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Monday, 7 February 2011

The failure of policy of multiculturalism against backdrop of growing Islamist sentiments

David Cameron calls for toughening policies against groups that propagandize Islamic extremism:
By Naira Hayrumyan, from

In his speech at the 47th Munich Conference on Security held at the weekend British Prime Minister David Cameron commented on the failure of the policy of “state multiculturalism” and suggested that his European partners toughen policies against groups that propagandize Islamic extremism.

So far Europe has been pursuing a policy of tolerance towards all religious and ethnic groups, embracing them and trying to integrate them into their society. However, in recent years there has been a growing concern that the overgrown communities have become a threat to native Europeans. The event two years ago in French capital Paris where immigrants for several days staged arson attacks after the murder of a teenager by a police officer led to France’s deporting many of those who did not wish to obey its laws.

Immediately after the speech by Cameron, an anti-Islamist march of supporters of the far-right group, English Defense League, was staged in Luton, a town near UK capital London. During the march, they were carrying banners reading “Muslim terrorists, get off our streets” and “No to new mosques.” About a thousand supporters of another group Unite Against Fascism, also embracing Moslem organizations, decided to hinder the actions of the British right-wing nationalists.

Cameron’s statement quickly became a subject of discussion by online social networks. Similar statements have also been made by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who have also spoken against 80-million-strong Muslim Turkey’s joining the European Union.

“I can testify based on my own personal experience that multiculturalism doesn’t work,” writes one UK blogger, calling himself Mr Matt, on a BBC blog, saying that in the area where he lives, Macclesfild, Cheshire, has seen a growing number of Muslim immigrants who won’t integrate.

“There are so many of them that they no longer have anywhere to integrate into. They live the way they used to live in India.”

“This idea doesn’t work. Finally, at least one European leader has stood up and said out loud what everyone else thinks...,” said another one who calls himself solomondogs.

A move away from multicultural tolerance, which the Western world has adhered to for many years, is a reaction to growing Islamist sentiments in the world. Many experts call the recent developments in the Arab world (Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, etc.) the renaissance of Islam. One can also hear quite often that Turkey is traveling the path of Islamization and that the share of the Muslim population that defies or is unwilling to live by the laws of democracy is growing in Europe. In this context giving up multiculturalism is seen as the manifestation of the Western world’s self-preservation instinct.

But it is obvious that the Islamic world could also accept the appeal of the British prime minister as a challenge and take appropriate steps.

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