“Large sections of liberal and left opinion have gone soft on their commitment to universal human rights. They rightly condemn the excesses of UK and US government policy, but rarely speak out against oppressors who are non-white or adherents of minority faiths. There are no mass protests against female genital mutilation, forced marriages, the stoning of women and gender apartheid in the Middle East. A perverse interpretation of multiculturalism has resulted in race and religion ruling the roost in a tainted hierarchy of oppression. In the name of ‘unity’ against Islamophobia and racism, much of the left tolerates misogyny and homophobia in minority communities….
“Some liberals and left-wingers mute their condemnation of intolerance when it emanates from non-white people; whereas they would strenuously denounce similar prejudice if it was being vented by whites against blacks or by Christians against Muslims…. Fundamentalist Muslim clerics are permitted to endorse the so-called ‘honour’ killing of unchaste women; whereas any woman who dared advocate violent retribution against Islamist misogynists would soon find herself in court…. Respect for diversity has sometimes degenerated into the toleration of abuses; as when the anti-fascist left embraced the Muslim leader Iqbal Sacranie after he denounced gays as immoral, harmful and diseased….
“The anti-racist struggle has been weakened by the excesses of the ‘diversity agenda’…. part of the Asian community has split off to identify primarily as Muslim, distancing themselves from other Asians – Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and atheists. This fragmentation has been endorsed by some on the left, who have colluded with communalism and the division of the Asian community on religious lines…. Multiculturalism can thus foster a ‘Balkanisation’ of the humanitarian agenda, fracturing communities according to their different cultural identities, values and traditions.”
Peter Tatchell in the Independent, 22 March 2007
Of course, some of us might argue that the anti-racist struggle has been rather more seriously damaged by white ex-leftists like Tatchell who spend a disproportionate amount of their time campaigning against people with black or brown skin.