Daily Mail (UK), July 7, 2006
Multiculturalism has failed in Britain because people refuse to move out of the ‘comfort zone’ of their own community, academics warned.
The study said the controversial Left-wing doctrine had ignored the dangers of ‘religious fundamentalism’ and should be scrapped.
Communities should instead be actively encouraged to mix.
The report, written by a team from University of Leicester, said this should be backed by a new concept of ‘Britishness’.
It would be based upon respect for the Monarchy, loyalty to the elected Government, and respect and adherence to the law.
The authors said multiculturalism was ‘dead’. It had failed, they said, because people were not willing to leave their own ‘comfort zones’.
It left communities living separately from one another in virtual isolation, ‘co-existing with parallel lives’.
Asaf Hussain, co-author of the work, said: “We believe multiculturalism has failed. It was a concept and a social re-engineering policy with the best of intentions, but with little debate at the grass roots.
“It failed to recognise or ignored the dangers of religious fundamentalism with deadly consequences. It was yesterday’s message conveyed by yesterday’s men and women.
“Multicultural policies saved no lives in London. The ones who died and were injured through the terrorist actions of British-born terrorists in July 2005 came from all countries, cultures and religions. Britain’s population has to become integrated.”
The doctrine of multicultarism, which dates back almost 50 years, dictates that different communities should not be forced to integrate. Instead, they are allowed to maintain their own culture and identities.
But in recent years it has come under attack for encouraging ‘separateness’, or ghettoes in which communities such as Muslims live in almost complete isolation.
Critics have said this was true of Dewsbury, in Leeds — where July 7 bombers Mohammad Sidique Khan and Shehzad Tanweer originate from.
The report, Engagement With Cultures: From Diversity To Interculturism, calls for communities to be encouraged to mix.
It tested the idea with an exhibition organised by Pakistani women was held in a predominantly Indian neighbourhood, an Indian musical was staged in a 100 per cent white working men’s club, and a children’s show was put on by predominantly white schoolchildren at a multi-ethnic school in another part of the city.
The events were a hit, the researchers said, and showed people just needed encouragement to build bridges between communities.
Recommendations made by the report included placing citizenship on the national curriculum and removing the link between country and religion, such as British Muslim.
This should be replaced with British Indian or British Pakistani, the report found.
Race relations expert Professor John Benyon, of the University of Leicester, said: “There are important lessons from this publication that are applicable across the country.
“Rather than adopting knee-jerk reactions in terms of legislation, I feel the Government should be taking a more considered approach, such as establishing a standing commission on the inter-cultural society, which could take evidence on the best way of removing underlying causes of conflict.”
Last year, Trevor Phillips, chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality, warned that many cities are ‘ sleepwalking to segregation’.
The official reports into the Bradford and Oldham riots of 2001 said communities were leading ‘parallel lives’.