Unite Against Fascism (UAF) hosted an event on the 9th March in response to David Cameron’s comments made in Munich that state multiculturalism has failed leading to extremism. Over 260 people attended in support of multicultural Britain.
The question I’d like to pose to David Cameron is exactly what part of multiculturalism has failed? If he is referring to the lack unity within different groups, then yes, there are clear divisions. This is due to misleading misconceptions portrayed within the mainstream media over and over again, inevitably leading to prejudice and discrimination.
According to the Daily Telegraph, the British Prime minister said: “The biggest threat we face comes from terrorist attacks, some of which are sadly carried out by our own citizens”. If he is referring to the London 7/7 bombings, which I’m sure he is, then it should be noted that indeed all four of the bombers were British citizens. But is the failure of integration the cause of terrorist attacks?
George Galloway, Respect Party provides an answer that David Cameron failed to mention in his speech: “If you go around the world invading and occupying Muslim countries, if you go to war with Muslims abroad, you will end up making war against Muslims back home”. Cameron’s speech failed to mention the impact that British Foreign policy had on the failure of multiculturalism and the rise of extremism.
Ismail Patel, British Muslim Initiative, put forward another explanation. He said that multiculturalism has failed because of this government’s and the previous government’s social policies .In particular, the previous government’s policy of funding millions of pounds to different social groups. The aim Patel says: “was not to enforce multiculturalism to bring about a unity amongst the people, it was there to divide the people of this country”.
It’s undeniable that there are groups within society that have become isolated. Especially distinctive Muslim groups have formed. But why has this happened? Is it because these groups have chosen to isolate themselves? Is it because they feel that they are not part of British society? Have they been pushed out? Did previous government’s social policy encourage divide? Or were they simply never included in the first place?
The most aggravating thing about Cameron’s speech for me was its disastrous timing. The same day the far-right English Defence League (EDL) took to the streets for their most successful was the day Cameron chose to deliver this speech. Unlike some who attended the UAF event, I am unconvinced that Cameron’s intentions were to legitimize the EDL’s actions.
However Cameron will have been aware of the EDL’s plans, infact the EDL’s leader Stephen Lennon appeared on Newsnight the night before stating the EDL’s plans for Luton. The speech by Cameron clearly boosted the EDL. Cameron needs to be more responsible. Let’s not forget that the speech was given at the Munich Security Conference amongst European countries who themselves have claimed that multiculturalism has failed. This is not the first time Cameron has made irresponsible provocative comments with the potential of fuelling hatred: July 2010 he accused Pakistan of “exporting terror” whilst on a trip to India.
Back to multiculturalism, can we ever truly define what multiculturalism is? Is there a set criterion we follow that allows us to simply say that yes it works or no that it fails? How could David Cameron make such a bold statement?
We are all unique. Our attributes collectively are our own. We chose who we are, which clothes we wear, what music we listen, which faith we follow and the foods we eat. I personally believe you cannot place blame with those who chose to embrace their identity. You cannot steal it away from the people of this nation. Multicultural Britain is what today’s Britain looks like. I hope David Cameron finds a way to integrate communities. Forcing them to integrate to stop them being pervcieved as an ‘extremist’ or a threat is not the way forward..