Friday, October 21, 2011

Is there a future for multiculturalism?

A forum on religion and THEOS public debate took place today at the London School of Economics, where Dr. Jonathan Chaplin, Alan Craig, Claire Fox and Professor Tariq Modood, chaired by Jane Little, answered various issues concerning the theme of the public debate: "Is there a future for multiculturalism?". 

The past few years a number of politicians around the world, for example German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and various commentators from all backgrounds condemn the idea and the reality of multiculturalism. This event asked the crucial question, whether we are right to bury state multiculturalism, having previously praised it so energetically. 
All speakers pointed out important factors of modern British society concerning multiculturalism, giving examples mostly from the Muslim paradigm. However many truths were stated, which can shock a person not living in the U.K. Dr. Jonathan Chaplin claimed that "Christianity is a minority religion in Britain". Nevertheless the Church of England is still the state Church, despite the ongoing secularisation process taking effect and prevailing during the past 50 years.

A key issue which was highlighted was the values problem, do we have common values in the U.K. today? Should the government categorise the British values in the modern world? The answer to the last point was of course a negative one. It seems that British values have collapsed, whilst at the same time multiculturalism has filled in the gap. What is obvious is that freedom of speech is not a case today, since political correctness is more important. Tolerance is the result of multiculturalism, promoting neutrality to our daily life, as Alan Craig explained: "Until we know who we are we can't say yes or no", meaning towards the foreign, strange and alien cultures and traditions which try to impose to the modern British society disregarding the values (if they exist) found in British society today.
The debate coincides with the launch of Multiculturalism: a Christian Retrieval, by THEOS, the public theology think tank. In this book "Tariq Modoo defines multiculturalism as ' the political accommodation of minorities formed by immigration to western countries'". This book is a Christian response to the issue of increasing religious, cultural and in many respects political diversity, however  it is accessible and persuasive to those outside the Christian faith. 

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting debate. Certainly we are going to hear more on this in the near and far future!