July 17, 2005


Time to rethink our multicultural society (FRASER NELSON, 7/17/05, The Scotsman)

TONY BLAIR faces two enemies in his new war against British terrorism: the seed of jihad, and the fertile ground on which it is sown. The last mission of his premiership will be finding policies to neutralise both.

The response to the July 7 attacks was always going to be determined by the life story of the culprits. If they were foreigners, it would have been easy to restrict visas and tighten security. But the truth is grotesquely more complex.

Britain is incubating its own suicide bombers and has become the European headquarters for people seeking to indoctrinate them. It is not enough for Blair to "uproot this evil ideology"; he must also treat the soil from which it springs.

The solutions proposed so far say much about Britain's woeful progress in tackling jihadism: Gordon Brown seeks to freeze the assets of terrorist groups - as if the mission is to suspend their ISAs, not lock them away; it will, we learn, become an offence to provide or receive terrorism training. Such activities have, it seems, been allowed until now by British authorities. It is as if the attacks of 11 September 2001 never took place.

This is what French and American security forces despairingly call the "Londonistan" problem: that Britain's liberal tradition provides shelter for terrorists who are kept safe from extradition requests. [...]

It is a sign of the paucity of debate in Britain that multiculturalism is used interchangeably with 'immigration'. It is, instead, a specific form of immigration where the foreigners are not encouraged to integrate.

The alternative is the "melting pot" method of integrationism used by the United States, whose newcomers must learn English, salute the flag and sign up to a set of values. They must buy into a basic idea that they have to belong.

This would be seen as cultural imperialism in Britain, where a mosaic-style of immigration has been preferred. The natural consequence has been segregated ghettos - and pockets of radicalism, left alone to seethe. Americans look on aghast at the Britain's immigration mismanagement. "You seem to shun these folks off to the side, and let them behave as if they never left Islamabad," says Deroy Murdock, fellow at the Atlas Foundation.

Even in Islamabad, the Pakistan Times had this to say last week: "The sad fact is that Muslims in the UK have turned their face from the obligation to integrate with British society at large." The penny is dropping, worldwide.

Trevor Phillips, head of the Commission for Racial Equality, warned last year that it was time to end multiculturalism, as the segregation it breeds had simply entrenched inequality. It is time to "assert a core of Britishness". But how?

Not "how," but what? What is left to assimilate to in post-Christian Europe?

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 17, 2005 5:20 PM

Worth pointing out that many urbanized "African-Americans" remain dangerously alienated from the host society. Less so than at the time of the Newark riots, probably, but still to a perilous degree. (Not at all a "second generation" thing, as with voluntary immigrants.)

The only similar pattern of multi-generational alienation is American Indians on the rez. And even there, the values are more comparable to rural, working class America than anything else.

Posted by: ghostcat at July 17, 2005 6:01 PM

Blacks benefitted more from Reagan and stand to benefit more from Bush than anyone else.

Inner city punks (of all colors) want what only a hedonistic, materialistic, capitalist society can bring: chopped Caddys with big wheels and gigantic stereos blasting out "music" that numbs the brain worse than weed.

Posted by: Randall Voth at July 17, 2005 6:35 PM

Places like San Fran also remain alienated from the host society.

I'm not sure that it's a big problem, as long as they just want to remain left alone, pay their taxes, and don't blow stuff up.

The inner city consumes taxes, instead of paying, but at least they keep their violence largely fraternal.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at July 17, 2005 7:20 PM