Kenan Malik resumes his assault on multiculturalism

“Multiculturalism did not create militant Islam, but it helped create a space for it within British Muslim communities that had not existed before. It fostered a more tribal nation, undermined progressive trends within the Muslim communities and strengthened the hand of conservative religious leaders – all in the name of antiracism. It is true that since 9/11 and particularly since 7/7 there has been growing questioning of the consequences of multiculturalism. From former Home Secretary David Blunkett to CRE chief Trevor Phillips many have woken up to the fragmenting character of pluralism and have talked of the need to reassert common values. Yet the fundamental tenets of the politics of difference remain largely unquestioned. The idea that society consists of a variety of distinct cultures, that all these cultures should be respected and preserved and that society should be organised to meet the distinct needs of different cultures – these continued to be regarded as the hallmarks of a progressive, antiracist outlook. The lesson of the past two decades, however, is this: a left that espouses multiculturalism makes itself redundant.”

Kenan Malik in Prospect, October 2005