Thursday, 7 July 2011
Today is the anniversary of the 7/7 attacks in London. To commemorate the occasion, the New York Times publishes an article by "British" writer Kenan Malik. It's essentially a distillation of the line he pushes in his book, "From Fatwa to Jihad: the Rushdie Affair and its Legacy": the policy of multiculturalism is to blame for the problems Europe is currently having with its Muslims.

This spiel has enormous appeal for a wide range of people. For example, Ed West in the Telegraph, one of the writers within the mainstream media world who comes the closest to honestly acknowledging the problems we are having with Islam, loves it. He quotes it all the time. So why is this line so seductive? Because it allows commentators to acknowledge the problems we are having with Islam but gives them something to blame for it other than Muslims or Islam itself. In essence, it's just a more elaborate and richly nuanced articulation of the "Blame Whitey" line. Rather than Whitey's incursions into the "Muslim world" or support for Israel or whatever, that inspires Mohammedan rage, it becomes Whitey's clumsy but well-meant efforts at integration.

Mass immigration has been a boon to Western Europe. It has brought great economic benefits and helped create societies that are less insular, more vibrant and more cosmopolitan. But the policies designed to manage immigration have been largely a disaster.

...

IN neither Britain nor Germany did multiculturalism create militant Islam, but in both it helped clear a space for it among Muslims. The challenge facing Europe today, therefore, is how to reject multiculturalism as a political policy while embracing the diversity that immigration brings. No country has yet succeeded in doing so.


The argument cannot withstand scrutiny, however. In particular, it cannot withstand two simple questions:

Why have Muslims from different countries or origin, speaking different languages, and with different genetic identities, when confronted with a wide range of government policies intended to integrate them, managed to create exactly the same set of problems in distinct countries all over Europe? And why have other third-world immigrants not created those same problems?

The answer is obvious. There is only one thing that unites the hostile, unassimilated hordes from North Africa in France, the Indian subcontinent in Britain and Turkey in Germany. That thing is Islam. Islam is the problem, not multiculturalism.

Read Hugh Fitzgerald's take on Malik's article here.

Incidentally, although I disagree with its central thrust, Malik's book has some good material in it and is still worth reading (or listening to: I had an Audiobook version of it).

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