue. At the heart of the problem is of course religion, a moslem immigrant from Pakistan is less likely to assimilate than a Sikh from India because of the greater subjugation that islam demands. Even Poles bring with them a much stronger, more active and devout version of catholicism than our local version.

As a secularist I am alarmed at the creeping expansion of religion into education and government. Although I see no prospect at all of the UK following America’s path, we must fight to keep religious influence at bay and seek always to reign it back.

Multiculturalism’s bed fellow is political correctness and timidity amongst politicians. I long for one of them to stand up and assert their Britishness, this should not be confused with nationalism or mistaken for xenophobia. And before someone says “what is Britishness” it suffices to say that it is a broad “church” and not a narrow monoculturalism, in common with most developed societies it allows for wide range of behaviour and practice, if your are a Brit and don’t know what it is, then open your eyes and ears, it is all around you.

Mon, 11 Feb 2008 03:18:00 UTC | #118961

JemyM's Avatar Comment 11 by JemyM

Multiculture builds on the same mistake as nationalism, the belief that culture can be defined and that there is an authority that can do so.

Mon, 11 Feb 2008 03:32:00 UTC | #118976

Corylus's Avatar Comment 12 by Corylus

Good article, completely correct that Rowan William's speech has had the effect of getting people talking about the issues and learning more about precisely what Sharia can and does prevail.

The hideous punishments everyone knows about, but now there has also been a highlighting of the gender disparities in matters such as matrimonial and inheritance law. Sharia cannot be used as some form of arbitration or 'alternative conflict resolution' (in civil rather than criminal matters) in that so much of it is at variance with British and European law. There will now be much more suspicion shown when it is hawked as such.

However, so sorry for lowering the tone, but this phrase had me crying with laughter

...bashing the bishop has become a national sport.
I can only pressure that Mr Hari is innocently unaware of the colloquial use of this term.

Mon, 11 Feb 2008 03:32:00 UTC | #118977

IaninPA's Avatar Comment 13 by IaninPA

the Archbishop of Canterbury has been chorusing: how do you solve a problem like Sharia?


Alright everybody with me...

(Think, 'sound of music', Julie Andrews and the start of the movie)

"how do you solve - a problem like Shareeeahhh?"

La la la lahhh la lahh la lah la lahhhhhh...

Mon, 11 Feb 2008 03:50:00 UTC | #118985

Geoff's Avatar Comment 14 by Geoff


I can only pressure that Mr Hari is innocently unaware of the colloquial use of this term.


I think he sneaked it in (perhaps past his editor?) quite knowingly, judging by some of his other great one-liners.

Excellent article.

gcdavis #10: I for one, agree completely with your points, I said something similar in the comments to the original article.

Mon, 11 Feb 2008 03:51:00 UTC | #118987

oisha's Avatar Comment 15 by oisha

I, like Steve, have also moaned a bit about the Condell video and was surprised to find myself agreeing with much more of this article than I anticipated given its controversial title.

Nevertheless, I think that what we've got here is another of those "what should we call ourselves?" debates.

In an ideal world the word "multiculturalist", like "atheist" would indeed be redundant. Nevertheless, I still call myself a multiculturalist, and I do so in the sense that I champion liberalness (not in the slavish and bent-over-backwards sense that Rowan Williams is committed to cultural diversity for diversity's sake). It seems to me that this would be the case for the majority of multiculturalists I know, and that this multiculturalism gone crazy that every now and then rears its head is a minority position. In Australia, John Howard famously co-opted the term "mushy multiculturalism" which, while suitably applied to the likes of Rowan Williams, has been used by the political Right to mischaracterise and discredit more sobre multiculturalists in precisely the same way that theists have mischaracterised atheists as nihilists.

Of course, in a society that was everywhere struck through with a spirit of "liberalness", there would be no need to speak of multiculturalists at all, but I continue to refer to myself as one in order to distinguish myself from the monoculturalists and assimilationists who are still so numerous. I do so in the same spirit that I refer to myself as an atheist. I am hopeful that there will indeed be a time when it is unnecessary to do so, but I do not feel that the time for this is now. For reasons that I spoke of in the Condell post, I am less than convinced that the age of assimilation is dead and buried in Australia and for me the word multiculturalism still retains enormous utility.

In Australia I find that this is particularly and almost inescapably the case, because the big-L "Liberals" are actually the country's largest socially conservative party and the party most frequently associated with monoculturalist tendencies. This is so much the case that little-l liberals must necessarily refer to themselves by alternative vocabulary.

Mon, 11 Feb 2008 04:36:00 UTC | #119013

Heretic's Avatar Comment 16 by Heretic

This is what I've been saying for ages (well, to friends and family at least).

To be against mulitculturism (a phrase that always makes me shudder) is NOT being racist.

Race is a non-issue here - but cultures are man made and (just like religions) have no need to be respected without good reason. If a particular culture is morraly wrong, why should we tolerate it in the name of multiculturism?

Mon, 11 Feb 2008 05:10:00 UTC | #119019

Tyler Durden's Avatar Comment 18 by Tyler Durden

Comment #125188 by Ian Bamlett:

"how do you solve - a problem like Shareeeahhh?"
Actually, I was singing "I've just met a law named Sharia" from West Side Story :)

I'll get me coat!

Mon, 11 Feb 2008 05:18:00 UTC | #119025

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 17 by Steve Zara

Race is a non-issue here


Well, not entirely. The problem is when people use the issue of culture for racist ends. This is something we have to watch out for.

Mon, 11 Feb 2008 05:18:00 UTC | #119024

nickthelight's Avatar Comment 19 by nickthelight

Down with the liberal wimps. We need to stop bending over backwards to entertain peoples ideals. Take it or leave it; we are all equal before the law.
The Christian faith has been slowly eroded from common law; homosexuality as sin for example - why? because of the shifting moral zeitgeist in which the Islamic faith is not in step with. Sharia law is simply not in tune with the modern world. It is un-civilized 6th century nonsense and deserves no respect or promotion.

Mon, 11 Feb 2008 05:42:00 UTC | #119036

IaninPA's Avatar Comment 20 by IaninPA

Comment #125231 by Tyler Durden:

Actually, I was singing "I've just met a law named Sharia" from West Side Story :)


Oh, that's a good un! I didn't think of that.

Mon, 11 Feb 2008 05:43:00 UTC | #119037

Steve Zara's Avatar Comment 21 by Steve Zara

Down with the liberal wimps. We need to stop bending over backwards to entertain peoples ideals. Take it or leave it; we are all equal before the law.


The difficulty with that is that people have different ideas of what "equal before the law" means.

I remember hearing the following argument against gay rights : "Gay men have the same rights as 'normal' men - they can marry women too."

There are no simple answers here; just important questions that have to be asked.

Mon, 11 Feb 2008 05:46:00 UTC | #119038

SilentSkeptic's Avatar Comment 22 by SilentSkeptic

Funny thing is (or perhaps not so funny), while everyone's busy discussing the Archbishop's statement the government goes and does this:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2008/02/03/nbenefit103.xml

Mon, 11 Feb 2008 06:10:00 UTC | #119043

Chris Bell's Avatar Comment 23 by Chris Bell

A proposal for a new law:

Section 1) It is confusing to the public when non-governmental organizations call themselves "courts". Participants in these courts often do not recognize that the "judgments" of these "courts" are not legally binding. Often, the participants do not seek further legal help from the government because they think their issue has already been settled. THEREFORE, any non-governmental organization calling itself a "court" will be fined 1,000 pounds upon the first violation, and will be closed upon the second violation.

Section 2) Any "court" which reads the following statement aloud to the participants before conducting its business shall be exempted from Section 1.

"This is not a court with legal authority. You may choose to obey the ruling of this court, but you are not required to. If you are not satisfied with the result here, you may be able to find help in the Courts of England."

Mon, 11 Feb 2008 06:40:00 UTC | #119059

HughCaldwell's Avatar Comment 24 by HughCaldwell

The Archbishop of Canterbury made a tremendous blunder. He mentioned the word 'Sharia'. Pavlovian responses immediately overwhelm all rational debate. Johann Hari heard the trigger as 'multiculturalism' and the result was the same inability to understand the naive but subtle arguments of the Archbishop, The Beth Din (Jewish courts) seek to propagate and enforce senseless rules. There is nothing like senseless rules for promoting group solidarity. Yet, in the spirit of democracy, tolerance and lack of dogmatism, we should welcome this cultural diversity, where it does not, as the Archbishop would agree,go against human rights

Mon, 11 Feb 2008 06:46:00 UTC | #119061

gcdavis's Avatar Comment 25 by gcdavis

The one good thing to come out of all this is the extent to which secular voices have been heard, across the media, politics, blogs and letters pages there has been near unanimous condemnation of archbishop’s comments along with an appreciation that this special pleading is demanded by all faith groups, not just islam.
Hugh Caldwell I’m not sure about Pavlovian, there is a difference between a Pavlovian response that has been conditioned by repetition and a spontaneous response to the obvious threat associated with sharia. I understand where you are coming from though, if Williams had been talking about integrating hindu customs into our law it would have passed with far less comment.

Mon, 11 Feb 2008 06:58:00 UTC | #119064

HughCaldwell's Avatar Comment 26 by HughCaldwell

"if Williams had been talking about integrating hindu customs into our law it would have passed with far less comment. "

And his comment about respect for the Beth Din passed with no comment at all. As I said, the Archbishop should never have mentioned 'Sharia' since the media have conditioned a Pavlovian response to the word.

Mon, 11 Feb 2008 07:13:00 UTC | #119072

Quetzalcoatl's Avatar Comment 27 by Quetzalcoatl

Hugh Caldwell-

Yet, in the spirit of democracy, tolerance and lack of dogmatism, we should welcome this cultural diversity


I disagree. I don't see it as unreasonable to expect that those who come to this country should be expected to abide by its laws, and not expect that their own be enforced in the interests of "tolerance". I cannot see something similar happening in Muslim countries.

You mention the Beth Din, but there is a substantial difference between them and Sharia courts. Beth Din courts defer to English law in almost everything, would Sharia courts do the same?

Mon, 11 Feb 2008 07:19:00 UTC | #119075

Incredulous's Avatar Comment 28 by Incredulous

For the first time in a long time, someone has begun a sensitive and yet honest conversation about multiculturalism.

It has become a feel-good doctrine mindlessly celebrating "difference", without looking at what that difference actually means.


The writer goes on to describe a process I have always associated with the more emphatic and vocal proponents of the multicultural society:

"By creating different laws and judicial systems for each ethnic group, we are not fighting racism. In fact, we are institutionalising it."


Whether this is a hysterical statement is open to debate, but nothing in my mind has contributed to the kind of ghettoisation of many parts of Britain, especially inner city Britain, than the nonsensical belief that you are celebrating difference by continually accentuating racial, religious and cultural differences.

I probably mistakenly treat everyone has an individual and give them an opportunity to tell me who they are; how does this help us create the liberal, and dareIsayit, secular society which seems to spring naturally from this welcome critique.

Mon, 11 Feb 2008 07:29:00 UTC | #119078

HughCaldwell's Avatar Comment 29 by HughCaldwell

Beth Din courts defer to English law in almost everything, would Sharia courts do the same? 27. Comment #125281 by Quetzalcoatl on February 11, 2008 at 7:19 am

I cited Beth Din as examples of cultural diversity, as the article by Johann Hari conspicuously does not.

Mon, 11 Feb 2008 07:41:00 UTC | #119083

HughCaldwell's Avatar Comment 30 by HughCaldwell

'"By creating different laws and judicial systems for each ethnic group, we are not fighting racism. In fact, we are institutionalising it." 28. Comment #125284 by Incredulous on February 11, 2008 at 7:29 am '

What, exactly, is wrong with allowing Jewish culture to flourish in Britain?

Mon, 11 Feb 2008 07:44:00 UTC | #119084