A real multiculturalist

Multiculturalism has become a nefarious term to the far right and something of a state of utopia to be achieved to the far left, yet I wonder if either extremes really understand what real multiculturalism is.  For the author, this is not some academic exercise on the meaning of a term, or state of being, when it comes to a society.  We hear so much about  Multicultural Britain or Multicultural America, or Multicultural Australia yet trying to pin down the meaning of the term is like trying to capture smoke in the wind with a child’s fishing net that I used as a boy to catch tadpoles and small fish.

As a boy growing up in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s in Ulster when our Troubles were at their worst multiculturalism never entered our vocabulary or our daily lives.

Are you sure you seen the smoke?

In Ulster the only other culture we had to face, or fear, was the `other side’ – Protestant or Catholic.  A culture that a working class Protestant boy from East Belfast knew little about but feared a lot.

Actually seeing someone who was a different colour from you was so rare and excotic you stopped to stare in wonder that such a thing could actually exist.  I felt like those rural Ugandan children near Mbale that were fascinated by me in 1998 when I did some volunteering with some local churches.  They had to touch my skin to see if it felt differently than the skin of their parents.   For many I was the first real live white person they had seen and touched.  Life is so much simpler to children.

It was not until the age of 35 when I went to university in Belfast (just before my trip to Uganda during the summer break) that I was confronted with actual people who were excotic and very different to me.  I ended up sharing with two Chinese friends from Malaysia (husband and wife) and then after my graduation marrying an Asian from South East Asia in 2000.  It was then that I was thrown into the deep end of what I term real multiculturalism (not the political construct that academics and government experts talk about).

After 16 years of marriage and two mixed race children and 11 years of living and working in South East Asia, Africa and the Middle East I have come to the conclusion that this multicultural Britain that is talked about is nothing more than a political construct and bears no real relationship to the lives families like my own which live with differing cultural norms on a daily basis.  It is this experience which has led my wife and I to reject the notion that all cultures are of equal value and should be respected and accommodated.  Elements of any culture can be positive and worth encouraging your kids to emulate but there are also parts of any culture that are harmful and must be cast aside.  I wish I could sear into the minds of every human being on the planet these words:

Culture is no Excuse for Abuse

Even before I read this for the first time it was seared into my soul after experiencing 30 years of a low level civil war in my beloved Ulster, in watching abuse and discrimination in Indonesia for those not of the dominant religious cast, for those in Thailand and Burma who were not Buddhists. For those in Africa who were forced to submit to damaging cultural and religious practices and for those in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Somalia and Sudan who suffered under the heel of sharia.

So for me this report speaks to my heart at so many levels and I will be bringing another report to your attention shortly:

Why Feminism is AWOL on Islam

Here is the introduction of the report:

Siding With he Oppressor – The Pro-Islamist Left

Introduction

Siding with the Oppressor: The Pro-Islamist Left has been written as a companion volume to Enemies not Allies: The Far-Right1 to highlight some of the individuals and groups on the Left that defend Islamism.

Whilst this report focuses on the most conspicuous examples of the proIslamist Left in Britain – namely Stop the War Coalition, Respect Party, Unite Against Fascism and individuals such as Ken Livingstone and George Galloway – inferences and implications will assist the reader when scrutinising other organisations of a similar nature.

This damning report exposes their agenda and methods, including the use of accusations of racism and Islamophobia and their conflation of Muslim with Islamist in order to defend Islamism (which they see as anti-imperialist force) and Islam (which they view as an oppressed religion) rather than out of any real concern for prejudice against Muslims or the rights of ‘Muslims’ who are incidentally the first victims of Islamism. Challenging this perspective is especially important given its wide acceptance as ‘progressive’ in mainstream society.

Like the far-Right which ‘despises’ multiculturalism yet benefits from its idea of difference to scapegoat the ‘other’ and promote its own form of white identity politics, the pro-Islamist Left also uses multiculturalism to side with the oppressor by viewing the ‘Muslim community’ and ‘Muslim world’ as homogeneous entities thereby ignoring and silencing dissenters. This politics of betrayal sides with the Islamic far-Right and the oppressor.

Any principled point of view must oppose all forms of fascism, including Islamic fascism and side with the countless people, many of whom are Muslim, who are fighting and challenging Islamism here in Europe as well as the Middle East, North Africa and across the world.

For me this is where this political construct of multiculturalism fails human beings. It fails me as a white Christian Ulsterman, it fails my wife as a brown skinned Asian and it fails my

children who have grown up with the best of two cultures but with the  courage to cast aside any harmful cultural practices as wrong in principle every time.  If something is

wrong it is wrong in every context.  Culture can never be an excuse for abuse and those that turn a blind eye to discrimination and abuse of any kind in the name of `multiculturalism’ need to do some soul searching.

Originally posted 2016-06-03 12:46:47. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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Rambler
Lived and worked in Muslim-majority countries for over 12 years while working in the international development sector as a senior director/manager. This included South East Asia, East, and West Africa (including the Horn of Africa), the Middle East and Afghanistan. Main interests in life is the study of Political Islam and how this has interacted with non-Islamic civilisations, especially Judeo-Christian civilisations, in history and currently.

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