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MULTICULTURAL FUTURE, A NEW BEGINNING

  • ZAHID MAJEED SHEIKH
  • Dec, 2017
  • 83
  • Culture

Multiculturalism is a form of nation building and not just aimed at immigrant settlement or combating prejudice.

We live in a world profound with diversity in cultures manifested with customary behaviors, patterns of thinking and communicative styles. In sociological terms, the cultural differences should be respected as the co-existence of diverse cultures merits equal respect and scholarly interest. We, at a breath taking pace, are heading toward interculturalism and transnationalism, giving new dimensions to the multicultural future. In this journey of exploring new identities, it is imperative to have an insight into the failure and success of multiculturalism. The experience of triple transition in Europe and the issues of minority alienation are not to be neglected.

Today, the British Isles contain two sovereign states: the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Ninety six years ago Ireland was split in two after people living there went to war under leadership of Michael Collins against their British rulers. The South became a separate state but the break-up led to years of unrest. It triggered violence in Northern Ireland for decades which, despite violence, remained part of the United Kingdom.

Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales are multicultural societies now like England but they have unsettled issues with the Monarchy; the British House of Commons and the House of Lords and these issues do include the burning question of obligations and rights of emigrants from different countries residing in UK. The Basque community and the Catalan in the Iberian Peninsula have a history of controversies and disputes with the Spanish Government over their rights in the country. This is what we call loosening bond in multicultural terms. Similarly, post-industrialism created unemployment among immigrants in Europe. In addition, declining public trust; changing demographic patterns; births, deaths and diseases come from the concept of restructuring of the welfare state. According to Trujillo (2013), the notion of security and what threatens state security has shifted since the disbanding of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War to include non-traditional society threats such as transnational crime, terrorism, energy security and immigration. Even legal, or legitimate, immigrants such as asylum seekers and refugees have been considered a threat by some political actors to the apparent identity of the host society or state.

France instills Republican citizenship values into the minorities but where the problem is? The main immigrants in France among the Muslims are from Algeria and Morocco in North Africa. In 2016, President Francois Hollande told the authors of a published book that France has “a problem with Islam” and there are too many immigrants arriving in the country who “shouldn’t be here.” A string of attacks in France in the past two years combined with the Europe-wide migrant crisis have stoked anti-immigration sentiment. Similarly, in UK, the Muslim Youth issue in North England and other parts of the country as well as the British Asian issue since 2001 riots in Bradford has added fuel to fire. The Bradford riots were a short but intense period of rioting, occurred as a result of heightened tension between the growing British Asian communities and the city’s white majority. It was escalated by confrontation between the Anti-Nazi League and far right groups such as the National Front and the British National Party. Similar ethnic riots had occurred earlier in other parts of Northern England (in Oldham and Burnley). Moreover, Superdiversity has added fuel to fire in the UK economy with a multitude of emigrants from Central and East Europe. According to Vertovec (2007) Superdiversity put a particular strain on housing, schools and the health service in some areas.

The Economist (2007) rejects the tendency for multiculturalism to become derogatory a word as neo-con or socialist. Neo-cons were the hawkish liberal intellectuals in the 1960s that had strong reservation with the American left’s foreign policy. Neo-conservatism, a variant of the political ideology of conservatism combines characteristics of traditional conservatism with political individualism and a qualified endorsement of free markets. Many of its adherents became politically famous during the Republican presidential administrations of the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. Neo-con is considered a disapproving term because neo-conservatives advocate the means of military force. Similarly, a socialist is a person who advocates and practices socialism. As the West advocates capitalism and socialism in Marxist theory refers to a transitional state between the overthrow of capitalism and the realization of communism; therefore, soc...

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