Multiculturalism in Britain dead: Study
The findings could have significant bearing on Britain's policies towards Asian and Afro-Caribbean minorities.india Updated: Jul 13, 2006 13:51 IST
Multiculturalism as a way of social integration in Britain is dead, concludes a unique University of Leicester study after the July 7, 2005, blasts in London.
It should instead be replaced by the idea of inter-culturalism, says the report published after the conclusion of the one-year research. The findings have significant bearing on Britain's policies towards Asian and Afro-Caribbean minorities.
Inter-culturalism is defined as a sharing of cultural experiences with people from a different culture. It contrasts with multiculturalism that celebrates diversity.
The report, titled "Engagement With Cultures: From Diversity to Inter-culturalism", is authored by researchers Bill Law, Tim Haq and Asaf Hussain, who carried out their research in Leicester, a town in the east Midlands with a large minority of Asian and Afro-Caribbean origin.
The authors state: "We believe multiculturalism has failed. It was a concept and a social re-engineering policy with the best of intentions, but with little debate at the grassroots. It failed to recognise or ignored the dangers of religious fundamentalism with deadly consequences.
"It was yesterday's message conveyed by yesterday's men and women.
"Multicultural policies saved no lives in London. The ones who died and were injured through the terrorist actions of British born terrorists in July 2005 came from all countries, cultures and religions.
"Our message is simple. Britain's population has to become integrated."
Key conclusions of the report are:
*Cities with immigrants directly from South Asia face greater challenges than those whose South Asian immigrants came from Africa.
*Inter-cultural bridging has no value if it is a middleclass exercise. It has to occur at grassroots to have any impact.
*Funding of cultural organisations must change. Funding should be conditional on engaging with other cultures.
The report adds: "The term 'British' should be given specific meaning in terms of values of the adopted land in which such persons are settled."
According to the authors, "The term British should mean values of British society. It suggests respect for the monarchy; loyalty to the state (elected government); internalise values of democracy ie to express difference through democratic process, not violence; respect and abide by the law; accept plural society."