The issue of multiculturalism has provoked unease and debate in most European countries and indeed threatens to destroy the European Union itself, with some member countries refusing to acquiesce to the policy of the European Council of dispersing immigrants, largely from Islamic countries, among them. Countries like Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic have refused to accept so-called refugees from the Islamic world flooding the European Union. These three countries were condemned accordingly by the European Court of Justice for violating an EU community agreement.
By contrast, Germany’s Angela Merkel embraced over a million Syrians in 2015, dividing German politics irretrievably by propelling the populist anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany political party towards the mainstream. Other anti-immigrant political parties have burgeoned in European countries, like France, Austria and Italy and dominate national politics in some eastern European countries. The issue is unlikely to go away anytime soon, with tens of thousands of Afghans fleeing Taliban rule and a continuing veritable steady gush from across the Islamic world into the European Union and the UK, now outside it, with the English Channel the gateway for thousands.
The refugee and asylum-seeker conundrum has thrown into relief a supposedly settled earlier consensus on the feasibility of integrating outsiders that had improbably celebrated multiculturalism prematurely. But such is the intellectual confusion and politically correct anxiety over the issue of multiculturalism and the growing influence of these very Islamic migrants that it has become impossible now to engage in a coherent discussion of the subject.
A minority of public intellectuals and commentators are asserting that multiculturalism has failed because Muslims do not integrate, throwing out the veritable baby with the bathwater without even cursory reflection and a modicum of intellectual honesty. The idea that multiculturalism has failed is a complete no sequitur but not a single discussant has understood it. On the contrary, multiculturalism has been a significant success everywhere in the world one cares to examine, creating a cosmopolitan internationalism that deserves celebration.
Britain and its capital city London, for example, are home to millions from other cultures who peacefully and, usually, gladly coexist with the indigenous British and indeed with each other. Some, who arrived generations ago, are more British than the British and have achieved high office in the country. Others who are the most celebrated icons of British culture actually turn out to be of eastern European origin. Yet others who have come in the recent past, often from the very same region, have enriched British life and are making a signal contribution to its economic well-being.
Their recent departure in large numbers, following Brexit, is proving disastrous for many industries, like hospitality and seasonal agriculture. Nobody protests about shops in London’s Ealing borough for adorning Polish language hoardings or the Hungarian or Romanian builder offering quality cut-price services despite the inability to converse adequately in English. The same can be said of innumerable other communities, from the Italians, Germans and the French to people of Japanese, Nepali and Indian origin who live peacefully with their neighbours.
The critical distinctive feature of their interaction with the host community has been the unperturbed voluntary acceptance of aspects of the culture of these immigrants by the host without any aggressive or violent insistence on the imperative of doing so or indeed its cultural primacy by the migrants themselves. The admixing of these migrant cultures with host lifestyles has emphatically demonstrated that people of different cultures are not only able to coexist but do so in mutual appreciation and develop genuine camaraderie.
Only one group and one group alone has declined to integrate and reach out to the host communities of the world to join this life-affirming rainbow of diversity. They alone insist that the hosts adapt and transform themselves in accordance with the archaic verities of Islam and woe betide if they fail.
In recent years, the apparent traditional proclivities of sizeable numbers of migrant Pakistani men have revealed that the British authorities, across the country, colluded for decades in the rape of thousands young British women, some of them children, by men exclusively of this ethnic cohort. Determined action by a few brave individuals forced an eventual reckoning though with some of the rapists declaring in open court that their gang rape of these miserable victims was in accord with their religious texts and practices.
And yet the media, led by a scrupulously Islamised BBC, baulks at naming the community from which all the rapists originate. Instead, it insults more than two-thirds of the world’s cultures by repeatedly describing the depraved rapists as ‘Asian’. The principal reason for the criminal complicity in allowing the horrors to continue unhindered and then blaming all ‘Asians’ for them, despite all the relevant authorities being fully aware of the grotesques crimes, was fear of electoral consequences alone.
Another shocking example of a society in the thrall of grovelling appeasement is the failure of the British authorities to prosecute for the violation of the strict legal injunction against female circumcision/mutilation, forbidden even when undertaken abroad by British parents, with only one known conviction in recent decades. In addition, in a country that proudly professes great love for animal welfare and protection, virtually the only type of meat now sold everywhere is halal despite innumerable exposes of cruelty in British halal slaughterhouses that ignore basic practices to minimise pain to cattle.
Other examples of Muslim insistence on their own predilections include blocking streets for namaz and the failure of the police to exercise more than nominal control in Muslim-dominated areas and the effective imposition of the Shariah in them, contravening established British law.
The Anglican Church is now recommending official recognition to the Shariah and a British court has recently affirmed the acceptance of aspects of Shariah law in divorce. However, it is the capture of British universities by Islamists that is a testament to a lasting cultural transformation of British society. In recent years, students of all stripes, including Indians from India itself, have risen to the banner of Islam to denounce the alleged rise of fascism in their own country, allegedly exemplified by the CAA and amendments to Articles 370 and 35A. In another symbolic episode, Hindu students, denounced as Kafirs, were denied access to a common prayer room at a top of London University, along with their Jewish counterparts; the latter protested, the former acquiesced.
Much of Europe and some dimensions of US society as well are apparently succumbing to the truculent determination of Islamists to bend them to their will. In Europe, the Islamisation of Sweden is the most startling instance of self-willed societal demise. Sweden’s social democrats seem willing to surrender social democracy itself to Islam in order to, paradoxically, remain true to their own historic social democratic values of infinite tolerance.
Sweden plagued with rape by migrants has addressed the catastrophe by refusing to classify perpetrators by religious and migrant categories. Even the impending bankruptcy of some Swedish towns, owing to the incessant demands placed on them by Muslim immigrant communities who regard welfare payments to them as an absolute right, has not prompted a serious re-evaluation of Swedish refugee policy.
A comparable burden is being shouldered by the British taxpayer and the prisons are heaving with disproportionate numbers of Muslim convicts, with 4.3 percent of the Muslim population producing 15 per cent of the imprisoned. A not dissimilar denouement has overtaken the Netherlands, and the Czech Prime Minister has asserted that Sweden and the Netherlands will become Europe’s first Muslim-majority countries.
Like whole swathes of India, from West Bengal and Kerala to UP and Bihar, some British cities like Birmingham are also destined to have Muslim majorities in the not-too-distant future. British politicians are quietly adapting to the impending reality and the indigenous population is on the move, with licentious young white women, refusing to adhere to a Muslim dress code, unwelcome among immigrant communities and the families of the indigenous British departing because they fear for their safety.
Liberal pluralist societies have simply succumbed to Islamic truculence and its capacity for violence because they are unable, owing to both their established legal and socio-cultural practices, to respond with generalised blanket sanctions against entire communities, which are determined to impose their demands on them through massacres like Charlie Hebdo and the Manchester Arena slaughter. These societies are thus procedurally organised and inclined to follow the path of least resistance, especially when dealing with well-organised voters who can mobilise in unison, which mosques and increasingly the social media are able to elicit from Muslim constituencies.
Voting empowers in liberal societies and Muslim communities everywhere, where they do not constitute the majority, have always been extraordinarily disciplined in their voting behaviour. This phenomenon has been emphatically illustrated by diverse Muslim communities, across the length and breadth of India, after such constituencies became empowered to cast their votes in the twentieth century, with more than 90 percent in Tamil Nadu Muslims voting for Partition in 1946.
Many of the ceremonial holders of British mayoral office are Muslims and there are four elected ones who wield actual political power, including the most prominent, Sadiq Khan of London. Such is his clout to affect the personal fortunes of individuals that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s key UK and global adviser is one of his strongest supporters, campaigning against Sadiq Khan’s openly pro-Hindu and pro-Indian Jewish rival.
Much more crucially, Muslim voters are in a position to determine outcomes in anything up to eighty British parliamentary constituencies. It effectively, means that the opposition Labour Party can never form the government in the UK if Muslims and voters of Pakistani origin, who mainly vote for the Labour Party, turn against it. Other political parties, including the so-called Greens and the Liberal Democrats, are also extremely sensitive to the wishes of Pakistani-origin constituents and the ruling Conservative Party is ineluctably also becoming beholding to them. Hence, the reflex hostility of the British political class towards India and Hinduism that has become the routine norm of domestic British politics and foreign policy sentiment. Although there is a backlash in parts of Europe against Islamism, in the end, multiculturalism is besieged by the monoculture of Islam, not the culturally diverse communities that live happily with each other everywhere.
As one Islamic scholar once pointed out, for Islam to dominate the geographical space believers occupy is an absolute necessity, a priority over all else.
The writer taught international political economy at the London School of Economics and Political Science for more than two decades. Views expressed are personal.