'Multiculturalism - Problem or Solution?'

26 Jun 2014 - 6:30pm - 9:00pm

How do we all fit together, what kind of society do we live in, is it working?

The speakers will be:

  • Dan Nilsson DeHanas (Research Fellow, University of Kent)
  • Akeela Ahmed (former Chief Executive, Muslim Youth Helpline)
  • Ajmal Masroor (imam, marriage advisor and broadcaster)
  • Revd Alan Green (St John's, Bethnal Green and Tower Hamlets Inter Faith Forum)

Despite being a society made up of waves of immigration from the Romans onwards we still have a problem with immigrants. As ‘island people’ we have a strong, but precarious, identity. We feel under threat from a tiny Muslim population. Religio-ethnic-cultural heritage can produce bad karma, and its children. Thus we have the EDL and BNP. But England is not under attack, it doesn’t need defending, though we should be defended from racist thugs on our streets. Yes we know Britain is a nation, though it is actually three nations and again, who will give a mandate to racism?

We need to chill, many of us are chilled, we’re not fretting about immigrants. But some say multiculturalism has gone too far, but it hasn’t gone far enough, we aren’t chilled about ‘foreigners’ and we should be. We’re too quick to label those who are different as ‘foreign’ when they’re just as English, or Welsh, as everybody else. We need to ban that terrible, misleading phrase ‘British values’, and, of course, we could do with some Christian and Islamic values. Baroness Warsi was right about the acceptability of Islamophobia.

Characteristics of an integrated (multicultural) society:

  • a much stronger web of relationships between people of different ethnicities and religions
  • an end to ‘white flight’ and segregated communities
  • greater sharing and understanding of what we have in common
  • moving beyond talk of ‘ethnic minorities’ and any other ‘binary’ descriptions
  • universal commitment to ‘the house that we build together’ to borrow the Chief Rabbi’s words
  • ceasing to use the language of ‘integrating into our society’
Whitechapel, London - Please check with organisers
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