Pickled Exclusive: an extract from Fatwa to Jihad


by guest
21st April, 2009 at 11:02 am    

This is an exclusive extract from Kenan Malik’s new book ‘From Fatwa to Jihad: The Rushdie Affair and its Legacy’:

On 9 September 1985 police arrested a young black man near the Acapulco Café in the Handsworth area of Birmingham. A few hours later they launched a drugs raid on the nearby Villa Cross pub. Hundreds of people – blacks, whites and Asians – took to the streets in protest, attacked police and property, looting, smashing and setting off firebombs. Two people were killed and dozens injured. It was almost the last flicker of the eighties inner-city conflagrations.

Almost exactly twenty years later, on 22 October 2005, another riot erupted in Lozells, next door to Handsworth. This time the fighting was not between youths and police but between blacks and Asians. An unsubstantiated – and untrue – rumour that a Jamaican girl had been raped by a group of Asian men, led to a violent clash between the two communities during which a young African Caribbean man was murdered by an Asian gang.

Why did two communities that had fought side by side in 1985 fight against each other twenty years later? The answer lies largely in the policies introduced by Birmingham City Council after the original riots of 1985. The council borrowed the GLC blueprint to create a new political framework through which to reach out to minority communities. It created nine so called ‘Umbrella Groups’, organizations based on ethnicity and faith, which were supposed to represent the needs of their particular communities and help the council develop policy and allocate resources. They included the African and Caribbean People’s Movement, the Bangladeshi Islamic Projects Consultative Committee, the Birmingham Chinese Society, the Council of Black-led Churches, the Hindu Council, the Irish Forum, the Vietnamese Association, the Pakistani Forum and the Sikh Council of Gurdwaras.

The council hoped that by setting up these groups it could draw minority communities into the democratic process and so keep anger off the streets. The trouble was, there was precious little democracy in the process. The groups themselves had no democratic mandate – indeed, no mandate at all. After all, why should the Council of Black-led Churches presume to speak for the needs and aspirations of African-Caribbeans in Birmingham? Why should all Bangladeshis be represented by an Islamic organization, or all Sikhs by the gurdwaras? Indeed, what is the Bangladeshi community, or the Sikh community, and what are their needs and aspirations?

Imagine if the council had set up a ‘White Forum’ to represent the needs of the white community in Birmingham. Could such a group have represented the interests of all white people in Birmingham? Clearly not. Some whites vote Conservative, some Liberal, some for the Labour Party, and a few for the communists or the neo-fascists. And some don’t vote at all. Some whites are religious, others militantly secular. And most whites would not see their interests as specifically ‘white’. A white Christian probably has more in common with a black Christian than with a white atheist. A white communist would think more like a Bangladeshi communist than like a white Conservative. And so on.

Why should we imagine that Bangladeshis or Sikhs or African-Caribbeans are any different? They are not. It is simply that the council’s policies, like all multicultural policies, seemed to assume that minority communities had somehow arrived in Birmingham from a different social universe. Cosmologists believe that the physical universe in its infancy was homogeneous and uniform. Multiculturalists seem to think the same about the social universe of minority groups. All are viewed as uniform, single-minded, conflict-free and defined by ethnicity, faith and culture. As the council’s own report put it, ‘The perceived notion of homogeneity of minority ethnic communities has informed a great deal of race equality work to date. The effect of this, amongst others, has been to place an over-reliance on individuals who are seen to represent the needs or views of the whole community and resulted in simplistic approaches toward tackling community needs.’

Birmingham’s policies, in other words, did not respond to the needs of communities, but to a large degree created those communities by imposing identities on people and by ignoring internal conflicts which arose out of class, gender and intra-religious differences. They empowered not individuals within minority communities, but so-called ‘community leaders’, who owed their position and influence largely to the relationship they possessed with the state.

The writer and theatre director Pervaiz Khan grew up in the Sparkbrook area, not far from Handsworth and Lozells. In the 1960s and 1970s, he says, the first generation of immigrants who settled there were involved largely in Pakistani politics. Most were supporters of the Pakistan People’s Party, presided over by the Bhuttos – first Zulfikar, and subsequently his daughter Benazir. Political support was organized largely on biradari lines, and PPP meetings in Birmingham often degenerated into physical fights between different clans. By the 1980s interest in Pakistani politics had waned. In 1977 General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq overthrew the then prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in an army coup and later executed him. By the 1980s Zia had fully consolidated his power in Pakistan. PPP supporters in Birmingham turned their attention from Pakistani to local politics.

The Labour Party took advantage of this shift in focus by recruiting from the Asian communities. It did so, however, largely on clan lines. ‘What the Labour Party was really interested in’, says Khan, ‘was recruiting clan elders who could deliver votes en masse. At election time, the elders would simply tell everyone in the clan to vote for their candidate.’ He tells the story of his uncle, who came to Britain in the 1950s and who became, a decade later, the first non-white shop steward in the Transport and General Workers’ Union in Birmingham. He developed strong relationships with the local Labour Party hierarchy and had, by the 1980s, become an essential cog in the Labour Party machine.

‘He was never an elected councillor,’ says Khan, ‘but he was treated as if he was. He had his own office in the council building, a pass and a parking space. He effectively acted as a “whip”, making sure that other Asian councillors voted the “right way”. In return, he got council grants for the Asian community, for community centres and other projects.’ Second-generation Asians, who had little interest in Pakistani politics and despised the biradari system, also accommodated themselves to what Khan calls ‘machine politics’, recognizing it as a useful way of gaining resources for their communities.

Such machine politics inevitably created conflicts between minority communities. As one academic study of Birmingham observes, the ‘model of engagement through Umbrella Groups tended to result in competition between BME communities for resources. Rather than prioritizing needs and cross-community working, the different Umbrella Groups generally attempted to maximize their own interests.’

Once political power and financial resources became allocated by ethnicity, then people began to identify themselves in terms of their ethnicity, and only their ethnicity. ‘People are forced into a very one-dimensional view of themselves by the way that equality policies work,’ says Joy Warmington of the Birmingham Race Action Partnership, a council-funded but independent equalities organization. ‘People mobilize on the basis of how they feel they will get the resources to tackle the issues important to them. And in Birmingham it helps to say you’re campaigning for the needs of your ethnic or faith community, because policies have tended to emphasize ethnicity as a key to entitlement. If somebody in Handsworth or Lozells wants a community centre or a health centre it is often easier to get funding if they say “We want an Asian community centre” or “We want an African-Caribbean health centre.” They are forced to see themselves in terms of their ethnicity, their race, their culture and so on rather than in broader terms that might bring people together.’

Birmingham council’s policy created rifts between communities where none had previously existed and exacerbated divisions that had previously been managed. The greatest estrangement was between the Asian and African-Caribbean communities. African-Caribbeans resented the economic success of many Asians and, in particular, felt aggrieved that many shops selling what were regarded as ‘black’ goods, such as African-Caribbean beauty products or West Indian food, were Asian-owned. Asians had achieved their success, many believed, by manipulating the council funding process and by strangling African-Caribbean political influence.

To a degree they were right. The biradari system had allowed Asians to influence the political machine far more successfully than the more individuated African-Caribbean communities. ‘We have a South African situation here,’ claimed Maxi Hayles, chair of the council funded Birmingham Racial Attack Monitoring Unit and one of the city’s most respected African-Caribbean leaders. ‘White on top, coloured Asian in the middle and African at the bottom. If you want a taxi – Asian. If you want petrol – Asian. Off-licence – Asian. Access to banks – Asian. Even Afro-Caribbean food – Asian. Our community feels trapped.’

A few months after the riots I went to Birmingham to make a TV documentary about community tensions. Most African-Caribbean leaders refused to talk to me, not because they found the cameras too intrusive but because I was Asian and therefore ‘on the other side’. One of the few who was willing to talk was Anthony Gordon, chair of the Partnership Against Crime. Before I could interview him, however, he wanted me to account for what he saw as the crimes of the Asian community. I can only speak for myself, I told him, I cannot speak for all Asians. He snorted. ‘But Asians have always had it in for the black man. It was like that in South Africa. It was like that in Kenya and Uganda. And it’s like that here. It’s in your blood.’

Birmingham City Council began with the intention of bringing minority communities into the democratic process. It ended up with communal politics so deeply entrenched that it eventually led to communal rioting. Hostility is not in the blood of Asians or African-Caribbeans. It is in the DNA of multicultural policies.

****

Kenan Malik’s From Fatwa to Jihad was published at the beginning of April. Sid/Faisal’s review is here.


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  1. damon — on 21st April, 2009 at 1:08 pm  

    I would like to hear the case against Kenan Malik here.
    He’s laid out his case pretty straightforwardly … and it has (in my experience) been rejected out of hand, by much of the regular ‘left’.
    The likes of the Socialist Workers, (or Mark Thomas, Mark Steel and Billy Bragg), I’m sure would disagree with his analysis.
    I did links to Kenan Malik articles on another leftist website – but the main people on that site would have none of it. Talking about ideas like this were soon labeled as tedious and trollish.
    For me, that’s the most interesting thing about what I’ve read so far from Malik. How much all those leftists I lost respect for, just refused to contemplate ideas like he was talking about.

  2. A Councillor Writes — on 21st April, 2009 at 1:11 pm  

    Picklers may be interested to know that there is to be a by-election for the Lozells and Handsworth East ward on the day of the Euro elections. Some of these issues will undoubtedly rear their ugly heads, particularly where the council has dropped funding from projects specifically based on ethnicity (in line with government directives) to broad-based project groupings (often based on faith can work against the Afro-Caribbean and White Communities).

    As for one of the comments, if only the community elders only told people who to vote for…

  3. Chris Williams — on 21st April, 2009 at 2:17 pm  

    I don’t agree with Damon at all here. There’s a large chunk of the left which has opposed multiculturalism from the word go. Check out the work of A. Sivanandan and others in the journal _Race and Class_ from the 1970s onwards. I will agree that some groups of opportunist Trots (come in the SWP…) have worked with single-community groups when they thought they would get short-term benefit, but even then, their rhetoric has remained integrationist, all ‘black and white, unite’.

    Chris Williams

  4. David T — on 21st April, 2009 at 2:39 pm  

    There’s a difference between multiculturalism – which is about plural ‘cosmopolitan’ identities, and the limits of state authority – and plural monoculturalism: the search for ‘authentic’ Muslims, Jews, Sikhs, Black people, and the funding of projects based on these categories.

    The latter is just an entrenchment of racism.

  5. Chris Williams — on 21st April, 2009 at 3:07 pm  

    I think that ‘multiculturalism’ is one of those words which, like community, gets defined in a number of different, exclusive ways. I’m inclined to disagree with David T about the distinction between good cosmopolitan multiculturalism and ‘plural monoculturalism’. In practice, a lot of what gets described as ‘multiculturalism’ is the latter, not the former. ‘Cosmopolitanism’ is a good word – let’s use that.

  6. faisal — on 21st April, 2009 at 4:26 pm  

    A Sivanandam wrote this in 2005:

    There is a failure to distinguish between the multicultural society as a fact of Britain’s national make-up, arrived at through the anti-racist struggles of the 1960s and 1970s, and multiculturalism as a cure-all for racial injustice, promoted by successive governments. The first envisages a culturally diverse society. The second – not really multiculturalism, but what I term ‘culturalism’ – engenders a culturally divisive society.

    ‘Culturalism’ or ‘ethnicism’ was Margaret Thatcher and Lord Scarman’s answer to the racism that ignited Britain in 1981. In his investigations into the Brixton riots, Scarman located the cause of the riots in ‘racial disadvantage’, the cure being to pour money into ethnic projects and strengthening ethnic cultures.

    He was right.

  7. Shafiq — on 21st April, 2009 at 4:42 pm  

    Both French-style monoculturalism and British style multiculturalism have problems but for different reasons. The question we have to ask is whether we want a melting-pot idea where the cultures of Anglo-Saxons and of various immigrants fuse together to form a new British culture or a Britain where different cultures live side by side with a predominant Anglo-Saxon culture, like in the US.

  8. Don — on 21st April, 2009 at 7:32 pm  

    Shafiq,

    Isn’t the former a long-term out-come and the latter a stage on the way? I mean, it isn’t either/or.

    I’m not sure why Damon thinks Thomas and Bragg would oppose Kennan Malik’s thesis, other than the trauma he underwent on a Bragg-ist website. (Damon, seriously, let it go and move on.)

  9. marvin — on 21st April, 2009 at 9:02 pm  

    This will be the next book on my reading list. Sounds superb, from the extract.

  10. Imran Khan — on 21st April, 2009 at 9:41 pm  

    DaveT – “There’s a difference between multiculturalism – which is about plural ‘cosmopolitan’ identities, and the limits of state authority – and plural monoculturalism: the search for ‘authentic’ Muslims, Jews, Sikhs, Black people, and the funding of projects based on these categories.

    The latter is just an entrenchment of racism.”

    I see so the funding for The Jewish Museum as a erm Jewish Museum is racist by your logic – non?

    BTW I fully support the idea of a Jewish Museum and have no issue with the state funding parts of it.

    My comment is more to highlight the selective nature of Senior Davey T’s comment.

    So what is your opinion on the funding of a Jewish Museum say ahead of other religious museums based on your logic above?

    I bet you won’t answer again!

    Funding for ethnic projects is worthwhile because it helps people understand each other. This is precisely why I like the idea of a Jewish Museum, Black History month etc.

    Dave T what you fail to see in your little world is that this is what brings us closer together and understand each other. Without projects like this which you describe rather unfairly well then we wouldn’t be any further along to knowing each other.

    Unlike you I quite like the idea that in London one can visit a Jewish Museum, a London Mosque, a Sikh Gurdwara, a Hindu Temple etc. and know more about your neighbours. So why shouldn’t that be funded?

    Its better than funding stupid right wing war tanks who tell us to that they are the only people to listen to and everyone else is a threat. Hell yes a real good use of money.

    I suggest you get yourself down to the Jewish Museum and see the excellent work they are doing and remind yourself of a few good projects we all fund which help you and then ask yourself why you are unwilling to support the same for the rest of us.

    It’s such a shame that Chairwoman and Katy were supporting your nonsense and ladies in his comments above you can see why people don’t like his views.

  11. Imran Khan — on 21st April, 2009 at 9:56 pm  

    Oh and just in time Dave T – The Jewish Museum is hosting an event tomorrow in fact:

    http://www.jewishmuseum.org.uk/events_and_exhibitions/events.asp?article=363
    “WHY JEWS AND RACE DON’T MIX: RACIAL SCIENCE AND BRITISH SOCIETY 1930-62
    Event date: 22/ 4/ 2009
    Jews have every reason to be wary of the concept of race. Since the idea became popular in the 19th century, they have most often been presented as dangerous European neighbours, with horrific consequences of isolation, exile, and ultimately genocide. In this book launch for Racial Science and British Society, Dr Gavin Schaffer, (University of Portsmouth) returns to the Jewish Museum to explore the history of post war racial scholarship, focusing on the history of Britain’s Eugenics Society as well as the Jewish contribution and response to racial thinking in the second half of the twentieth century.

    The Jewish Museum in association with Jewish Book Week.

    Lauderdale House, Highgate Hill, Waterlow Park, N6 5HG

    7:30pm Tickets: £8 Advanced booking recommended

    Call 020 8371 7373 or email admin@jewishmuseum.org.uk

    Oh and DaveT I would remind you that the museum is getting public money which is being wisely used to remind people of the issues facing Jews and others.

    By your logic this shouldn’t be funded and hence we wouldn’t get to know this.

    If you are so ardent in your views then get yourself down there and demand they stop the event and tell them your logic.

    Oh and please do let us know the outcome. I am sure readers would love to hear.

    I look forward to your update on Thursday.

  12. Imran Khan — on 21st April, 2009 at 10:01 pm  

    BTW despite DaveT’s logic I would remind you that many of the groups DaveT listed are working together to fight the BNP which is a common threat to them.

  13. Imran Khan — on 21st April, 2009 at 10:22 pm  

    One other thing that does intrigue me is why given the antisemitism you don’t support funding of Jewish Projects which directly affects you?

    I mean whats the logic here?

    The Jewish Community like the Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Hindus etc. all pay tax so why shouldn’t they get money for good projects especailly those that can help reduce prejudice.

  14. douglas clark — on 21st April, 2009 at 11:27 pm  

    Imran,

    I know – I have read the three posts above this one – that you don’t like David T.

    But even he can occasionaly come up with something interesting. If one part of David T thinks:

    There’s a difference between multiculturalism – which is about plural ‘cosmopolitan’ identities, and the limits of state authority – and plural monoculturalism: the search for ‘authentic’ Muslims, Jews, Sikhs, Black people, and the funding of projects based on these categories.

    The latter is just an entrenchment of racism.

    Then there is a slim chance that he is not into the ghetto mentality that this thread is heading down.

    ———————————————-

    Personally I wouldn’t waste a penny on any religious museums’, but that ain’t diversity is it?

    Moaning about it is likely to get me started on a case for a Museum for Agnostics. Or the FSM folk demanding, as of a right, a museum to His Spaghettiness.

    What about…oh, bugger it, you’ve got a grievance and your going to keep it warm.

    ——————————————

    Which means you’ve completely missed the point.

  15. douglas clark — on 21st April, 2009 at 11:38 pm  

    Imran,

    Last point.

    Are you in favour of this competitive religious begging? To be honest, the more I see of the arguements in favour of state funding for any religion, or faith, the less I like it. And I started off thinking it was a waste of my money anyway…

  16. Arif — on 22nd April, 2009 at 8:16 am  

    I’m sure Kenan Malik’s overall thesis is more sophisticated than this extract suggests. Perhaps for some people access to local government funding is a factor in identity formation, and perhaps it was for Joy Warmington and some of her peers. But even if that is the case, that identity need not be antagonistic. And if a struggle for market resources creates antagonism, then it is not anything to do with “multicultural policies”. If it is a struggle for Government resources, then a lot of people are savvy enough to see it as divide and rule. Dependence on Government resources is also notoriously effective at depoliticising social action organisations, and undermining their ability to function independently again once the funding is lost.

    There are many factors in identity formation – and it is interesting which factors and identities we pick and choose at any particular time as being problematic or important. Greed is one motive, fear may be another, existential searching another, conditioning another, desire for security etc.

    So we have a Women’s Institute – problematic?
    Mother and Toddler Groups – problematic?
    Football Club Supporter Clubs – problematic?
    Political Parties – problematic?
    Religious congregations – problematic?
    Working Men’s Clubs – problematic?

    Kenan seems to be making the point that they become problematic when people feel that exclusion from the club also excludes them from important political, economic or social benefits.

    But what are you to do if you feel excluded in this way? People may organise around their excluded identities and campaign – and I am sure people will be quick to point out this is what the BNP believes it is doing. And the “status quo” political structure responds by opposing when it can, ignoring when it can, co-opting when it must.

    An understanding of how we construct our identities and why and how we choose the appropriate one as a basis for political campaigning is an important one, which shouldn’t be simplified and trivialised in the way the extract seems to suggest.

    I would suggest that Muslim political identities in the middle east are convenient for opponents of tyrannical regimes, given that socialist, liberal, localist and ethnically based political organisations have been so harshly repressed, whereas mosques have been kept open and – while there is manipulation and so on to try to get preachers to toe a line – you aren’t put in jail for being part of a congregation, and slogans against oppression which have Islamic roots have been given more lattitude to spread.

    In the UK the position is radically different, but if the UK accepts cosmopolitan identities as somehow an alternative to state-sponsored multiculturalism, then what happens in civil society “there” is bound to effect what happens “here”.

  17. faisal — on 22nd April, 2009 at 10:40 am  

    In the UK the position is radically different, but if the UK accepts cosmopolitan identities as somehow an alternative to state-sponsored multiculturalism, then what happens in civil society “there” is bound to effect what happens “here”.

    Can you elaborate what you mean by “here” and “there”. And which parts of “state-sponsored multiculturalism” is for you indispensable, or are you really saying that all of it has been indispensable to building a strong civil society counter-balanced with honourable mosque-based dissent. Sounds very romantic and chivalrous but some solid examples of what you mean by this in the British context would prevent your argument looking a little floppy.

  18. Imran Khan — on 22nd April, 2009 at 12:34 pm  

    Douglas – “I know – I have read the three posts above this one – that you don’t like David T.”

    I don’t like DaveT’s position on things and I don’t like his blog. I have nothing against him personally. Are you saying that I can’t dispute his position?

    “Which means you’ve completely missed the point.”

    No I think you miss the point. I assume you have no religious affliation which is why you say what you say. The point is the secular dictatorship wants to deny the rights of the religious groupings and ethnic groupings.

    However many many many people in this country do have a religious affiliation and a large body of people have an ethnic affiliation.

    It is in fact the approach being advocated by Dave T that will lead to ghettos because people end up in their own isolated communities with little understanding of each other.

    How do you get communities to open up? By allowing them to explain who they are.

    Why should bodies be denied funding just because they are religious and/or ethnic? They contribute to the betterment of the country so why deny their rights?

    With your approach extremism is allowed to foster and we’ll be back to the dark days of “No Dogs, No Irish, No Blacks” which happened when people didn’t know enough about black people.

    It allows people like Daniel Pipes to peddle their nonsense that Muslims don’t maintain Germanic Standards of Hygene. How is he able to peddle such filth because people in the USA are ignorant about Muslims. The fact that Muslims perform ablution 5 times day to pray is ignored and basically he can call Muslims dirty.

    Without understanding and awareness campaigns this type of racism is allowed to foster.

    Nonsense about Jews controlling the world is allowed to foster because there is no attempt to foster understanding.

    Fact is the religious and ethnic groups are not about to disappear so either we go down the road where people are able to peddle age old prejudices about them or we try and tackle these issues.

    I’d prefer to tackle them through outreach and understanding.

    The other position simple breeds racism amongst extremist.

    In general despite the hype of the right the policy of multiculturalism has worked well and helped eradicate prejudice.

    The policy being advocated is actually employed in France and its led to ghettos, racism etc.

    So which one actually works?

  19. Imran Khan — on 22nd April, 2009 at 12:45 pm  

    Douglas – “Are you in favour of this competitive religious begging? To be honest, the more I see of the arguements in favour of state funding for any religion, or faith, the less I like it. And I started off thinking it was a waste of my money anyway…”

    That is because you ignore the benefits of such funding such as tackling racism itself.

    Without such funding then you’d see more racism not less, you’d see more discrimination not less and you’d see more ghettos not less.

    That very funding has brought tangible benefits.

    No funding would mean that we’d be experiencing the same problems as France the same lobbying and bias as the USA.

    In short we’d see fundemental problems which could be exploited by the right wing and the BNP which is why they like them so much.

    Its this same approach which allows the right wing and neocons to pursue the policy they do by smearing people to the point where the average person cares little if that grouping is killed or not.

    I am afraid that you look at an idealisitic view and not reality of racism and the type of filth peddled by the commentators on the right who can then get away with things because of the falsehood they have said.

    As a Muslim I wash 5 times a day but Daniel Pipes is allowed to alledge and people believe him that I am not as clean as Germanic people. Thats what they can then spread about me.

    Don’t forget he influences the likes of Policy Exchange who then influence Blears.

    If the past few hundred years has taufght us anything it is precisely that lack of funding for such things breeds the type of racism suffered by the Jewish Community and ethnic community. When funding was lacking then people accepted racial stereotypes.

  20. damon — on 22nd April, 2009 at 1:22 pm  

    When I said that I thought much of the left would probably disagree with Malik, it was just from how I have much of the liberal left.
    For example some of the groups that were being funded by Ken Livingston’s London administration (through Lee Jasper) were the kind of thing that (I think) Malik is talking about.
    For example the community center called Brixton Base.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/7143310.stm

    I read it’s website which showed the programme of events that were being held there, and their were series of political and historical discussions which were about the kind of politics (in my opinion) that can lead to divisiveness.
    Kenan’s colleague Munira Mirza (in that Spiked group he is part of) said ”Diversity is divisive.
    The new racial thinking fosters tribalism between ethnic and religious groups and makes everyone believe that racism and discrimination is rife.”

    Another person from that group wrote back at the commerations of the abolition of slavery two years ago (In an article titled ”Chaining black youth to the victim culture”) ”Are the commemorations of the abolition of the slave trade helping to foster fatalism amongst young black Britons?”.

    And it seems that at Brixton Base, it was this Afrocentric agenda that was the mainstay of the organisations world view.

    I say I thought much of the left would not like
    Malik’s point of view, because much of the left (from just my experience) really don’t like opinions like Munira Mirza’s or the one about ”chaining black youth”.

    They certainly didn’t on that Braggist website anyway.

  21. Kenan Malik — on 22nd April, 2009 at 2:05 pm  

    On multiculturalism: I have long argued for the need to distinguish between diversity as lived experience and multiculturalism as a political process. See, for instance: http://www.kenanmalik.com/lectures/muliticulturalism_if.html

    The experience of living in a society that is less insular, less homogenous, more cosmopolitan should be cherished: it’s a case for open borders and open minds. Multiculturalism as a political process is something different: the institutionalization of cultural differences. By imprisoning people in ethnic boxes multiculturalism as a political process undermines much of what is good about diversity as lived experience.

    On identity formation: Of course I agree that there are many factors in identity formation, that there is a complex inter-relationship between identities and that people inevitably organize around various identities. The problem I’m raising is the way that public policy often strips identities of their complexity and forces people, as Joy Warmington puts it, ‘into one-dimensional views of themselves’, particularly through the allocation of funding and political power. This is, of course, not the only way through which identities are shaped, but it is an important one.

    On rights: Rights should pertain to individuals, not groups. Group rights are dangerous and lead to differential treatment of individuals by virtue of those individuals belonging to different groups. Another word for that is ‘racism’. Should we, in the name of group rights, accede to the BNP demand for ‘white rights’? Whites, after all, are an ‘ethnic grouping’. Or is denying white rights an expression of ‘secular dictatorship’ as Imran suggests?

  22. douglas clark — on 22nd April, 2009 at 2:27 pm  

    Imran Khan,

    Maybe I should point out that I’d not spend a sou on Policy Exchange either. I’d agree that they are not a force for good.

    The point however is that there is a commentariat that benefits by discussing conflict, either by bigging it up or talking it down. There are careers to be made, and lost, in that.

    Lets’ at least be clear about this. The vast majority of folk in the UK are not particularily religious. Quite why it is now an issue seems to me to be more about ‘claims of right’ based on religious exceptionalism. And the careers and the cash that go with it.

    I think I agree with David T’s analysis. Better to be a big fish in a small pond seems to be the measure of quite a lot of these chancers.

    I have hung around here long enough to agree completely with Kenan Malik when he says:

    Cosmologists believe that the physical universe in its infancy was homogeneous and uniform. Multiculturalists seem to think the same about the social universe of minority groups. All are viewed as uniform, single-minded, conflict-free and defined by ethnicity, faith and culture. As the council’s own report put it, ‘The perceived notion of homogeneity of minority ethnic communities has informed a great deal of race equality work to date. The effect of this, amongst others, has been to place an over-reliance on individuals who are seen to represent the needs or views of the whole community and resulted in simplistic approaches toward tackling community needs.’

    That seems to me to be the crux of the matter.

  23. munir — on 22nd April, 2009 at 2:42 pm  

    Kenan Malik
    “On rights: Rights should pertain to individuals, not groups. Group rights are dangerous and lead to differential treatment of individuals by virtue of those individuals belonging to different groups. Another word for that is ‘racism’. Should we, in the name of group rights, accede to the BNP demand for ‘white rights’? Whites, after all, are an ‘ethnic grouping’. Or is denying white rights an expression of ‘secular dictatorship’ as Imran suggests?”

    Does this mean that you oppose the provisions of the race relations act which for example grant extra cover exclusively to Sikhs and Jews? Why arent you campaigning against that? Something that is an example of gross inequality in law since other religions/groups do not have this.

  24. munir — on 22nd April, 2009 at 2:55 pm  

    douglas clark
    “Lets’ at least be clear about this. The vast majority of folk in the UK are not particularily religious. ”

    The vast majority of ethnic minorities are

    “Quite why it is now an issue seems to me to be more about ‘claims of right’ based on religious exceptionalism. And the careers and the cash that go with it.”

    I wonder why this issue only arises when its Muslims seeking rights. The Jewish community has rights based on religious exceptionalism in areas such as animal slaughter or schools (which incidentally I support) . They even have an eruv in Barnet. So why is there a fuss when Muslims demand rights?

    “As the council’s own report put it, ‘The perceived notion of homogeneity of minority ethnic communities has informed a great deal of race equality work to date. The effect of this, amongst others, has been to place an over-reliance on individuals who are seen to represent the needs or views of the whole community and resulted in simplistic approaches toward tackling community needs.’

    Must remeber that next time we hear “the Muslim community must do more to combat terrorism” – so essentially you have no rights as a community but we will hold you responsible for what people in your community do. Sweet.

    So why not just provide say religious facilities to the section of the communities who are religious and secular ones to the section who are secular? You can cut out the individuals. Its not that complicated.

    The notion that there are some powerful individuals in communities forcing others to be religious is absurd (when many community leaders cant even control what their children do)and is demonstarted by the number of places of worship built soleley or largely through community donations.

  25. munir — on 22nd April, 2009 at 3:04 pm  

    Douglas Clark
    “Personally I wouldn’t waste a penny on any religious museums’, but that ain’t diversity is it?

    Moaning about it is likely to get me started on a case for a Museum for Agnostics. Or the FSM folk demanding, as of a right, a museum to His Spaghettiness.”

    Why not if there is sufficent demand for it or those groups are also taxpayers? Why shouldnt the taxes the religious pay be used for what they want too? Or should tax payers money only go on promoting what an elite wants or what people from the majority want?

  26. Imran Khan — on 22nd April, 2009 at 3:13 pm  

    Kenan Malik – “Should we, in the name of group rights, accede to the BNP demand for ‘white rights’? Whites, after all, are an ‘ethnic grouping’. Or is denying white rights an expression of ‘secular dictatorship’ as Imran suggests?”

    It is the lack of addressing issues affecting white people that is leading to the rise of the BNP. So addressing these issues isn’t acceding to the demands of the BNP it is in fact addressing the very real issues affecting white communities.

    Due to the fact this hasn’t been addressed properly then it is portrayed as acceding to the BNP. It isn’t. It is the lack of will to address issues such as affordable housing, NHS etc. which leads to the rise of the BNP.

    The failure is in a seperate policy which leads to a rise of the right.

    Trying to imply this is acceding to the BNP is way of and frankly betrays reality. Most of the people who are being pushed to vote BNP are doing so because they feel their needs are not addressed.

    By lumping everyone together into one grouping isn’t going to address the issues that face groups who have different needs.

    Its a shame that people can’t see what is right in front of you. A white Christian won’t face anti-semitism so trying to address that issue in that community is silly. Similary an ethnic person coming from abroad won’t face the same housing issue as a white person living in say East London. That’s why policy isn’t a single lump but individual components.

  27. Imran Khan — on 22nd April, 2009 at 3:18 pm  

    Douglas – To put it bluntly I am being bulliede to be lumped together like you and you are being bullied to be lumped like me. We are both different and hve varying needs.

    I want a right to a prayer area and you want a right to not be affected by my right to a prayer area.

    It isn’t the same thing.

  28. douglas clark — on 22nd April, 2009 at 4:00 pm  

    Imran Khan,

    I have no objection whatsoever to you being provided with a prayer area. What I do, somewhat, object to, is specific provision of facilities that target a single group.

    To what extent would an Asian say, be welcome at an Afro-Carribean Health Centre, or a Jamaican at an Asian Community Centre? And I don’t mean at ‘open days’.

    This is a process of ghettoisation which plays into the hands of the likes of munir, et al. I think that that is misdirected money that should be used for the common good.

    munir claims, when it suits his personas, that all Muslims are his to command. I don’t think that that is (or even ever was) actually true. Muslims are no more Stepford Wives than any other large group of human beings. The point is that there is diversity within communities that are seen as homogenous from the outside. The idea of conformity to a norm is a myth that requires to be demolished.

    Just out of curiosity, do you agree with everything munir says? From you latest comment I don’t think you do.

    Just sayin’

  29. Imran Khan — on 22nd April, 2009 at 4:54 pm  

    Douglas – “To what extent would an Asian say, be welcome at an Afro-Carribean Health Centre, or a Jamaican at an Asian Community Centre? And I don’t mean at ‘open days’.”

    Thats my point that to overcome such barriers needs openess and understanding and not lumping together of diverse groups. From the opening up that leads to welcome and friendship which then leads to harmony. Its a process taken step by step and not a colourless charge which leads to frustration.

    According to the one lump approach then frankly we wouldn’t be addressing issues of racism we’d be saying we’re all the same and suffer issues so never mind!

    Starting with open days it leads to people coming together.

    Trust me I have seen it with my own eyes where open days lead to people sharing facilities and events in some cases deeply religious events. But that wouldn’t happen if people didn’t recognise they were different and then wanted to know more about each other.

    With respect the policy you advocate is a huge failure across Europe and only the countries that have worked towards recognition and essentially the dignity of difference and championed greater understanding are prospering. France itself whilst ignoring the rhetoric is facing problems and without solution. They went heavily down the lump all together approach and presently stand where the UK stood many decades ago. That alone should make people see the progress made here. So why when progress has been made are we sayging well we want to give that up and go the way of France.

    “Just out of curiosity, do you agree with everything munir says? From you latest comment I don’t think you do.”

    Everyone here agrees with each other on some points and disagrees with others. I don’t agree with everything he says.

    BTW Did you celebrate Obama becomming the first black man becoming President of the USA? If you did why when he’s just another president?

    Did you celebrate the release of Mandela? He’s just another convict being released?

    You see there was a difference there and people recognised that?

    Did you watch with horror at the suffering of concentration camp victims? Why because they were just casulties of war?

    That’s what happens when you lump things together then the impact of needs and recognition fails to stand out.

    A concentration camp victim dying isn’t the same as a Nazi officer dying but lump them together and suddenly you lose things that are important.

    Whether you like it or not diversity is important to the human race and we are not all alike. If we were the Aborigines would just be Australians and thus unrecognised as the oldest inhabitants of Australia and we wouldn’t celebrate their unique culture same for Maoris and the Inca’s. Which is why people love going there.

    Strangely for a country which is being pushed down the we’ll all the same road actually some of the most successful events in the country actually look at the religious and cultural differences we have.

    Sadly the right has got it wrong here and is simply pushing this approach to re-enforce its own approach which is itself divisive.

    Also if we are all the same then how do you ensure that minorities get their rights and entitlement? How do you then eliminate prejudice when you essentially deny it can ever exist because the only way to show it exists is to acknowledge we are different and if we are different then we have to say how which then defeat swhat you are arguing for. So the one lump approach is likely to lead to more racism not less and it makes challanging it more difficult.

    It is strange that at a time when we are promoting cultural differences as part of one of the world’s premier sporting events we are being told we shouldn’t say we are different!

    “I have no objection whatsoever to you being provided with a prayer area. What I do, somewhat, object to, is specific provision of facilities that target a single group.”

    Why when we have different needs? This reminds me of the time I was asked to pray in the disabled toilet cause thats the best they could provide!

    Come on we are supposed to be a modern country and we are saying we should be like robots.

    What next skin dye for ethnics so they are more closer in colour to the majority?

    Should I also change my name to George? In fact maybe we should all be called George and have a number as a surname – how does that sound?

    Where are you drawing the line?

  30. Imran Khan — on 22nd April, 2009 at 5:32 pm  

    Just by chance I cam eacross this story:

    Holocaust museum opens in Palestinian village
    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3704400,00.html

    Crucial quotes:
    “A museum commemorating the Holocaust was inaugurated on Tuesday in the Palestinian village of Na’alin, which has become a symbol for the struggle against the separation fence.

    At noon the residents, led by Mayor Ayman Nafaa, were scheduled to hold their own “march of the living” to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day and protest the fence.

    “If leaders on both sides know and remember what Hitler did, maybe we’ll have peace,” Ibrahim Amira, a Na’alin resident and one of the leaders of the fight against the fence told Ynet.”

    “”I met the mayor, who is a Hamas member, and in the midst of all this great grief over the two deaths I told him about the Holocaust. I explained to him that the Jews have their own unique pain.

    “He didn’t know how many people were murdered in the Holocaust and then the idea came up to open a museum there,” he related.”

    “On Holocaust memorial day it is important for us to protest against the olive trees that are being uprooted and our sons who are being killed, and still remember the crimes that were committed against the Jewish people. If we understand this we’ll be able to live in peace.”

    …..

    Now this emphasises my point that the best way to bring about change and cohesion is to better understand each other and our differences from which we can engage and make this country and the world a better place.

    If we are all deemed the same then how do we react to tradegy and issues affecting people. Without knowing each other and our differences how can we progress to amke things better for all?

  31. Imran Khan — on 22nd April, 2009 at 5:55 pm  

    Oh and one interesting point to be made which is largely ignored. Its amazing how the right wing and their neocon supporters say that we shouldn’t be part of the varying cultural and religious identity and yet when it suits them then they want to employ that same religious and cultural identity.

    The rigth is the first to label Muslims in a derogatory manner when it suits them, Islamic Terrorism and Muslim Terrorists. But they are the ones advocating an ethos of not labelling except when it suits them.

    So I do indeed look forward to David T. now just saying terrorist in line with hjis policy above rather than mentioning religion when it suits or is that asking a bit much?

    I look forward to the right and Dave T now not advancing the interests of just one state in the Middle east because of course we cannot pick by religion or race anymore. So they are all the same are they not by the logic and policy outlined above.

    Its time people practised what they preached first so of course lets see if those advocating the policy follow it because they themselves are the first to use such categories when it suits them.

  32. Arif — on 22nd April, 2009 at 7:51 pm  

    Faisal (#17) – sorry if I was being unclear.

    In the context of my example: “here” meant the UK, “there” meant countries such as Algeria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia. But I used the words “here” and “there” to suggest that the example could be generalised to say that cosmopolitanism means what happens in one part of the world will have an impact on the identities in other parts of the world. I find that acceptable.

    What part of “state sponsored multiculturalism” do I find indispensable? I don’t know – it is not a big issue for me. I think state sponsorship has a slightly corrupting and de-energising effect on community groups, so I would mainly oppose it for campaigning groups I join on those grounds. I would not oppose it on the grounds of it causing division – although I believe in some places and at some times it does cause division (classic divide and rule tactics), I don’t think this is how it necessarily plays out.

    For me it is much more simple – because I do not want any culture to be dominated or oppressed by any other, I support multi-culturalism as a principle. From this light it has nothing to do with Government policies to fund groups to represent the interests of those communities in the political sphere. For me it is no surprise if those groups entering the political sphere reproduce the elitist, reductive and antagonistic structures necessary to work effectively within it.

    If it translates to me hating people in the social sphere, then I take responsibility for my hatred, I don’t think I should hate people because any politician or lobbyist tells me so and claims to represent me.

    Kenan Malik (#21) I would disagree only on a few points:

    - I think institutionalising cultural differences is not necessarily bad – any more than institutionalising gender differences etc is bad. People need institutions for many reasons, including safety, self expression, self-exploration, reproducing their culture and avoiding the anxieties you may feel from losing cultural identity (and I include anxieties which White British people may sometimes feel). I think the problems arise at a more psychological level than an institutional one – when we think in hierarchised dualisms.

    - I would not say that public policy is stripping people of their various other competing identities, just as public policies to support the poor, young people, the elderly etc strip us of our other identities. I think there needs to be an element of existential threat that makes us cling to those identities, and more importantly make us propagandise for that identity to be essentialised in order to effectively campaign against the perceived threat. I think that there is something other than Government policy which might explain why people in particular areas at particular times take an increasingly one-dimensional view of themselves.

  33. douglas clark — on 22nd April, 2009 at 10:54 pm  

    Imran Khan @ 29,

    I am going to try to explain what I think is wrong here. Forgive me if I am succinct.

    You say:

    Thats my point that to overcome such barriers needs openess and understanding and not lumping together of diverse groups. From the opening up that leads to welcome and friendship which then leads to harmony. Its a process taken step by step and not a colourless charge which leads to frustration.

    Well, we agree that barriers need to be overcome.

    My question to you is this. Why is the state erecting barriers? Why is the state acquiescing to minority, exlusionist, pork barrel politics?

    I had a thought – it is a rare occurence so treat it with the delicacy it thinks it deserves – what if all the snooker halls in Bradford say, were Muslim snooker halls? Would a very good Jewish player be allowed in the door?

    Imran Khan, you are no ones fool, do you think that might happen, theoretically?

    And what might the outcome be?

    I, used to, play in a mixed snooker club where people did not really take their colour or their religion particularily seriously. What they did take seriously was winning.

    Moving on…

    Trust me I have seen it with my own eyes where open days lead to people sharing facilities and events in some cases deeply religious events. But that wouldn’t happen if people didn’t recognise they were different and then wanted to know more about each other.

    I trust that is true. It is no reason whatsoever for paying out money to keep people apart.

    With respect the policy you advocate is a huge failure across Europe and only the countries that have worked towards recognition and essentially the dignity of difference and championed greater understanding are prospering.

    Frankly I didn’t realise I was reflecting any sort of pan European opinion. If you’ve read anything I’ve ever said here it is just me, not some sort of pan European conspiracy. I am just as disempowered as anyone else.

    I have absolutely no problem with people being different, though as an outsider to your idea of difference, I’d think your failure to recognise my rights to disbelief, as opposed to joining a faction, says more about you than it does about me.

    Whatever.

    “Just out of curiosity, do you agree with everything munir says? From you latest comment I don’t think you do.”

    Everyone here agrees with each other on some points and disagrees with others. I don’t agree with everything he says.

    Difficult question for you, was it?

    I think munir / blah is a complete utter tit.

    There you go.

    He choses to speak for you when it suits him, “We Muslims”, and he choses to castigate you if you very an iota from his insanity. He reminds me of the Reverend Iain Paisley, another “You are with us, or you are against us” nutter.

    Can I summarise your comments about what I think about Obama, Nelson Mandala and concentration camp victims?

    The first two are forces for good. The latter was a complete utter evil.

    Your scattergun approach to debate means that I have probably missed many missiles incoming from your post.

    I do not, for instance, agree with the idea that Aboriginies require treatment, they are entitled to equal identity. What makes you think that is a barb against me? I have never written on the subject, but you can take it that, were I to do so, I’d be completely on the side of the Aborigines.

  34. douglas clark — on 22nd April, 2009 at 11:12 pm  

    Moving on to Chapter 30 of the missive from planet Imran Khan:

    If we are all deemed the same then how do we react to tradegy and issues affecting people. Without knowing each other and our differences how can we progress to amke things better for all?

    Whatever made you think that? I’d assume, correct me if I am wrong, that there is a basic humanity.

    What say you?

    Aside from your religious beliefs/intolerance if you can.

  35. douglas clark — on 22nd April, 2009 at 11:19 pm  

    So, Imran Khan @ 31,

    The rigth is the first to label Muslims in a derogatory manner when it suits them, Islamic Terrorism and Muslim Terrorists. But they are the ones advocating an ethos of not labelling except when it suits them.

    You seem confused, my friend…

  36. douglas clark — on 23rd April, 2009 at 1:05 am  

    Imran,

    Last point on your enormous missives.

    I am not right wing. I am probably more liberal than you.

    I do think that constituentists like munir are a lot of trouble, but there you go. We have had them before and we’ve seen them off.

    Check out Oswald Mosley. And, just ’cause you embrace him..?

    munir is not a kick in the pants off a similar philosophy.

    Least, that’s what I think.

    And, I’d remind you, this is not a Christian Nation.

    Despite what Muslims, Jews, Christians or Atheists would have you believe.

    It is, indeed, a nation of agnostics.

    They doubt anything to do with religion. And they are right.

    To answer your implied question, I am one hundred per cent behind Southall Black Sisters and Joanne Paytons cause ré Iraq and Kurdish women.

    I cannot stand, for a moment, sexism.

    There you go…

  37. imran khan — on 23rd April, 2009 at 1:14 am  

    Douglas – “My question to you is this. Why is the state erecting barriers? Why is the state acquiescing to minority, exlusionist, pork barrel politics?”

    Have you ever considered that the state is breaking down barriers and bringing people together to learn about each other? It isn’t exclusionist it is inclusionist because it bring people together and get them talking, building community alliances etc.

    “I had a thought – it is a rare occurence so treat it with the delicacy it thinks it deserves – what if all the snooker halls in Bradford say, were Muslim snooker halls? Would a very good Jewish player be allowed in the door?”

    I’d think so but if we go down your road of the government says everyone is the same then no because the two won’t know each other, thus a barrier exists.

    “Imran Khan, you are no ones fool, do you think that might happen, theoretically?”
    Yes

    “And what might the outcome be?”
    It might be that we need to overcome it.

    “Difficult question for you, was it?

    I think munir / blah is a complete utter tit.”
    Douglas I rarely read his comments so how do you want me to answer? I can’t comment because I don’t actually read much of what he writes.

    So yes it is a difficult question because I don’t always read what he writes. I always read what Chairwoman, Katy, Bananabrain write. I frequently read what you write and a few others.

    “The first two are forces for good. The latter was a complete utter evil.”

    How do you know if everyone is to be lumped together that was the point.

    “Your scattergun approach to debate means that I have probably missed many missiles incoming from your post.”

    Sorry I’ll try to improve to your superior level.

    “I do not, for instance, agree with the idea that Aboriginies require treatment, they are entitled to equal identity. What makes you think that is a barb against me? I have never written on the subject, but you can take it that, were I to do so, I’d be completely on the side of the Aborigines.”

    But your argument alongside DaveT and Kenan Malik is that there shouldn’t be any of this but then you want exceptions for the Aborigines.

    “Whatever made you think that? I’d assume, correct me if I am wrong, that there is a basic humanity.

    What say you?”

    Basic humanity is there but we had basic humanity and still had things like the slave trade so where was the basic humanity there?

    In more recent times basic humanity didn’t stop the murder of Stephen Lawrence simply for being black. Where was basic humanity then? What say you?

    What good is basic humanity when the likes of Berlusconi proclaim that European culture is better than Muslim Culture and they are backward. So without the ability to reply this is then accepted as fact in say his homeland.

    Do you know what its like to suffer racism and abuse? I have suffered it and still do to varying degrees. By saying I am not entitled to funding to explain my race and religion that will simply continue.

    Is that acceptable?

    I went to a majority white school and I met few Jewish people. I knew nothing of their religion. It was the programmes you so detest that allowed me to learn more and now I have good friendships in that community as I do in other communities.

    In your ideology I’d not have had that chance or been afforded the opportunity to make those friendships.

    Today I see similar projects which struggle to get funding but which work hard at doing the same and I see the benefits. So yes I will speak out because I see the benefit.

    “You seem confused, my friend…”

    Am I – so you deny that the right wingers and neocons preach that ethnic and religious identity shouldn’t be used whilst at the same time using it for their own arguments?

    “Moving on to Chapter 30 of the missive from planet Imran Khan:”
    If you don’t like what I say don’t read it.

    The simple fact is that without projects to highlight cultural differences then we cannot answer people like the person who came onto PP and spewed anti-semitism on a thread a few weeks ago. The biggest irony is that the two people who answered back most forcefully (Katy, Bananabrain and myself) all advocate interfaith dialogue. Ironic that those that disapprove of it weren’t able to assist at the time beyond a few sentences.

  38. imran khan — on 23rd April, 2009 at 1:24 am  

    Douglas – ““Your scattergun approach to debate means that I have probably missed many missiles incoming from your post.””

    For someone accusing me of a scattergun approach you’ve jumped form supporting aborigines, to discuss Oswald Mosely and then aetheist nation!

    You appear to have your own scatter gun.

    Basically Douglas I pay my taxes – huge amounts of them so I am just as entitled as anyone to ask for my tax money to be used to help tackle religious and racial prejudice. The Secular Societies of this country frequently and disproportionately attack Muslims and religious groups and their dictatorial approach means they want to deny my rights whilst at the same time promoting the concept of free-speech as long as I don’t have it!

  39. douglas clark — on 23rd April, 2009 at 1:35 am  

    Oh, goodness.

    I am engaged with a lunatic.

    But your argument alongside DaveT and Kenan Malik is that there shouldn’t be any of this but then you want exceptions for the Aborigines.

    I haven’t argued any such thing. You are completely and utterly mad.

    I disagree with David T quite a lot. So what?

  40. douglas clark — on 23rd April, 2009 at 8:32 am  

    munir,

    Heh.

    The vast majority of ethnic minorities are

    Any evidence to support that?

    Thought not.

    You speak for yourself mate.

    You have no worthwhile constituency for your evil philosophy. And where you do have adoring fans, such as Imran Khan, as Kenan Malik more or less says, it is blot on the body politic.

    My local corner shop has SNP material available if you want to go there. And, yes, the guy and his wife are Asian. I’d like to think they’d tell you to go to hell.

    But, they are probably too polite.

  41. damon — on 23rd April, 2009 at 8:43 am  

    I mentioned two articles @20 yesterday, and I forgot to put the links in.
    They are both from the same (I think it’s fair to say) loose grouping around Spiked-online magazine that Kenan Malik is a part of.
    (And I thought they were very interesting articles too).

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2006/nov/21/diversityhasbecomedivisive

    http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php?/site/article/3002/

  42. douglas clark — on 23rd April, 2009 at 9:08 am  

    Imran Khan,

    It was you (was it not?) that raised the issue of Aborigines?

    Here:

    Whether you like it or not diversity is important to the human race and we are not all alike. If we were the Aborigines would just be Australians and thus unrecognised as the oldest inhabitants of Australia and we wouldn’t celebrate their unique culture same for Maoris and the Inca’s. Which is why people love going there.

    Yes it was.

    (Well I’m up for Aborigines and Maoris, if what we hear about Incas is true then hell mend them.)

    Same goes for the rest of your blunderbuss approach to arguementation.

    You are accusing me, me!, of not following the arguement when you are not actually conducting a debate at all. You are attributing to me things that I have never considered, never thought, and have certainly never voiced on here. That is arguementation via the gutter.

    I can respect Barak Obama, Nelson Mandella, et al. without looking at the colour of their skin. My own heroine, if you must know, is Rosa Parks….

    Seeds, acorns, oak trees, etc, etc.

  43. douglas clark — on 23rd April, 2009 at 9:13 am  

    And the likes of munir would still be having her sit in a special area of the fucking bus.

    For different reasons….

  44. munir — on 23rd April, 2009 at 9:14 am  

    douglas clark

    “munir claims, when it suits his personas, that all Muslims are his to command. ”

    Wow your utter distortion of what I actually said is Sid-like.

    “I don’t think that that is (or even ever was) actually true. Muslims are no more Stepford Wives than any other large group of human beings. The point is that there is diversity within communities that are seen as homogenous from the outside. The idea of conformity to a norm is a myth that requires to be demolished.”

    A straw man. I never said Muslims were a homogenous group-simply that to people in ethnic minorities religion generally is important. Something you seek to deny. My evidence is actually knowing the community

    According to the Policy exchange (not i admit the best source)

    “86% of Muslims feel that religion is the most important thing in their life ”
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/6309983.stm

    You are welcome to provide evidence to the contrary

  45. munir — on 23rd April, 2009 at 9:16 am  

    douglas clark
    “And the likes of munir would still be having her sit in a special area of the fucking bus.”

    Wow another lie. You dont like being challenegd do you?

    To quote what your words whic are self condemnatory

    “You are accusing me, me!, of not following the arguement when you are not actually conducting a debate at all. You are attributing to me things that I have never considered, never thought, and have certainly never voiced on here. That is arguementation via the gutter.”

  46. Shamit — on 23rd April, 2009 at 9:24 am  

    Nelson Mandela — he epitomises inclusiveness and his first speech after being released was about how SOuth Africa is for all South Africans — black, white and Asians alike.

    Using Nelson Mandela or Barrack Obama as examples to highlight their skin colour go against the essence of their success. I think in Iowa people voted for the ideas and ideals that Barrack Obama represented and not his skin colour.

    Every person has the right to practice their religion within the confines of their personal space and they have the right to believe in whatever they choose to believe. However, if the religious identity and the baggage it comes along with tries to impose their faith and beliefs on to others or claim special status that do not benefit society at large then it is a problem.

    For example, a Sikh with a beard and turban in the Army is fine — but if a Hindu says there cannot be any beef cooking in the army barracks then it is problematic.

    Douglas, why are you wasting your precious time arguing with Munir — we all know him and his alter ego Blah.

  47. douglas clark — on 23rd April, 2009 at 9:51 am  

    munir,

    For fucks sake, even I would not quote Policy Exchange as a reliable source of used tea bags, far less trying to use them in a discussion. Get a grip.

    How do you know what goes on in the heads of Muslims?

    You don’t. You just assume. And then you build your arguement, not on it’s intrinsic worth, but on the basis that everyone in your community thinks like you. When they clearly don’t.

    Stop appropriating a constituency you don’t own.

    That is my objection to demigods like you, and there are a lot of your sort around. With a bit of practice, you too could be George Galloway…

    What is your view on women being allowed to drive motor cars in Saudi Arabia? Perhaps there is a liberal streak in you that we have yet to discover.

    ————————————————

    Shamit @ 46,

    Douglas, why are you wasting your precious time arguing with Munir — we all know him and his alter ego Blah.

    This site is read by thousands of folk, not all of whom comment. I comment on here largely because that unseen audience might otherwise think munir / blah represents something unchallenged. When it obviously isn’t.

    :-)

  48. soru — on 23rd April, 2009 at 11:04 am  

    Funding for ethnic projects is worthwhile because it helps people understand each other. This is precisely why I like the idea of a Jewish Museum, Black History month etc.

    The point is not whether or not something is ‘ethnic’. It’s in the structure of how things work out.

    For something like Black History Month, _everyone_, for one month of the year, learns a bit of black history.

    If instead, there were 12 classrooms, one teaching Black History, one Scottish History, one Jewish history, and so on, then that would be a different thing.

    If instead, there were 12 schools, each with their own history curriculum, then that would be a different thing again.

    One more thing: despite what the neoliberals of Spiked might say, this is not a point unique to state institutions, one that would completely vanish if everyone went to private schools.

  49. Imran Khan — on 23rd April, 2009 at 11:44 am  

    Douglas – “Oh, goodness.

    I am engaged with a lunatic.”

    I am treating you in a civilised and respectful manner and you are getting ruder and ruder. If you can’t conduct yourself in a suitable manner then kindly don’t engage in discussions with me.

    “But your argument alongside DaveT and Kenan Malik is that there shouldn’t be any of this but then you want exceptions for the Aborigines.

    I haven’t argued any such thing. You are completely and utterly mad.

    I disagree with David T quite a lot. So what?”

    Douglas it does help if you keep up with the thread, you said at the start where you appeared to agree with DaveT;
    “I know – I have read the three posts above this one – that you don’t like David T.

    But even he can occasionaly come up with something interesting. If one part of David T thinks:

    There’s a difference between multiculturalism – which is about plural ‘cosmopolitan’ identities, and the limits of state authority – and plural monoculturalism: the search for ‘authentic’ Muslims, Jews, Sikhs, Black people, and the funding of projects based on these categories.

    The latter is just an entrenchment of racism.

    Then there is a slim chance that he is not into the ghetto mentality that this thread is heading down.”

    Next you said I use a scattergun approach to debating and I highlighted that you did the same.

    Fact is that you join debates and when people try to discuss with you and open up the debate then if you don’t like the way it goers you start attacks on people.

    Debate the point and don’t attack the person if they haven’t be rude.

    The point you appeared to supported with DaveT and Kenan Malik was that ethnic and religious groups shouldn’t get funding. Then you appeared to say that you were for some funding for Aborigines, Incas etc.

    The fact is that your dimissive approach simply highlights the need for funding of religious and ethnic groups. It illustrates why groups need to reach out and counter how they are portrayed unfairly.

    I look forward to a civil response.

  50. Chris Williams — on 23rd April, 2009 at 1:31 pm  

    Imran, perhaps it’s just me, but I found the first three comments you put on this thread so hard to follow that I’ve stopped reading the rest. You may like it that way, but in any case I thought I’d do you the favour of letting you know.

  51. douglas clark — on 23rd April, 2009 at 2:34 pm  

    Imran Khan,

    If you go off at tangents all the time, then it is very difficult to have a debate with you. I don’t think I mentioned Aborigines at all until you brought them up, why not the Inuits, or the Han or someone else that is completely irrelevant to the discussion in hand?

    You wrote two – fairly lengthy posts – one after the other, which I have tried to respond to. When you have nothing much to say in response, you bring up the Aborigines! If you see that as a reasonable debating tactic then I will take issue with it when I see it.

    I have tried to keep this conversation on topic, but you aren’t helping me, to be honest.

    I do not think that the State should be funding ghettoisation. It is as simple as that.

  52. Imran Khan — on 23rd April, 2009 at 4:17 pm  

    Douglas – if you feel I have gone off topic you can of course say so politely. Insulting people isn’t required.

    The points I raised in my long posts were to highlight that certain groups (racial and religious) face great problems. I don’t deny I didn’t bring up those points and what you are failing to understand is that the combating of racism is partly down to the funding of such groups to put forth their view. Many of these groups are deprived and don’t have the type of funding to do such things.

    It is up to government to provide this.

    The state isn’t funding ghettoisation it is combating it slowly. The fact is that when the funding wasn’t there then ghettoisation took place.

    The policy you advocate is far the dark days of the colonial era and frankly was used to subjucate not integrate the minorities.

    As I said you don’t face the racial problems that many of us do so you are speaking from an idealistic not realistic position.

  53. soru — on 23rd April, 2009 at 5:49 pm  

    The policy you advocate is far the dark days of the colonial era

    HuH? As one example, British rule in India was very much based on different legal and political statuses for different religions and races.

    For example, from Wiki:

    ‘The principal of “communal representation,” an integral part of the Minto-Morley reforms, and more recently of the Congress-Muslim League Lucknow Pact, was reaffirmed, with seats being reserved for Muslims, Sikhs, Indian Christians, Anglo-Indians, and domiciled Europeans, in both provincial and Imperial legislative councils.’

  54. Imran Khan — on 23rd April, 2009 at 8:36 pm  

    Soru – “The policy you advocate is far the dark days of the colonial era

    HuH? As one example, British rule in India was very much based on different legal and political statuses for different religions and races. ”

    The colonial era consisted of lumping together of vast groups and striping them of their own cultural identity.

    In the Netherlands for example there are Indians who have no trace whatsoever of their cultural heritage and even have localised Dutch names. Having spoken to them many wish they could trace their ancestry.

    That is what I was referring to.

    Look in the UK the contribution of the USA is bigged up and people are always told of the debt of gratitude the UK owes the USA. The debt to the old Empire countries is by and large ignored and in fact because its lumped together with Britain its largely forgotten.

    Such is the hope and aspiration of the right and neocons with regards to the racial and cultural makeup of the minorities.

    By denying funding to allow people to promote greater understanding means that the barriers to integration which faced minorities in decades past will not be removed but kept in place.

    Douglas said that to avoid racism could we not rely on basic humanity.

    But basic humanity was responsible for actions such as this:

    http://www.withoutsanctuary.org/

    We haven’t conquered racism yet but people want to blame the minorities by saying they are not integrated. But integration itself requires both sides to work together.

    Minorities need to do more but equally we as people need to understand our differences.

    How can the right who essentially deny that issues such as Islamophobia exist set policy when they won’t even acknowledge there is a problem to be tackled.

    There approach is to blame minority communities for failure to integrate and thus its their own fault.

    Its nonsense and its not a policy designed to promote integration and communities.

  55. Jai — on 24th April, 2009 at 9:42 am  

    The debt to the old Empire countries is by and large ignored and in fact because its lumped together with Britain its largely forgotten.

    It’s because the matter requires a lot of uncomfortable soul-searching and raises some very awkward questions indeed. Unfortunately some people prefer to carry on with their preconceptions and misconceptions, particularly if taking a more honest and informed approach would undermine their worldview and be a blow to their ego.

  56. damon — on 24th April, 2009 at 11:24 am  

    Just bringing this back to Kenan Malik for a moment.
    I have seen above that some people have said that they don’t rate Policy Exchange.
    I’m not so sure about what they are about myself, but Kenan Malik’s Spiked colleaugue Munira Mirza has worked for them:
    http://www.battleofideas.org.uk/index.php/site/speaker_detail/235/
    ….. and if you look at the links within that link I just did, you’ll see that he sat with her in 2007 discussing ”Is identity politics undermining democracy?”
    And Mirza co-wrote that Policy Exchange piece called: ”Living Apart Together: British Muslims and the Paradox of Multiculturalism” (which I thought was very good).
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2007/feb/02/comment.religion

    Also – Aboriginal exceptionalism (if that’s the right term) is something that Malik’s colleauges at that Spiked thing, have (from what I understand of them) grave reservations about.
    http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php?/site/article/4560/

    http://www.spiked-online.com/index.php?/site/article/3403/
    In the article above, see the paragraph ”Attracted to the aboriginal ”.

    On that other leftist website I was on, most of the people hated stuff like that, and told me to stop making links like that as they were not welcomed.
    Someone on Pickled Politics said too, that most PP’ers thought that they were crap.
    Malik is part of that, and I’ve always thought that he (and they) were rather good.

  57. Imran Khan — on 24th April, 2009 at 4:20 pm  

    That would be the same Munira Mirza who said racism was exagerated and moves in a different world to the rest of the ethnic minorities and yet we have these types of people who have elevated themselves by denial of issues facing ethnic and minority communities making policies which are then pushed by their Starbucks coffee drinking set.

    Would Munira be willing to remind Policy Exchange not to fabricate part of their reports?

    Munira Mirza is Policy Exchange’s Asian version of Hazel Blears. Spouting off about communities but rarely actually there at the grassroots.

    Reading her work reminds me of someone out of touch with what is going on at the grassroots and how communities work.

    Its a distorted view and one that simply lays the blame for failure rather than also highlighting the benefits brought by religious and ethnic diversity and the work they do.

    Its a biased and one sided look rather that a fair analysis.

  58. Imran Khan — on 24th April, 2009 at 5:56 pm  

    Kenan Malik like Munira Mirza says – “I believe that discrimination against Muslims isn’t as great as is made out. But criticism of Islam should be greater.”

    I wonder why on PP the people who write about Islam and Muslims invariably deny issues facing the community and many are not Muslims themselves. Often their main common position is one opposing the loeft wing and yet they are given all voice on Muslim affairs here.

    Many of these people in fact are former left wingers who have issues with the left and because the left is siding with Muslims they are attacking all policy that may assist Muslims because of their issues with the left.

    It is strange and I wonder if Sunny will permit a voice to religious Muslims now we have had so many secular-Muslim voice their opinion to redress the balance?

    Kenan Malik will you now be writing similar books and essays about other religions as your entire focus is on Muslims and Islam’s and yet I don’t think you are one yourself.

  59. Imran Khan — on 24th April, 2009 at 6:05 pm  

    Kenan Malik – “Yet equally odious is the idea that people should be denied their democratic rights simply because of their political views. We normally accept that individuals are capable of making a distinction between their private beliefs (whether political, cultural or religious) and their public actions.” – article on even racists have rights.

    Kenan Malik speaks for the rights of racists within democracy thus asserting the issues they face but then is dismissive of the issues facing Muslims and says they are exaggerated.

    According to this logic the rights of the BNP are to be preserved and they can receive their funding because that is democracy. Yet the Muslim taxpayers whose rights are in law well they are exagerating and their ability to represent their position is to be curtailed. Brilliant!

  60. Kenan Malik — on 24th April, 2009 at 7:51 pm  

    #59 Imran Khan:
    ‘Kenan Malik speaks for the rights of racists within democracy thus asserting the issues they face but then is dismissive of the issues facing Muslims and says they are exaggerated.

    According to this logic the rights of the BNP are to be preserved and they can receive their funding because that is democracy. Yet the Muslim taxpayers whose rights are in law well they are exagerating and their ability to represent their position is to be curtailed. Brilliant!’

    This is the kind of shoddy, despicable argument that makes it almost impossible to have a decent debate on these issues. Let’s look at your claims one by one.

    1. ‘Kenan Malik speaks for the rights of racists within democracy’.

    As the quote that you yourself have pulled out of my article shows, what I was speaking for were the rights of individuals not being dependent on their political views. Even you must see that restricting someone’s rights because of their political opinions would affect Muslims probably even more than it would affect racists. In fact it already does – laws such as the ‘glorifying terrorism’ part of the Terrorism Act are used to target radical Islamists.

    In the debate about BNP membership some argued that BNP members should not be teachers because they could not be trusted to treat non-white children fairly. Many Muslims (perhaps most Muslims), like many Christians, and indeed many non-believers, think that, in the words of Iqbal Sacranie, ‘homosexuality is not acceptable’. Should we then say that Muslims should not be allowed to be teachers because they cannot be trusted to treat gay and lesbian children fairly? And before you misrepresent my argument, my view is that political or religious views should not be a bar to any job; all that should matter is an individual’s ability to perform a job competently and legally.

    2. ‘is dismissive of the issues facing Muslims and says they are exaggerated’.

    To say that claims of discrimination or hatred are exaggerated is not the same as ‘dismissing the issue’. I have always said that there is discrimination against, and hatred of, Muslims. I have also said that claims about discrimination and hatred are often exaggerated. I have many times laid out the facts and figures that lead me to that conclusion. No one, so far, has disputed those facts and figures. Feel free to show me empirically why they are wrong. But unless you can do so, your criticisms are so much hot air.

    3. ‘According to this logic the rights of the BNP are to be preserved and they can receive their funding because that is democracy’.

    I never talked about the rights of the BNP, only of individuals. The BNP does not receive state funding, should not receive state funding and I would strenuously oppose it if it did. To suggest that the logic of my argument about individual rights is that the BNP should receive funding is, to put it mildly, bizarre.

    4. ‘Yet the Muslim taxpayers whose rights are in law well they are exaggerating and their ability to represent their position is to be curtailed.’

    The fact that Muslims may be taxpayers is neither here nor there. Many racists are taxpayers too. So what? Rights are not, and should not be, dependent upon whether or not you pay taxes. Unless, of course, you think that the unemployed should have fewer rights?

    To say that claims about discrimination are exaggerated is not to deny anyone’s rights. Muslims, like everyone else, possess rights not because they are discriminated against (whether or not those claims of discrimination are exaggerated) but because they are citizens of this country.

    Far from wanting Muslim representation to be curtailed I want to Muslims to be better represented in the democratic process. Pretending that a handful of community leaders and organizations represents the Muslim community, as both national government and local authorities do, is to deny real representation to the majority of Muslims.

  61. imran khan — on 24th April, 2009 at 9:44 pm  

    Kenan Malik – “This is the kind of shoddy, despicable argument that makes it almost impossible to have a decent debate on these issues.”

    One can say the same about your approach which is despicable because you are using your issues with the left to target Muslims because they are supported by the left but you fail to address similar issues with your new friends.

    What is your obession with Muslims when you are not one yourself? Is it simply because you grew unhappy with the left and thus target the main ethnic group they have allied with? You should first admit your own position.

    Fact is that you don’t write much about the relations of the right and neocons with other religious groups. Your shoddy targetting and continual attacks on Muslims make it difficult to debate with you.

    What you’ll find is that your argument alongside your friend Munira Mirza’s is that religious and ethnic groups should not receive state funding.

    Indeed your friend Munira has already ensured that large anti-racism events have had funding pulled.

    But the BNP does receive funds from the state as a political party for party political broadcasts. It receives funding as a poltical party as it has elected representatives.

    In fact in your rather one sided writing you equally fail to question the fact the heart of government has close ties and relationships with certain religious groups.

    Where are your articles on the relationship that Blears and Miliband have with certain religious groups?

    Where is your questioning of Blears links to right wing and neocon think tanks which are unelected.

    The target of your ire is in the majority of cases Muslims.

    Thus how can your work be considered impartial when so much is targeted at Muslims and policy towards Muslims when you fail to address the wider picture.

    Its all very well having a go at me but your record is there in black and white and you’ve made your name from articles about Muslims most of which are negative.

    Your muteness on the likes of Policy Exchange and their inventing parts of reports to malign Muslims is astounding.

    Your single biggest failing is your one sided approach of looking at government policy of multi-culturalism and highlighting just failure and not the positive. How can that be called balanced?

    In your academic world your touch with the real communities needs to be questioned.

    “To say that claims of discrimination or hatred are exaggerated is not the same as ‘dismissing the issue’.”

    Oh grow up. It is dismissing the issue by trying to minimise it. Thats what your Channel 4 programme was about. Its the same approach as the right and neocon organisations.

    You know full well by saying that it is exaggerated that any claim it is there people are liekly to dismiss it as exagerated. Its the same situation minortiies found themselves in decades gone by when they were not taken seriously because people claimed racism was exagerated.

    With your statement and Munira’s statement of exagerated which is no doubt pushed by the right where they love your report and use it to deny that Muslims suffer discrimination how can you then claim that you say there is some discrimination when your own work is used to deny the fact because of the way you approach the issue.

    Your wording and statement meant to dismiss the issue. You could just as easily have stated firstly that discrimination exists but you wanted your sensationalism as much as the people you accuse of exagerating.

    The fact that discrimination occurs could have been made first and then the update to say the numbers are inflated or need more evidence.

    “To say that claims about discrimination are exaggerated is not to deny anyone’s rights.”
    Yes it is. If you say that Muslim discrimination is exagerated you know full well the government will do little to tackle the issue. If you further say that funding for multi-culturalism should be cut then you remove a method for Muslims to reach into society which hinders tackling the discrimination.

    In fact due to reports like yours the government has worked to tackle anti-semitism which is good but largely ignored discrimination against Muslims.

    In your writings where you claim you want more freedom of speech you have failed to even address the issue of Blears dicatorship and denying elected MP’s the right to attend Muslim events. Isn’t that a right wing and neocon restriction of speech and you are mute on it because the left have taken this up and you don’t like the left?

    “Far from wanting Muslim representation to be curtailed I want to Muslims to be better represented in the democratic process.”

    How by denying them the right to reach into the wider community when due to your policy advice they shouldn’t get funding.

    The fact is that your have a one side approach and to prove your position you want to exagerate the failures and minimise the successes. That is poor.

  62. imran khan — on 25th April, 2009 at 8:30 am  

    Kenan Malik – “As the quote that you yourself have pulled out of my article shows, what I was speaking for were the rights of individuals not being dependent on their political views. Even you must see that restricting someone’s rights because of their political opinions would affect Muslims probably even more than it would affect racists. In fact it already does – laws such as the ‘glorifying terrorism’ part of the Terrorism Act are used to target radical Islamists.”

    So you spoke up for the right of the individual BNP members. So nice of you.

    Strange then that you find time to do that and yet have failed to address the rights of say Daud Abdullah to express his opinion and not be dictated to by Hazel Blears regarding his right of free speech andhis individual rights not to be smeared by a cabinet minister who lacks proof for what she says. Highlight your article on this please as you say you love speaking for individual liberty.

    Why the muted response there?

    You say you are for the liberty of the individual but again here your own writing show this isn’t the case. Where are the articles regarding the rights of those who question the holocaust to speak out freely and the fact they are being denied and hounded to say what is deemed correct? Why so quiet on that issue?

    Is it that would upset your new friends?

    As I said your articles question the Muslim community and the funding they get but fail hugely to address the wider picture. Why did you not then look at the wider picture and question funding for Holocaust Memorial Day? Was it that would upset your new “liberal” right wing friends?

    BTW I don’t have an issue with the funding for Holocaust Memorial Day but am questioning the hypocracy of people who when they question funding for cultural events always always target funding for Muslims, Black and other ethnics.

    Why is that you don’t question the increasing influence of think tanks who are unelected individuals who push and lobby for policy?

    Why is it that in your years of writing you haven’t properly questioned the influence of unelected individuals at the heart of the Blair Government who influence policy and who now do the same in the Conservative Party and the Boris Mayoral Team?

    Do you seriously think that Munira Mirza isn’t influenced by Policy Exchange who are unelected and yet wield tremedous power in the Labour Leadership and the Tory party?

    The vast majority of your work is targeted about Muslims who don’t make up the majority of the country but it gets notice and attention so you write mainly about that without looking at the wider issue.

  63. Refresh — on 25th April, 2009 at 1:45 pm  

    Kenan Malik,

    This exclusive extract is unbelievable tripe. Not once do you note or recognise the astonishing levels of upheaval the whole country faced over that period, which played a much bigger role in the disaffection of the working class across the board. That upheaval was the disassembly of the manufacturing base which hit the midlands and the north disproportionately. By removing the recognised workplace also removed an appropriate meeting point for all communities, the defanging of trade unions removed also a central organising forum for grievances.

    The creation of the underclass, ‘a price worth paying’ was the outcome.

    The narrative you wish to sustain is an irrelevance and may only just give you credibility in some quarters. But to dismiss the longterm effects of Thatcherite policies is criminal.

  64. Kenan Malik — on 26th April, 2009 at 9:20 am  

    Imran Khan: Why, you ask, don’t I stand up for Muslims whose right to free speech is threatened? What, like this? http://www.kenanmalik.com/essays/bergens_lyrical.html. Or this? http://www.kenanmalik.com/essays/spiked_fatwa_extract.html. Perhaps you should read my articles before commenting on them.

    As for upsetting my ‘new liberal right wing friends’, they seem pretty upset anyway. Douglas Murray of the Centre for Social Cohesion complains in the latest issue of Literary Review (unfortunately not online) that I treat Martin Amis, Daniel Pipes and Mark Steyn ‘shoddily’ (and even suggests that Steyn should sue me for comments I made about him). When Islamists and Islamophobes are both so upset, I reckon I must have it about right.

    Refresh (#63): True, I didn’t mention Thatcher and the Tory assault on the working class in this piece. But your comment is a bit like someone watching a trailer for a film and complaining that some of the plot is missing. This was a 1000-word extract taken from a 70,000 word book, and one in which I was looking at the consequence of Birmingham Council policy in response to the original Handsworth riot, not the causes of that riot. In any case, the irony is that multiculturalism was not a response to Thatcherism, but a response by both the Conservative government and Labour local authorities to the anger created by racism. And, so, yes there is plenty of discussion of Thatcher, the Tories, racism, unemployment and much else in the other 69,000 words of the book – but none of it makes multiculturalism any less disastrous as a political policy.

  65. Faisal — on 26th April, 2009 at 12:21 pm  

    Kenan

    A scanned PDF of Douglas Murray’s Lit Review piece is on the CSC website.

    Murray is incensed that Martin Amis is “dragged over the coals again” because of that dubious ‘thought experiment’, Daniel Pipes’ is “misrepresented” and poor old Mark Steyn, who has been through a long court case should consider “legal action” because Kenan states that Steyn, in his bestselling book ‘America Alone’, “seems ambivalent about the use of violence against Muslims”.

    Says Murray: “But Steyn has spent much of last year in a Canadian court, in a case brought by a group of opportunistic young Muslims who wanted to curtail his right to freedom of speech. Despite winning the day, I suspect he might want to avoid courts for a while”.

    It might also force Steyn to check his the facts before he makes blanket pronouncements about people. This is his reaction to my review of Kenan’s book on CiF.

    “In those days, Faisal Gazi was one of the chaps shouting “Death to Rushdie!” Now he’s on the payroll of The Guardian (and not their only fatwa alumnus, if memory serves).”

    I am certainly not on the Guardian payroll. he is keen to expose me as a “fatwa alamnus”, or one of the Muslims shouting for the burning of The Satanic Verses. Hardly an exposé when I’m admitting it myself in the first paragraph of my article. Its a strange paradox when Conservatives like Murray think we have to learn liberal values from bigots who advocate violence against Muslims.

    I wonder if Murray would recommend me to take “legal action” against Steyn?

  66. Chris Williams — on 26th April, 2009 at 7:34 pm  

    I note that the reviewer manages to imply in the final paragraph that Bungawala retains his 20-year old support for the fatwa against Rushdie, when in fact he’s distanced himself from it, and appears to be as one with the reviewer on the issue of ‘freedom to be offended.’ But the truth wouldn’t fit in with the Manichean world-view that the LR want to portray here, would it?

  67. imran khan — on 26th April, 2009 at 10:15 pm  

    Kenan Malik – Two articles from an entire website do not represent a balanced approach to the issues.

    You won’t address the main issues about the senastionalist approach to your work.

    “When Islamists and Islamophobes are both so upset, I reckon I must have it about right.”

    Again that may keep you happy but in between sit us normal Muslims who are not Islamists and not Islamophobes and we have to live with the outcome of these battles and no you haven’t go it right and you know that.

    The fact is that if your yardstick is Islamists and Islamophobes then sadly that is a pretty low place to start.

    I have read your articles and as I said its typical of someone who has had a fallng out with the left and insists on now blaming any ethnic or religious groups the left side with and targetting them without haveing the vision to tackle to wider issues which are raised above and which in your eloquent prose you are failing to address.

  68. imran khan — on 26th April, 2009 at 10:20 pm  

    Faisal “Sid” – The fact is that people simply don’t have the courage to question Murray’s own influence from abroad and where this ideology is coming from.

    This allows Murray to push forth his view with little investigative reporting.

    Would Panorama have the courage to do an expose on the links of these individuals and think tanks to foreign ideology which has its links to the neocon and right wing movement?

    The fact is that Kenan Malik whilst trying to address an issue reverts to the easy form to pick on Muslims and not look or even discuss the wider picture and again fails like the right to acknowledge or highlight sufficiently the success of multiculturalism.

    The easy target is the Muslims and that lacks a discussion on the wider picture.

  69. douglas clark — on 26th April, 2009 at 10:39 pm  

    Imran Khan,

    What might be quite worrying for ‘The Muslims’ is for you to be their spokesman.

    You are yet another demigod with no-one behind him.

  70. douglas clark — on 26th April, 2009 at 10:59 pm  

    Och, why should I care? I am Scottish and we certainly have grievancies. Our Muslim population seems to share our grievancies. And our aspirations…

    So, stuff you, Imran Khan…..

  71. Sunny — on 27th April, 2009 at 2:09 am  

    Imran – bizarre that rather than reading what people are writing, your excessive defensiveness makes it impossible to take your points seriously.

    I think you made some good points earlier about the Jewish museum, but I think that has also been answered later by soru.

    It’s a complicated issue – and shouting and accusing people (kenan especially) of things he hasn’t said won’t help your cause.

  72. imran khan — on 27th April, 2009 at 7:14 am  

    Sunny – “It’s a complicated issue – and shouting and accusing people (kenan especially) of things he hasn’t said won’t help your cause.”

    With respect I know he is your friend but the points are valid and he won’t address them and they are not defensive they are legitimate issues he is avoiding addressing.

    His issue with the left shouldn’t affect his view on multiculturalism and racism. He won’t answer questions on why the major focus on the Muslim community when there are many minority communities.

    He isn’t addressing his own relationship with the aggrieved ex-leftists who now attack anyone the left backs. These are fair questions and form a crucial point from where to view his writing.

    I don’t have a cause but rather am concerned by the fact you are giving so much time and space to people who are simply ex-leftist people who now have issues with the left and are taking it out via Muslims.

    Again Kenan Malik is failing to answer why he minimised (in sensationalist fashion) fails to acknowledge the success of multiculturalism.

  73. imran khan — on 27th April, 2009 at 7:15 am  

    Douglas – “I am Scottish and we certainly have grievancies. Our Muslim population seems to share our grievancies. And our aspirations…”

    What might be quite worrying for ‘The Scottish’ is for you to be their spokesman.

    You are yet another demigod with no-one behind him who keeps telling people they have no one behind them.

  74. imran khan — on 27th April, 2009 at 7:21 am  

    Oh and Sunny here is another point that people seem to accept without question. The way things work are that someone insulting Islam like say Rushdie or Wilders is excerising freedom of speech.

    Then someone defending Muslims or Islam is defensive, a lefty, won’t accept freedom of speech, is a threat to western values or any other heap of crap.

    The rules are you can insult Muslims or Islam and build a decent media career and if you defend Islam well you are a threat to the entire concept of western democracy.

    Why isn’t that also freedom of speech?

    Malik’s failure like Panorama before them is a failure to investigate and analyse the methodology of the right and the aggrieved ex-left to deny the freedom of Muslims to reply to their nonsense.

    The points made are all valid and highlight the failings in Maliks latest work to address and balance the wide issues correctly.

  75. douglas clark — on 27th April, 2009 at 9:27 am  

    imran khan @ 73,

    Point taken.

    I have no more right to talk for all Scots than you have to talk for all Muslims.

    Perhaps we should both learn a lesson from this?

    Touché mate.

  76. douglas clark — on 27th April, 2009 at 9:46 am  

    imran khan @ 74,

    Bloody hell, do you ever read links? Kenan Malik made your point rather more forcibly, and I’d hesitate to say this, rather better, in the link he gave at:

    http://www.kenanmalik.com/essays/spiked_fatwa_extract.html

    That is the whole point.

    I am so annoyed with you that I’m about to buy his bloody book!

  77. bananabrain — on 27th April, 2009 at 9:52 am  

    imran, i sense that your heart is really in the right place, but would it kill you to just once stick to the topic and not divert it onto what the person you’re arguing with may or may not have said in condemnation of other people with whom you think they ought to disagree? you seem to have this tendency towards whataboutery which really gets in the way of what are sometimes quite good points. i am sure that if you look hard enough you can find some inconsistency in positioning or some evidence of hypocrisy or double standards, but it’s all essentially playing the “man” rather than the “ball”. “is the argument a good one?” that’s what i want to know, not “is the argument consistent with the arguments you’ve made elsewhere about people, subjects and situations which might be considered similar?” – because i don’t think we really learn a great deal about the argument that way.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  78. Imran Khan — on 27th April, 2009 at 10:18 am  

    Douglas @76.

    Whilst trying to stay calm with you I reiterate the point that Kenan Malik is failing to look at the bigger picture and I didn’t want to say this but his work is limited and poor because it is more tabloid journalism than balanced research.

    If thats what you like then by the bloody book.

    His failure to present a balanced and more complete picture betrays the serious discussion needed on the subject.

    The overall failure to look at the positive and not just the negative of multicultural policy. The amount of space given to the negative and the compartive lack of space given to the positive all make this an incomplete piece.

    This ties into his previous works which are overwhelmingly aimed at criticising Muslims and without simlar redress to be critical of government and other areas such as think tanks and the influence they have on free speech and the rights of the individual.

    Look Douglas frankly what is being advocated by the right and then pushed by people who want to build or maintain their media presence is the sort of nonsense that goes on in the USA where the sole focus is the USA and not the world around them. Where a President barely knows where countries are.

    I’m not saying taht religious or racial communities can’t do better – they can – but equally things are not as dire as are being portrayed by a bunch of people who have issues with the left and are then targetting those the left side with.

    In fact this is the irony, the left has limited influence on this government and yet when anything goes wrong its Guardian readers who are blamed when in fact it has limited influence. Its a way of silencing criticism.

    I heard it on the Radio this morning with regards to the Ghurka’s that it was all the fault of Guardian readers.

    Similarly the trend of Kenan Malik’s intellectual and coffee set is that the only good religious grouping is the Judeo-Christian one and all others are an imminent threat to Western Civilisation as we know it. Yet Kenan Malik fails miserably to even look at this issue and address it.

    The ghettoing of some Muslims is down to a number of factors and not just multiculturalism, if anything this is the leats likely factor. Both the community and government are to blame and shifting blame to multiculturalism won’t address the issue. The overriding reason for this is lack of education and the failure of Muslim students in tersm of exam results which means they often end up unemployed. Multiculturalism encourages education and therefore is the claim that in the case of Muslism it isn’t encouraging education!

    Its this type of shoddy thinking that is leading to a failure to address the issue and instead the right and aggrieved ex-lefties are simply using the issue to target policy they don’t like much as happened during the lead up to the Gulf war.

    Even companies see the benefit of multiculturalism and are using it for business benefit and yet we are being told that government shouldn’t be using the same approach. In a world where fear breeds extremism and where due to modern communications we are coming closer together we need to know more about each other.

    If you look at the fear politics of the right in america that is leading to more ghettoisation and now they want to bring it here. The fear poltics has led to white only towns and people who have a fear of learnign about other cultures and mixing with people of other races.

    Instead of looking in a balanced way of an important debate we have so called writers and intellectuals taking short cuts and producing reports and pieces of work that in academia would be rejected as incomplete and yet are being praised here.

  79. faisal — on 27th April, 2009 at 10:24 am  

    douglas

    the link to that extract you posted is one of the fundamental points made by the book – that it is Muslims who have suffered most from the curtailing of freedom of expression since it has now criminalises their own thought experiments. But Malik makes many more like it. It is an absolutely superb book and I would recommend it to anyone. But a reading of it would probably be most valuable to folks like Imran Khan but I doubt he will read it.

    It is a call that has been taken up by Newt Gingrich, former Republican speaker of the House of Representatives. He has demanded the rewriting of the First Amendment to ‘break up [the terrorists’] capacity to use free speech’. With the criminalizing of criticism of Islam has come the criminalizing of Islamic dissent. With the ban on incitement to religious hatred has come the ban on the glorification of terrorism. Far from specifically targeting Muslims, the law is taking it upon itself to determine what anyone, Muslim or non-Muslim, can say about others.

    Many of those who opposed the law against the glorification of terror supported the criminalizing of religious hatred as a protection for a beleaguered minority. Many of those who opposed the religious hatred law as infringing legitimate speech supported constraints on the glorification of terrorism as a necessary measure in the post-9/11 age. We cannot have it both ways. If we invite the state to define the boundaries of acceptable speech, we cannot complain if it is not just speech to which we object that gets curtailed. If the twenty years since the Rushdie affair have taught us anything, it should be that.

  80. Imran Khan — on 27th April, 2009 at 10:36 am  

    Sid – “the link to that extract you posted is one of the fundamental points made by the book – that it is Muslims who have suffered most from the curtailing of freedom of expression since it has now criminalises their own thought experiments.”

    Coming from someone who backed Hazel Blears against Daud Abdullah its a bit bloody rich for you to be coming here and saying the book is for freedom of speech of Muslims. When your favourite minister did the complete opposite.

    What you can’t seem to grasp is that Kenan Malik’s singular focus is on Muslims rather than looking at the wider picture.

    He fails to compare fairly or in similar proportion the positive as well as the negative of multicultural policy.

    He fails to look at history and the world wide cases of policy for and against multiculturalism to see the effects.

    Again your fail to grasis the fact that Kenan Malik may have written in some small way on the issue you highlight but overwhelmingly his work is sensationalist against Muslims.

    The fact that his Channel 4 programme made a mention that there was Islamophobia pales into insignificance when he spends most of his time saying that claims of Islamophobia is exagerated makes his acknowledgement of the issue a tiny token gesture.

    Its the same here where he spends a majority of his time shifting blame to multiculturalism and then a tiny amount of space for the righst of Muslims.

    The fact is that you’ll never accept what I am saying because you don’t want to see it.

  81. douglas clark — on 27th April, 2009 at 10:45 am  

    Imran Khan,

    Look.

    I agree with you about ‘think tanks’.

    I think I largely agree with you about the USA, or at least it’s media culture. (Although the current President probably has a better idea of geography than his predecessor :-) )

    I agree with you that ‘fear politics’ are a ridiculous, playing to the crowd.

    I am completely against ghettoisation, which I think you also agree with. Quite how we defeat that is what this thread ought to be about, I think. You have your views, I have mine. I wouldn’t be discussing this at all if I wasn’t open to persuasion. Whether you are or not is a bit of a moot point in what passes for my brain….

    I do not think that Kenan Malik is quite the person you say he is. He is, for instance, a particularily good author. And he doesn’t seem to me to be unwilling to get down and dirty in the comments thread. Which means, for the lack of doubt, that he defends what he writes. You don’t get that from Madeleine Bunting, say. It is for these reasons that I respect what he has to say.

    What he is saying, and he’ll no doubt correct me if I am wrong, is that communalism, perhaps justified in the instant, is nowhere to go for the future.

    (If I have missed replying to any of your arguements, please excuse me. I only have one lifetime.)

  82. faisal — on 27th April, 2009 at 10:53 am  

    Coming from someone who backed Hazel Blears against Daud Abdullah its a bit bloody rich for you to be coming here and saying the book is for freedom of speech of Muslims. When your favourite minister did the complete opposite.

    Daud Abdullah has every right to say what he wants.

    I do not oppose his right to say what he wants. I oppose him on because I do not agree with his views, and I oppose him because he is an unelected community leader who has benefited from dangerous government-backed illusion (an illusion which goes some 20 years) that he speaks on behalf of Muslims.

    There is a fundamental difference which you need to understand.

  83. Katy Newton — on 27th April, 2009 at 10:57 am  

    I do not oppose his right to say what he wants. I oppose him on because I do not agree with his views

    It’s amazing how many people don’t understand this distinction. Disagreeing with someone is not the same as saying they shouldn’t be allowed to say what they think!

  84. bananabrain — on 27th April, 2009 at 11:00 am  

    imran,

    your posts #78 & #80 illustrate my points exactly; it’s all “relative to” and “comparative to”, “what the right does” and “coming from someone who”. why can’t you address the actual arguments? it would make a much better debate.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  85. douglas clark — on 27th April, 2009 at 11:08 am  

    faisal, (Sid?) @ 79,

    I am about to buy his book. The extracts I have read have been amongst the best authorship (is that a word?) I have encountered. So, five stars from me on Amazon. :-)

  86. douglas clark — on 27th April, 2009 at 11:18 am  

    Bought the book. As a hardback, just because.

  87. Imran Khan — on 27th April, 2009 at 11:20 am  

    Sid – “I do not oppose his right to say what he wants. I oppose him on because I do not agree with his views, and I oppose him because he is an unelected community leader who has benefited from dangerous government-backed illusion (an illusion which goes some 20 years) that he speaks on behalf of Muslims.

    There is a fundamental difference which you need to understand.”

    No you supported Blears interpretation of what he said and that was false which is why her arse is now going to court at the taxpayers expense.

    Its a difference you’ve never quite understood.

    Katy – “It’s amazing how many people don’t understand this distinction. Disagreeing with someone is not the same as saying they shouldn’t be allowed to say what they think!”

    No the disagreement was over their made-up interpretation over what he said even after he had clarified on Newsnight they insisted he said what they claimed he said rather than his support of some vague statement. Which is why Blears is being sued and if Sid chose to repeat his remarks in the Guardian he would be party to the same case.

    Bananabrain – “your posts #78 & #80 illustrate my points exactly; it’s all “relative to” and “comparative to”, “what the right does” and “coming from someone who”. why can’t you address the actual arguments? it would make a much better debate.”

    I have addressed the argument and continue to do so. I shall repeat it for you again – it is shoddy research to blame multiculturalism for the ghettoisation of some communities. Is that clear enough for you?

    It is shoddy research to devote an disproportionate amount of research to the failure of multicultturalism whilst failing to highlight in a sufficient way the successes. This means the writer is simply leading his readership to reach a preset conclusion. Is that clear enough for you?

    The fact is that through multiculturalism we know more about each other and this helps prevent ghettoisation and not the other way round.

    It is also fair comment to question why people who are upset with the left choose to blame and marginalise Muslims for issues they have with the left. Its grossly unfair and needs to be addressed.

  88. faisal — on 27th April, 2009 at 11:41 am  

    No you supported Blears interpretation of what he said and that was false which is why her arse is now going to court at the taxpayers expense.

    Its a difference you’ve never quite understood.

    Even if it were true imran khan, that I opposed Daud Abdulah because I am a hopeless Hazel Blears flunky, how do you figure that to be a curtailment of Daud Abdullah’s freedom of speech?

    The issue here is the differences of interpretations of the Istanbul Decleration and Abdullah’s intentions for signing it. The irony is that Abdullah belongs to the MCB which campaigned for the installment of the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006. A piece of legislation which would ban the Danish cartoons and would call for the ban of books which insult religion in general, but Islam in particular. So it seems a little strange that he should now be taking the government to court to seek to ban various uncomplimentary interpretations of his intentions for signing the Istanbul Decleration, which, if one interpretation is correct, legitimises attacks on British naval vessels in “Muslim waters”.

    British libel law is the biggest threat to freedom of speech.

  89. douglas clark — on 27th April, 2009 at 11:45 am  

    imran khan,

    I do not understand the nuances of it, but Daud Abdullah was foolish in the extreme to sign that document if he didn’t think what he is accused of thinking, if you see what I mean.

    Here is a Guardian article on the subject. Perhaps you could break the habits of a lifetime and read a link?

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/mar/08/daud-abdullah-gaza-middle-east

    If you can’t be bothered, then, for the benefit of anyone else reading this, the Department of Communities and Local Government said this:

    “We are aware of the conference held in Istanbul last month and are very concerned that the statement from the event calls for direct support for acts of violence in the Middle East and beyond. We are also aware that a senior member of the MCB may have been a signatory to this statement. If it is proven that the individual concerned had been a signatory, we would expect [the MCB] to ask him to resign and to confirm its opposition to acts of violent extremism.”

    It is kind of hard to imagine why, exactly, you are supporting him.

    Do you work for, or on behalf of, the MCB?

  90. douglas clark — on 27th April, 2009 at 12:01 pm  

    I agree with Faisal that bringing up libel law is a deliberate attempt to curtail free speech. So, sue me!

  91. Imran Khan — on 27th April, 2009 at 12:04 pm  

    Sid – “Even if it were true imran khan, that I opposed Daud Abdulah because I am a hopeless Hazel Blears flunky, how do you figure that to be a curtailment of Daud Abdullah’s freedom of speech?”

    He was a fool to sign such a document taht much is clear. But the bullyign which followed led by Blears was in fact an attempt to restrict his freedom of speech. The smearing will surely restrict freedom of speech simply because people will fear anything be presented as out of context.

    It is much like in the USA where Fox News has made questioning any decision taken by Bush as unpatriotic which restricts freedom of speech.

    Abdullah was foolish for signing a vague document but he shouldn’t have been smeared as he was as that in the long term restricts freedom of speech as people become fearful of saying or supporting something.

    Douglas – As I said to you before if you can’t be polite then don’t bother discussing with me.

    I don’t work for the MCB and I don’t support them. But I don’t like people being smeared unfairly so I will speak out against that. To be smeared by a government minister is appalling and not something we should support.

    The government is not here to smear people because they excerise their right to free speech and that is an appalling violation and is going by unchecked due to the policies of the right in America.

  92. Imran Khan — on 27th April, 2009 at 12:08 pm  

    Douglas – “I agree with Faisal that bringing up libel law is a deliberate attempt to curtail free speech. So, sue me!”

    If you are so adament he made those claims then I suggest you and Sid make the claims in the Guardian and he’ll sue you as well.

    Hiding behind free speech to smear people is freedom to smear and means that people’s characters can be assisnated with impunity.

    He was silly to sign the declaration but supporting a minister who has smeared a member of the public is not defenisble and this was after he had made clear what he meant by his support.

    Hazel Blears has done the debate and the concept of freedom of speech no favours so your support of her is suprising.

  93. faisal — on 27th April, 2009 at 12:14 pm  

    He was a fool to sign such a document taht much is clear. But the bullyign which followed led by Blears was in fact an attempt to restrict his freedom of speech. The smearing will surely restrict freedom of speech simply because people will fear anything be presented as out of context.

    He received criticism for signing a document that actively legitmises attacks on British interests based on the wording of the dociment that he signed.

    That to my mind makes his position as a representative of British Muslims untenable. The MCB’s role in this affair was also questionable.

  94. douglas clark — on 27th April, 2009 at 12:24 pm  

    imran khan,

    Don’t take the high ground with me! I have been abjectly polite to you, at least since I lost it with your Aborigine arguement.

    If you don’t like the questions, don’t answer them.

    Is it an insult to ask you whether or not you work for the MCB? Or that you don’t appear to read links?

    There is an interesting issue in the middle of all this. What Dr Daud Abdullah did was sign a statement. Whether he did that on behalf of the MCB, or whether it was later deniable is interesting. But what is more interesting is that his signature to that document means that he felt he had a right to speak – in his terms – on your behalf. You don’t agree with it.

    He was a fool to sign such a document taht much is clear.

    So, why defend him?

    This, it seems to me at least, is a case too far. As you rightly called me on speaking for all Scots, similarily should Dr Abdullah not be called into question when he signs a document? He clearly doesn’t speak for all UK Muslims, you included.

  95. Imran Khan — on 27th April, 2009 at 12:32 pm  

    Sid – “He received criticism for signing a document that actively legitmises attacks on British interests based on the wording of the dociment that he signed.

    That to my mind makes his position as a representative of British Muslims untenable. The MCB’s role in this affair was also questionable.”

    With respect why do you insist on shape shifting to suit your own poor position.

    That isn’t what is being discussed. What is on discussion is the smearing by your girl Blears without basis and how that restricts freedom of speech.

    As I said if you have positive proof that he advocated what she alledged and at the time you vainly tried to support that you report it to the Police – somethign you have failed to do.

    If you are so convinced by what she alledged and you claim then write it in the Guardian and lets see what happens in court.

    You are desperatly trying whataboutery to deflect from the fact that smearing people stifles freedom of speech.

    She smeared him and her arse is being sued and you can in your new post do the same but you won’t. Either report him to the Police as you say you have proof or writye about it and lose your house. Either way prove it or accepty it isn’t the way to ensure freedom of speech.

    Her actions alone may lead to a further erosion of freedom of speech.

    Freedom of speech also has to be truthful and her claims were far from it. If you remember events, he signed it, she raised a concern and asked for clarification. He clarified on Newsnight in front of Keith Vaz at which point Paxman attacked the Government position and hypocracy in settign one position for Muslim Organisations and One for Jewish Organisations. Vaz refused to answer.

    Having got the clarification and egged on by the right she then went a stpe further and made the claims about attacks on Jews worldwide which was a smear and he sued.

    She didn’t sue him – he sued her for libel which means he thinks she lied.

    That isn’t freedom of speech that is stupidity.

    The whole questions you raise about community organisations and unelected representatives is nothing to do with this discussion. I don’t like the MCB and I don’t like what he said but he has right to say it and she has a right to refute it. She doesn’t have a right to use false statements to make her point – it really is that simple.

    Douglas – if you looked objectively instead of from the Sid Fan Club you’d see that making up false stories is just poor politics which is exactly what she did. It also shows the fact she isn’t fit for position because there was so much about the MCB she could have said so why resort to false smears?

  96. Imran Khan — on 27th April, 2009 at 12:38 pm  

    Douglas – “As you rightly called me on speaking for all Scots, similarily should Dr Abdullah not be called into question when he signs a document? He clearly doesn’t speak for all UK Muslims, you included.”

    You don’t get it do you. Its simple he can be called into question for signing the document and I have no problem with you, Sid or anyone else doing that. I don’t have a problem with Blears doing that.

    What I do have a problem with is why she had to smear him when he had made clear that he didn’t mean that. What was the need for that as part of the discussion.

    She is taking her cue from right wing think tanks and blogs who believe that these organisations have no position to defend and thus anything can be said about them.

    Surely you accept that she shouldn’t make up false allegations especially after the issue was clarified.

    Why did she feel a need to use smears instead of proper arguments?

  97. douglas clark — on 27th April, 2009 at 12:38 pm  

    imran khan,

    I realise we don’t exactly see eye to eye, but your post at 92 is exactly what I, and I think Sid, are talking about. The appeal to law, rather than reason is not a particularily attractive feature of the rich. And libel law is their blunt instruement of choice for shutting down debate.

    Off topic, but extremely relevant, is Ben Goldacres run in with a rich thug:

    http://www.badscience.net/2009/04/matthias-rath-steal-this-chapter/

    (It’s even worse, not only would you need to click the link, you’d also need to download a document! Heavens!)

  98. douglas clark — on 27th April, 2009 at 12:49 pm  

    Imran Khan @ 96,

    Fair enough, I have no arguement with that beyond the fact that Dr Daud Abdullah should limit himself to representing only himself in the future. As I said, I don’t know the nuances of the case. Ministers should not smear people and perhaps, in this case, a Court of Law is needed to sort out the wheat from the chaff.

    ———————————————–

    And I detest right wing think tanks. It is almost a contradiction in terms. Just so’s you know we agree about something….

  99. Imran Khan — on 27th April, 2009 at 12:49 pm  

    Douglas – You are talking nonsense. If someone is lied about then they should have the right to redress though the courts.

    People’s lives can get ruined.

    She was wrong its that simple.

    Daud Abdullah’s views can be refuted by fair debate and there is no need to resort to smears. Noone would like that.

    The Catholic chap that came here a while back was refuted by debate and argument and not by smears.

    What she did wasn’t debate or refutation it was smear. You wouldn’t like it if anyone did that to you and I wouldn’t like it if they did it to me so lets not accept it and then say its a restriction of freedom of speech.

    The press and politicians are wonderful at making this argument because it suits them most. If there were no libel laws then it would be open season and people’s lives could be made hell witholut redress.

  100. Sunny — on 27th April, 2009 at 12:55 pm  

    It’s amazing how many people don’t understand this distinction. Disagreeing with someone is not the same as saying they shouldn’t be allowed to say what they think!

    This may be true, but its a bit bizarre then that the govt should be cheered on to ignore views it doesn’t like – which is essentially what Harry’s Place was doing.

    Even when I launched the NGN manifesto I said the govt should listen to the MCB among other more progressive voices. Its not really a democracy if the govt is encouraged to only listen to those people it likes. I think that’s what imran’s beef is. And no one really challenged the HP line and cheerleading.

  101. Imran Khan — on 27th April, 2009 at 12:59 pm  

    Sid – “That to my mind makes his position as a representative of British Muslims untenable. The MCB’s role in this affair was also questionable.”

    Agreed. Now can you tell me if that point should be debated/questioned or a Minister should instead resort to smear especially after he has clarified his position.

    Is debate and the freedom to discuss such things the right way to go or is smear and innuendo the right way to go.

    Why can’t you understand that with so much she could have said why resort to smears?

    If smearing is the way to go then you’ll find more and more restrictions on freedom of speech.

    If she loses this case then there is every chance that Ministers in future will get restrictions on what they can say without prte-approval which is another slippery step to reducing free speech.

    She was wrong and we need to recognise that. That is all I am asking.

    She can debate with him on the points, she can call him naive for signing such a document. She cannot resort to smears.

  102. douglas clark — on 27th April, 2009 at 1:01 pm  

    imran khan @ 99,

    Eh!

    Am I just not after saying that at 98?

    What interpretation do you put on my words:

    As I said, I don’t know the nuances of the case. Ministers should not smear people and perhaps, in this case, a Court of Law is needed to sort out the wheat from the chaff.

    If you think the courts are a neutral territory in terms of libel law I suggest you really do read the link I provided at 97. The Guardians costs run to half a million bucks. Why do you think Sunny and Rumbold and co are so cautious about what they allow here?

  103. Imran Khan — on 27th April, 2009 at 1:06 pm  

    Douglas @ 98 – it is fair to question if he spoke for himself or the MCB and again I think that point needs to be clarified.

    My comment at 99 was in response to 94.

    As regards freedom of speech – I don’t have an issue with that. But lets not hold essays and research that is simply designed to lead people to a preset conclusion as the holy grail.

    As regards reading links – I do read them but we all have a different opinion on what the position is.

    I still hold that Kenan Malik’s work is lopsided to magnify failings in multiculturalism and minimise its positive effects. The positive effects are being used by industry now and they don’t spend money unless they have to. We can all do well to learn about each other as we are not all the same.

  104. douglas clark — on 27th April, 2009 at 1:19 pm  

    Imran Khan,

    You know what? I don’t even need to check the spelling of your name anymore.

    I’ll read Kenan Maliks book when it arrives, and I’ll keep your thoughts about it in mind.

    I do think that the link I provided you with at 97 is a textbook example of what is wrong with libel laws in this country. And, no, I do not have an answer. Although if libel actions were paid for through the state I think, like to think, we’d see some quick changes!

  105. bananabrain — on 27th April, 2009 at 1:20 pm  

    imran,

    you’re not making much sense now.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  106. faisal — on 27th April, 2009 at 1:31 pm  

    Agreed. Now can you tell me if that point should be debated/questioned or a Minister should instead resort to smear especially after he has clarified his position.

    We have come so far down the road of unelected representation by “religious” leaders who base their leadership on tribal affiliations like Daud Abdullah, that when they do something execrable or just plain wrong, those who criticise them will be held more blameworthy than the leaders themselves, because criticising them personally or even in the capacity of representatives is to criticise the entire “Muslim” community.

  107. bananabrain — on 27th April, 2009 at 2:40 pm  

    The Catholic chap that came here a while back was refuted by debate and argument and not by smears.

    you mean the protocols-monger, right? well, imran, you did a bloody good job on that thread, because you smacked his argument all over the shop, without a trace of whataboutery. it’s not like you can’t do it when you try!

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  108. Kenan Malik — on 27th April, 2009 at 3:20 pm  

    Sunny (# 100): ‘Its not really a democracy if the govt is encouraged to only listen to those people it likes. I think that’s what imran’s beef is. And no one really challenged the HP line and cheerleading.’

    Actually, I have said in my book (in a section that, as it happens, was reposted on Harry’s Place):

    ‘There is nothing wrong, or unusual, in government ministers talking
    to Islamist, or even jihadist, groups. But the British government went further: it presented such organizations as authentic representatives of British Muslims and used its financial muscle to force independent Muslim bodies to deal with its pet projects.’

    In other words, the problem is not that the government should not speak to people or organizations with odious views – that is a necessary part of democratic government – but that it should not misrepresent those to whom it speaks – whether or not it approves of their views – and use its relationship with ‘community leaders’ to undermine democracy.

    Now, I doubt if I’m going to make any headway with Imran Khan about my supposed ‘sensationalism about Muslims’ or his belief that I am taking it out on Muslims because I have issues with the left (actually, I still am on the left, and always have been). But one area of fruitful debate might be about multiculturalism, so here goes…

    Imran says ‘it is shoddy research to blame multiculturalism for the ghettoisation of some communities… It is shoddy research to devote an disproportionate amount of research to the failure of multiculturalism whilst failing to highlight in a sufficient way the successes. This means the writer is simply leading his readership to reach a preset conclusion… The fact is that through multiculturalism we know more about each other and this helps prevent ghettoisation and not the other way round.’

    To see why this is wrong, let me start with the distinction that I made earlier in this thread between diversity as lived experience and multiculturalism as political process. Diversity as lived experience is to be celebrated. It is an argument for open borders and open minds. That is why I have always supported mass immigration and indeed open borders. See for instance: http://www.kenanmalik.com/essays/bergens_immigration.html http://www.kenanmalik.com/essays/times_immigration.html
    http:// http://www.kenanmalik.com/tv/analysis_immigration.html

    I have also long challenged the claim that diversity itself is the problem. See for instance: http://www.kenanmalik.com/essays/bergens_putnam.html; http://www.kenanmalik.com/debates/prospect_diversity.html
    (These essays and lectures should also, I hope, lay to rest the charge that somehow I am obsessed by Muslims – I’m not sure if Muslims get one mention in all these pieces).

    At the same I have long been critical of multiculturalism as a political process precisely because it undermines much of what is good about diversity as lived experience. It tends to put minorities into ethnic boxes, ignores diversity within minority communities, often undermines progressive movements, exacerbates old tensions and create new ones.

    It would be great if as Imran suggests ‘through multiculturalism we know more about each other and this helps prevent ghettoisation and not the other way round.’ The trouble is that the opposite happens. Take Bradford. The local authority has introduced what it calls the ‘Linking Project’. So segregated have the town’s schools become that busloads of children are now taken from all-Asian schools to spend a morning at an all-white school and vice versa, because for most children that will be the only time they interact at any great length with children of other communities.

    When we talk about diversity, what we mean is that the world is a messy place, full of clashes and conflicts. That is all for the good, for such clashes and conflicts are the stuff of political and cultural engagement. Diversity, it seems to me, is important, not in and of itself, but because it allows us to expand our horizons, to compare and contrast different values, beliefs and lifestyles, make judgements upon them, and decide which may be better and which may be worse. It is important, in other words, because it allows us to engage in political dialogue and debate that can help create a more universal language of citizenship. But it is precisely such dialogue and debate, and the making of such judgements, that multiculturalism as a political process attempts to suppress in the name of ‘tolerance’ and ‘respect’. The very thing that is valuable about diversity – the clashes and conflicts that it brings about – is what many multiculturalists (in the political sense) most fear. This is one of the reasons that so many of the recent flashpoints over multiculturalism have been over the question of free speech.

    I accept that multicultural policies are not the only problem. But they are a problem. Why do I concentrate on them? Because many people see them as progressive, and it is those people I want to address.

    You may disagree with my arguments. But it is pointless dismissing them as ‘shoddy’ or ‘sensationalist’. I have demonstrated historically and empirically the impact of multicultural policies in places like Birmingham, Bradford and elsewhere. If you want to challenge those arguments you have to show historically and empirically why I am wrong. Over to you.

  109. Imran Khan — on 27th April, 2009 at 4:48 pm  

    Sid – “We have come so far down the road of unelected representation by “religious” leaders who base their leadership on tribal affiliations like Daud Abdullah, that when they do something execrable or just plain wrong, those who criticise them will be held more blameworthy than the leaders themselves, because criticising them personally or even in the capacity of representatives is to criticise the entire “Muslim” community.”

    Please can you answer a simple question. Do you think Daud Abduallah should have been smeared or not?

    It is a yes or no question and doesn’t need whataboutery from you. Its simple either you back Blears smearing or you don’t.

    So please in simple plain yes or no – do you think Blears was right to smear Abdullah?

    Don’t forget now Y or N.

  110. faisal — on 27th April, 2009 at 5:04 pm  

    Please can you answer a simple question. Do you think Daud Abduallah should have been smeared or not?

    And, as I’ve already said quite a few times here and directly to you, Blears was wrong to demand the sacking of Abdullah. But that in no way excuses Abdullah’s decision to sign the ID document while in the capacity of a MCB director.

    Now here’s a simple question to you Imran:

    Do you think Abdullah should remain a director of the MCB after he signed the Istanbul Declaration?

  111. Imran Khan — on 27th April, 2009 at 5:22 pm  

    Douglas – “Off topic, but extremely relevant, is Ben Goldacres run in with a rich thug:

    http://www.badscience.net/2009/04/matthias-rath-steal-this-chapter/

    (It’s even worse, not only would you need to click the link, you’d also need to download a document! Heavens!)”

    Douglas what you have to understand is the simple fact that allowing people unrestricted free-speech can easily undermine democracy itself.

    This is the flipside which happens when people feel they can get away with smearing people:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7995634.stm

    All this person has done is resign and walk-away when he could have destroyed people’s lives, careers and even their chances at election.

    Imagine if he hadn’t been caught and this had gone ahead then he would have effectively subverted democracy and the ability of people to jydge fairly their parlimentary candidate.

    Again this government has a minister that resorts to smears and falsehoods to try and prove a point and make herself the darling of the right.

    No matter what you think of people this is reprehensible behaviour in both cases.

    It can destroy people and I am certain that if it was done to Hazel Blears or Damian McBride or any of us then we wouldn’t like it. It really is that simple.

    Equally where some of restrictions on freespeech then in some circumstances to avoid unsavoury events its better to restrict freespeech. Freespeech has in circumstances led to genocide because people can portray minorities in a way that their murder becomes acceptable.

    Also just because I don’t agree with you it doesn’t mean I don’t read the link. People can view what is written in different ways you know. Heavens above!

  112. Imran Khan — on 27th April, 2009 at 5:30 pm  

    Sid – “Please can you answer a simple question. Do you think Daud Abduallah should have been smeared or not?

    And, as I’ve already said quite a few times here and directly to you, Blears was wrong to demand the sacking of Abdullah. But that in no way excuses Abdullah’s decision to sign the ID document while in the capacity of a MCB director.”

    With respect that isn’t answering the question and you know it. I haven’t asked you about the demand to sack I am asking if you agree with Hazel Blears libelling Daud Abdullah to try and make her point?

    It is a simple question do you think Hazel Blears should smear Daud Abduallah even after he clarified what he meant by saying he advocated attacks on Jews worldwide? Thats a smear when he went on Newsnight before she said it and said in plain English that he did not advocate attacks on Jewish Civilians anywhere in the world. So her follow up was a smear.

    “Now here’s a simple question to you Imran:

    Do you think Abdullah should remain a director of the MCB after he signed the Istan Dec document?”

    Now let me show you how easy it is to answer a question without whataboutery.

    No I don’t think he should remain as director of the MCB. He should clear his name first regarding what he signed.

    If he isn’t sure what he signed then he shouldn’t be a director.

    If what he signed advocated attacks on civilians any civilians then he shouldn’t be a director.

    If what he signed advocated attacks on military trying to keep the peace then he shouldn’t be a director.

    Do you want me to answer any other questions?

  113. faisal — on 27th April, 2009 at 5:52 pm  

    The answer is yes, imran.

    Daud Abdullah was given ample opportunity to discuss the wording of the Istanbul Declaration, *which he had signed*. In both emails to the Guardian and the CiF piece, he disputed the government’s interpretation but did not bother to supply his own interpretation of the Istanbul Declaration. Sure he denies “attacks on British troops” and he is “absolutely opposed to any attack or violence directed against innocent persons of any faith or no faith anywhere in the world”. But nothing on what he understoof the Declaration to be.

    Which may explain why there was so much speculation and yes, smears.

  114. Imran Khan — on 27th April, 2009 at 6:13 pm  

    Sid – “The answer is yes, imran.”

    That is where you and I differ. She is in the wrong and she had ample ground to attack him without the need to resort to smears.

    That to my mind makes her unfit for public office let alone a ministerial role.

    As regards him then yes he too should go until he clears his name and if he doesn’t then he too is unfit for a role at the MCB.

    Then again I think the MCB needs an overhaul anyway as it isn’t doing enough at the grassroots and is simply trying to work at the top level. So it needs a major shakeup.

  115. Imran Khan — on 28th April, 2009 at 7:43 pm  

    Kenan Malik – “Now, I doubt if I’m going to make any headway with Imran Khan about my supposed ‘sensationalism about Muslims’ or his belief that I am taking it out on Muslims because I have issues with the left (actually, I still am on the left, and always have been). But one area of fruitful debate might be about multiculturalism, so here goes…”

    For someone who who complains about the religious groups have a victim mentality you appear to be taking the same approach.

    There isn’t any supposed sensationalism about your writing it was sensationalist like a tabloid newspaper and its a point you won’t answer and are now trying to act like the victim here.

    As I said what stopped you phrasing your work in a less sensationalist way?

    I even gave you alternatives but you wanted sensationalism and now you are playing the victim card to say supposed sensationalism. You could easily have made your point and illustrated your argument without the need to take the approach you did.

    “To see why this is wrong, let me start with the distinction that I made earlier in this thread between diversity as lived experience and multiculturalism as political process. Diversity as lived experience is to be celebrated. It is an argument for open borders and open minds. That is why I have always supported mass immigration and indeed open borders.”

    This is an argument that lacks basis and lacks the ability to understand the dynamics of politics. Just because politicians use multiculturalism as a political tool it doesn’t make it wrong – it makes the politicans wrong. There lies the distinction.

    Politicians will use anything to their own advantage. Blair used and abused democracy for his own agenda does that make democracy wrong?

    Politicians on all sides use research for their own advantage so on the basis of your logic should we ban research!

    What you shoudl be arguing for is to stop political manipulartion of the success of multiculturalism rather than banning it.

    Politicians use the argument that we can’t support any more immigration but the country is hardly a 1/4 full so should we then ban all immigration because politicians are manipulating the argument? You say no but it highlights that politicians are populists.

    “(These essays and lectures should also, I hope, lay to rest the charge that somehow I am obsessed by Muslims – I’m not sure if Muslims get one mention in all these pieces).”

    What percentage of your essays are about Muslims and what percentage are not?

    Showing 4 examples out of how many doesn’t back your argument!

    “It would be great if as Imran suggests ‘through multiculturalism we know more about each other and this helps prevent ghettoisation and not the other way round.’ The trouble is that the opposite happens. Take Bradford. The local authority has introduced what it calls the ‘Linking Project’. So segregated have the town’s schools become that busloads of children are now taken from all-Asian schools to spend a morning at an all-white school and vice versa, because for most children that will be the only time they interact at any great length with children of other communities.”

    Again Kenan you fail to highlight how many multicultural projects have been successful so again sensationalism by using a selective set of examples to reach a preset conclusion. So because Bradford and Birmingham made mistakes we should drop the whole project?

    Come on this is simply poor argument. The Iraq war was wrong, nimrod was a disaster but applyign your logic we should now drop all aspects of defence of this country. Its farcical to suggest that because of mistakes a policy that is widely succesful be dropped.

    As the Chancellor made a mistake with Finance should we now shut down the City of London and all banks!

    You are using a sledge hammer approach where an iron is needed to get rid of difficult creases. Your approach will just cause more creases and more pain and the original crease won’t go away.

    “But it is precisely such dialogue and debate, and the making of such judgements, that multiculturalism as a political process attempts to suppress in the name of ‘tolerance’ and ‘respect’.”
    Nonsense – with your recommendations we’ll get a load of rightists people who won’t know what culture is. We’ll get Americans and elect future Bushes.

    The whole point is that multiculturalism brings about benefits and brings people together, helps with equality and promotes free speech with respect and not smearing and hysteria. In short without multiculturalism it is quite possible for Europe to have another Nazi style genocide. It was the lack of multiculturalism that bred what happened in Bosnia because the government dared not interfere and people didn’t know about each other and so smears about communities couldspread to the point of genocide.

    “But it is precisely such dialogue and debate, and the making of such judgements, that multiculturalism as a political process attempts to suppress in the name of ‘tolerance’ and ‘respect’.”
    Again more hysteria which is largely unfounded. Why should an people have to suffer abuse and racism in the name of free speech? The poltical has to protect people and frankly if it wasn’t there then there is every chance you may not be a lecturer but still stuck in the menial jobs your ancestors were brought over to do. It is because of multiculturalism that society here progressed and people were given a fair chance to progress.

    The cases you are referring to make up a tiny minority. Give us the percentages and not your preset conclusions.

    “You may disagree with my arguments. But it is pointless dismissing them as ‘shoddy’ or ‘sensationalist’. I have demonstrated historically and empirically the impact of multicultural policies in places like Birmingham, Bradford and elsewhere. If you want to challenge those arguments you have to show historically and empirically why I am wrong. Over to you.”

    Again more that isn’t correct and you’ve simply demonstrated that you want us to see what you want to present and not the overall data. The impact of multicultural policies as compared to the rest of the country? Compared to what happened in countries which had no such policies and what social upheavel took place there? Historically what is the comparison?

    What have you proven aside fromthe fact you’ve taken a selective approach, added eloquent prose and presented it as enlightened research. That wouldn’t be acceptable as a PhD Thesis because the data is skewed and lacks comparable analysis of the positives of multiculturalism. I’d call your work unfinished research.

    The fact is that multiculturalism brings business and economic benefit, reduces racial tension, increases this countries ability to operate in a global economy, provides tolerance and respect for culture and races and allows everyone an opportunity to progress.

    When it wasn’t there racism was high, progress was limited and communities were more divided. France is a prime example.

    Just because Bradford and Birmingham went too far doesn’t make the policy incorrect but makes their implementation incorrect.

    So I suggest you put your sledgehammer away and look objectively at the overall benefits of multiculturalism.

    Also all those that want free speech also don’t want to live with the consequences of unrestricted free speech. If you argue for the rigtt of the Danish Cartoonist to produce the cartoons then you have to also accept the right of the Muslim world to stop buying Danish products. You may well support that in academia but without having to deal with the consequences and social upheavel it brought. The Danes who lost their jobs and possible had their lives and families ruined as a consequence. The Danes whose careers were damaged as they could no longer work in other areas of the world.

    Equally the hypocracy of the right when Iran did the holocaust cartoons. What about freedom of speech there?

    BTW I don’t agree with what Iran did but am refering to the hypocracy of people in condemning their use of free speech.

    Kindly point me to your essay in support of Iran? If you support Rushdie and Denmark on freespeech why not Iran?

    Thats how people manipulate the concept and as a direct result of this nonsense well Muslims and Jews have suffered and academics and think tanks (contradiction in term because most don’t think) sip their starbucks and tell us it was worth it as the on going damage is repaired.

    With free speech comes responsibility and the way things are geared its ok for Muslims to be insulted but not the other way round. So how can that be freespeech?

    Blaming multiculturalism and demandign it is dropped will lead to more ghettos and lead to more vilification of communities by the right and left. Do you ever read things like the Daily Mail, Telegraph etc. and wonder what would happen if they had the kind of unfettered hysteria they regularly deploy though the lieks of Mel Phillips? Do you ever wonder why many people don’t take them seriously – its because multiculturalism has slowly broken down barriers and made people learn about each other. To the point that brits love curry and asians love fish and chips, where kebabs are a considered a normal dish and not some foreign delicacy. Where films about Indians are mainstream like Bend it like Beckham.

    This is a country where it is a success and the ghettos are in countries which are trying to learn from us like France, Australia etc. where racial riots are still taking place and you want us to follow their example rather than refining our success to eliminate issues.

    Thats a success and not a failure and no matter how you skew it that is what it is.

  116. Imran Khan — on 28th April, 2009 at 8:31 pm  

    Kenan – can you tell me where you draw the line at free speech. If religions are not able to explain themselves then how do you stop the theory that Jews drink the blood of children, Muslims are violent derranged nutcases, that christians want to convert everyone etc.

    How would you feel if you were portrayed as a lesser human being due to your non-white genes?

    How do you show that racial superiority is wrong?

    There is no funding so who will pay for the eradication of such theories that even now are accepted by people.

    If there is no counter then the belief in these will increase and thus cause social unrest as we saw in the 70′s.

    How do you prevent that without giving politicians a role in the matter?

    Business won’t fund it. Community may not have the funds. So how do you stop the growth in racism and the consequences that brings.

    If you can’t stop it then how do you control community action with say vigliante groups?

    Free speech was used to distort the threat that Iraq posed and led to hundred of thousands of people dyig so is that acceptable?

    If you and your Spiked set are so in support of free speech are you willing to go to Iraq, Rwanda, Brixton even and support total free speech. Are you willing to tell a holocaust survivor that we should give David Irving a chance to deny that their relatives died and its all a fantasy?

    Its all very well writing about it but then put up and stand there and support the consequences.

  117. Kenan Malik — on 28th April, 2009 at 11:25 pm  

    Imran Khan: ‘For someone who complains about the religious groups have a victim mentality you appear to be taking the same approach.’

    I’m not playing the victim, just making clear why I don’t any point in arguing with you on those issues. And as it happens I don’t see any point in arguing with you about multiculturalism either, as you don’t seem to be able to distinguish between a rational argument rooted in facts and mere rhetoric.

    I showed in detail what happens when multicultural policies are introduced in practice. Your response? ‘So because Bradford and Birmingham made mistakes we should drop the whole project?’ The point I’m making about Bradford and Birmingham (and I could have chosen many other places) is that these are not mere ‘mistakes’ but concrete expressions of what happens when such policies are put into practice.

    You keep saying again and again that I ‘fail to highlight how many multicultural projects have been successful’. I hate to tell you this but the idea of a debate is that I put my side of the argument and you put yours. I asked you to show me why I was wrong by putting your side of the case. You could have shown why I was mistaken about Bradford or Birmingham, or why these are not representative or indeed ‘how many multicultural projects have been successful’. You have signally failed to do any of that, but have simply responded again and again with a pagefulls of mindless rhetoric. I’m afraid I’ve got better things to do than engage in debate with someone who doesn’t want to engage in debate.

  118. imran khan — on 29th April, 2009 at 1:31 am  

    Kenan – Lest your forget and amid your jumping around to avoid the subject the debate is about your work.

    If you look at the top the title is:
    “Pickled Exclusive: an extract from Fatwa to Jihad

    by guest on 21st April, 2009 at 11:02 am

    This is an exclusive extract from Kenan Malik’s new book ‘From Fatwa to Jihad: The Rushdie Affair and its Legacy’:”

    So you see it is about your work and the readers critique of that work.

    In your usual grandstanding you won’t address the issues and I have given you examples of multiculturalism and its success and the failure when you don’t do this.

    I’ve asked you questions which you are not answering.

    As usual your rather selective response simply means you just want to stick to your preset position.

    You are here simply to say you are right and haven’t made mistakes.

    Sadly Kenan I’ve raised a number of issues you won’t address so there is little point in trying to carry on with someone who won’t answer questions about his own work and presentation style.

    For someone who claims to advocate freespeech when it confronts you then you don’t want to debate.

    As for your examples well they are around you. London, Manchester, Liverpool even Bradford and Birmingham despite your flawed presentation have largely settled communities.

    Despite your poor narrative and your assertion that communities live in their own ghettos in Birmingham is exposed by the fact that the most popular school in the area is Jewish and half the pupils are Muslim whose parents choose to send them there.

    Any decent critique would balance the negtaive with similar positives to allow the reader of their wokr to be able to form a fuller opinion.

    Your failure to address where you draw the line in scenarios above using your sledge hammer approach was simply to ignore the issue and highlights that you are applying a set of rules to multiculturalism that you don’t apply to oter parts of government.

    Thats not even getting onto the fact that military communities often live separate from the rest of society which by your rule is ghettoisation but hell you don’t even look at that. Maybe because critique of the military won’t bring the same raection as picking on Muslims huh? No front page headlines and no sections on HP?

    You still won’t address why your tabloid style headline hysteria on reports of Islamophobia most likely destroyed any chance of proper analysis of the issue.

    You won’t even address if you are willing to go and justify your calls for unlimited freespeech to the people who have to live with the consequences of your call.

    In fact so far you haven’t even addressed the fact your ethnic community was brought here largely as menial labour and your directly beenfited from multicultural policy to get where you are and now you want to stop that for future generations.

    In theory your idealistic approach is great but society isn’t at the point where that ideal can work and the rise of the right means that things for minorities are getting tougher coupled with the economic crises when minorities are blamed for everything from control of the world economy to taking jobs means that if the government does nothing then that will lead to social unrest.

    Please if you want to debate at least stop the exagerated grandstanding and address the issues and stop with the sensationalistic victim card playing approach of oh poor me they accuse me of sensationalism but they can’t debate.

    “as you don’t seem to be able to distinguish between a rational argument rooted in facts and mere rhetoric.”
    A bit rich coming from someone who tilts the argument to drive people to his preset conclusion.

    There are plenty of questions that have been posed to you in the above discussions most of which you haven’t answered and you talk of mere rhetoric.

    You work is up for discussion so its up to you to justify your position in the face of the questionsand issues raised.

    Its not my work published above and if it was it would be a more balanced piece with examples of success and failure, history to highlight why there is a need for understanding and then allowing people to draw their own conclusion.

    Your approach however is multiculturalism and political involvement is bad now let me try and prove it.

    Without multiculturalism and political involvement wouldyou be a university lecturer or would you not have progressed so far?

  119. imran khan — on 29th April, 2009 at 1:45 am  

    Oh as regards your fiction about Bradford it is actually the religious community thatis playing an active role in promoting cohesion, promoting advancement and bringing people together.

    The people who you refer to as ghettoised are themselves reaching out and countering the effect of ghettoisation and you’d know that if you did some research on work by the Church and Mosques. This includes the running to leadership programmes to help people develop.

    Of course the works that highlight the positive roles played by different communities won’t get a mention in your work. But it is there for people who want to look and produce research that can help build out communities.

    Also whats good is that cities across Europe are meeting to exchange ideas about how to progress and bring together communities but hey why do we need to mention that when that won’t bring anything but hysteria and panic in the right wing press so best avoid that?

    Its all going on as well as other programmes to promote peace and community harmony and its all going on despite you and Hazel Blears and all the other people who advocate silly measures that will set back relations to the old empire period.

    Your approach is much like the Tories had with the NHS – if you want it pay for it if you can afford it. Well it wasn’t until Tories needed it themselves that they acknowledged how useful it was. David Cameron may well be the first Tory Leader who knows the value of the NHS.

    It maybe that if the right wing don’t get their claws into him that he will also be the first conservative to acknowledge the value of multiculturalism as he would have been touched by the lives of many people who work in and use the health service from areas of society.

  120. imran khan — on 29th April, 2009 at 6:50 am  

    Kenan – more on the success of multiculturalism:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/this-britain/multicultural-britain-an-unlikely-success-story-509634.html

    http://www.thestar.com/comment/article/245223

    Again in your piece you also fail acknowledge that it was multiculturalism and politics that shifted some democracy to Scotland and Wales. It was the same which helped to bring peace in Northern Ireland.

    All big achievements.

    What you also fail to see is that large parts of the British Economy are built through multiculturalism and the ability to understand the dynamics of other races and these are actively encouraged by government and in fact bring in extra tax revenue which helps pay for your wages which given the fact you are so unhappy the policy you should return as you don’t agree with it.

    Things such as Sharia banking bring significant sums of money to the country. Equally as Britian is viewed as well integrated then there is an acceptance of other culture which then itself becomes part of British culture such as curries and that is big business in the UK.

    Spain which in the 70′s and early 80′s refused to identify its own Islamic heritage then realised big money could be made from it then embraced its Muslim history and now has a thriving tourist industry in that area which brings benefits to the region and Spain itself.

    Things can improve but the policy is working and despite your hype you haven’t proved otherwise apart from the use of limited examples which can also be attributed to other factors.

    Many corporations are based in the UK and run overseas operatiosn for Europe, Africa and the Middle East from here because Britain is multicultural and due to government policy we know about different cultures so in fact they can then use this knowledge to help business in those regions. That brings benefit to the UK overall through employment, taxation etc.

    France doesn’t do the same and has issues with integration, ghettos and community disunity.

  121. imran khan — on 29th April, 2009 at 7:10 am  

    THe other success of multiculturalism is that in the UK we have communities working together to benefit those less fortunate around the world andthis often prompts politicians to help in those regions.

    Band Aid is a prime example of a multicultural project that left a lasting legacy and promoted further projects to help both home and abroad.

    The Sunami is another example where communities worked together to help.

    The point is if as you claim we were all in our own ghettos then that wouldn’t have happened.

    Even in Birmingham one of the areas you speak of as ghettoised and I was there a few weeks ago in the actual area massive progress has been made and I saw different communities living together and there was the complete opposite of your claim and in fact little Police presence.

    The government through its involvement has helped to foster appreciation and understanding of art and in fact this has been so successful the programme is now helping abroad.

    Britian is now seen as a prime preserver of ethnic hertitage even from abroad and museums here are leading the world in such displays which bring world wide recognition. The most successful museum exhibit in the past few years was Sacred at the British Library and brought together hugely significant pieces of religious art from across the world. If Britian wasn’t integrated and multicultural no one would have entrusted the British to do this and now that exhibition is setting the standard for events abroad. It brought together Jews, Muslims and Christians.

    The list goes on and on of the success and your exageration of failures pales into insignificance when contrasted against what it is bringing this country including the first truely cultural Olympics.

  122. faisal — on 29th April, 2009 at 9:28 am  

    THe other success of multiculturalism is that in the UK we have communities working together to benefit those less fortunate around the world andthis often prompts politicians to help in those regions.

    Band Aid is a prime example of a multicultural project that left a lasting legacy and promoted further projects to help both home and abroad.

    The Sunami is another example where communities worked together to help.

    Again in your piece you also fail acknowledge that it was multiculturalism and politics that shifted some democracy to Scotland and Wales. It was the same which helped to bring peace in Northern Ireland.

    All big achievements.

    Hey Imran

    I think you have forgotten to add that multiculturalism is on it’s way to finding the cures for cancer, HIV, the common cold and of course, Swine Flu.

    I also think you have a bright future ahead of you, as a Daily Mail journalist: Low on verifiable facts; High on polemics.

  123. Imran Khan — on 29th April, 2009 at 11:33 am  

    Sid – “Hey Imran

    I think you have forgotten to add that multiculturalism is on it’s way to finding the cures for cancer, HIV, the common cold and of course, Swine Flu.

    I also think you have a bright future ahead of you, as a Daily Mail journalist: Low on verifiable facts; High on polemics.”

    Rich from someone who can’t even decide what their own name ala “Ed Hussein” one minute your Sid then Faisal then who knows what.

    Also we’ve seen the fiction you are posting regularly you must be up for the booker prize.

    Do you deny that the efforts to raise awareness of Scottish Aspirations and identity and the same for the Welsh didn’t help on the road to the Parliaments there? Do you think one day politicians woke up and said oh lets give the Scots a parliament?

    Your approach to discussion is normally that you know damn well what is best for everyone and anyone that disagrees is liable to frequent abuse and sooner or later you will lose your own house when you push someone too far.

  124. Imran Khan — on 29th April, 2009 at 11:38 am  

    Sid – Aside from your sniping here is a good article at least looking at how culture can help influence politics:

    http://www.usatoday.com/life/music/news/2007-07-04-live-earth_N.htm

    There are more if you want.

  125. Imran Khan — on 29th April, 2009 at 11:38 am  
  126. faisal — on 29th April, 2009 at 11:53 am  

    Rich from someone who can’t even decide what their own name ala “Ed Hussein” one minute your Sid then Faisal then who knows what.

    Sid is a pseudonym not a false identiy.

    A false identity would pretending to be Avi Cohen, the “self-hating Jew” and posted in that identity on this blog for over a year before becoming “Imran Khan”.

    glass, houses, stones

    But that aside, I really think you need to understand what Kenan is referring to as “multiculturalism” in the sense of social engineering. You seem to have decided it means cosmopolitanism. It doesn’t.

  127. Kenan Malik — on 29th April, 2009 at 12:26 pm  

    Imran – You still don’t get it do you? We’re not arguing about diversity. I have repeatedly said (on this thread and elsewhere) that diversity is to be welcomed. What we are debating is multiculturalism as a set of political policies, policies that undermine much of what is good about diversity as lived experience. That is why I oppose them. They are, as Faisal says, forms of social engineering that often make us less cosmopolitan. To believe that the success or otherwise of Band Aid or the Tsunami appeal has any bearing on the character of local authority multicultural policy is, I’m afraid, to live in la la land.

  128. douglas clark — on 29th April, 2009 at 12:42 pm  

    Yeah,

    I’m about half way through the book now and it makes an extremely interesting read.

    I do think Imran Khan has got the wrong end of the stick on where and how our existing settlement developed. It does seem to me that it is almost an internal colonialism.

    Perhaps we need to clarify definitions a bit here?

    What David T said ‘way back at 4 perhaps gets us to at least a working definition. To re-iterate:

    There’s a difference between multiculturalism – which is about plural ‘cosmopolitan’ identities, and the limits of state authority – and plural monoculturalism: the search for ‘authentic’ Muslims, Jews, Sikhs, Black people, and the funding of projects based on these categories.

    The latter is just an entrenchment of racism.

    I’d tend to agree with that definition. What I think Imran is doing is taking the better parts of intercommunal dialogue – cosmopolitanism if you will – and claiming that that somehow justifies the edifice that the state has created. Which, it seems to me, is in fact plural monoculturalism. In other words, claiming the very things that the policy is poisonous to as if they were vitues.

    And also claiming that only through that sort of ghettoisation and Pavlovian social control can we arrive at a (new?) public space.

    Kenan Malik does make a very interesting series of points about identity change too. Roughly, from ‘immigrant’ to ‘black’ to ‘Asian’ to ‘country of origin’ to ‘Muslim’. And each of these identities could have been applied, over time, to a single person about themselves.

    Just a couple of questions for Imran.

    What is your definition of multiculturalism? Because I’m not getting it.

    In what way is Band Aid an example of multicuturalism rather than, say, cosmpolitanism?

    I’ll probably finish the book later tonight. So far I have really enjoyed it.

  129. imran khan — on 29th April, 2009 at 10:35 pm  

    Kenan – “Imran – You still don’t get it do you? We’re not arguing about diversity. I have repeatedly said (on this thread and elsewhere) that diversity is to be welcomed. What we are debating is multiculturalism as a set of political policies, policies that undermine much of what is good about diversity as lived experience. That is why I oppose them. They are, as Faisal says, forms of social engineering that often make us less cosmopolitan. To believe that the success or otherwise of Band Aid or the Tsunami appeal has any bearing on the character of local authority multicultural policy is, I’m afraid, to live in la la land.”

    I am afraid that you are the one who doesn’t get it and who is failing to address the issue properly because you want to prove multiculturalism is a failure.

    Your failure to comprehend the fact that without poltical involvement in the process you wouldn’t have the diversity you claim to enjoy. It is the political involvement and funding which has helped to get us to the point that diversity is possible.

    You lack the context to realise that not so long ago and lacking legislation minorities suffered from a lack of understanding as well as the ability to make progress. It is with political involvement that diversity has become possible.

    The biggest success of multicultural policy is that people are able to seperate out the extremists from the normal in diverse communities and in fact the country wasn’t gripped by hyterical right wing nonsense even after the tragic events of 7/7 which is quite a contrast to say the USA.

    The fact is that political involvement has brought benefits to integration and diversity and brings with it economic benefit. So you are selective and lack the will to admit that political involvement has helped you and me to progress in terms of education and work which diversity wouldn’t achieve.

    You cling to events from years ago without looking at how political policy has improved the areas you highlight as suffering community problems.

    You can argue for the degree of political involvement and the need for less political correctness but the job of politicians is to ensure that all parts of society are represented and that means engagement at some level in multiculturalism.

    The point you can’t understand is that without political will then the minorities will always be at a disadvantage.

    Its a bit like the Murdoch press complaining about economic migrants and yet their own boss is one and they don’t see the irony in that.

    Do you honestly think you would be where you are if governemnt hadn’t legislated to provide education and opportunity for Asians? Its quite possible you wouldn’t.

    Its not so long ago that black football players were subject to banana baiting at macthes. Its not that long ago that Norman Tebbit devised a test for blacks and asians which wasn’t applicable to white people. That shows the need for a level of poiltics in multiculturalism otherwise this type of nonsense won’t stop and its that you can’t see in your desperate flight to blame all ills on multiculturalism.

  130. douglas clark — on 30th April, 2009 at 1:45 am  

    Imran Khan,

    Do you honestly think you would be where you are if governemnt hadn’t legislated to provide education and opportunity for Asians? Its quite possible you wouldn’t.

    Eh?

    Unless you are referring to the Race Relations Act – whose original parameters were set out away back in 1965, and which was largely consolidated by 1976 – again, I don’t know why you think what you think. As far as I remember, there has been legislation in place since around the end of the 19th c which says everyone requires to be educated until around 14 or 15, latterly 16. A universal requirement.

    My point being that much of that predates the changes that are being discussed here. And, frankly, it was not something you could easily claim as flowed from multi-culturalism. It was, if anything, a reaction by a whole section of our society – parliamentarians – to a wrong. A wrong that initially applied to the Irish as much as it did to others.

    The 2000 Race Relations Ammendment Act as it applied to education simply gave legal backing to what was already good practice.

    Are you somehow arguing that ethnic minorities were excluded from tertiary education? That’d come as a bit of a surprise to me. Whereas discrimination in the jobs marketplace wouldn’t. It is the latter arguement that had – and has – merit, I think.

  131. imran khan — on 30th April, 2009 at 6:55 am  

    Douglas – I said education opportunities to advance in education not basic education.

  132. bananabrain — on 30th April, 2009 at 9:15 am  

    imran,

    you are sounding increasingly shrill and your arguments lost substance some time ago; it is beginning to turn into “i don’t know what i’m talking about? well, you don’t know what you’re talking about even more, ner ner ner ner ner.” it’s a bit unfortunate; you seem to have bitten off a bit more than you can chew here, you haven’t made much of a dent on kenan’s arguments.

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  133. bananabrain — on 30th April, 2009 at 9:16 am  

    and on the subject of band aid, how many non-white non-rock & roll bands were involved, precisely?

    b’shalom

    bananabrain

  134. Imran Khan — on 30th April, 2009 at 4:00 pm  

    Bananabrain – Fine if you feel that way then prehaps you would like to ask The Jewish Museum to hand back the funding it received from the state to comply with Kenan’s arguments. Please advise when you’ll be asking them.

    My argument is also to benefit your community in order to tackle anti-semitism so next time don’t come here complaining about the bloody fear you are feeling when you can’t be bothered to speak up for the funding from government for mutliculturalism.

    You ran off in a huff because you said this site was becomign antisemitic and now I am speaking up for communities to have funding and he is saying they shouldn’t you are not helping.

    So live up to the principle and campaign for the funding to Jewish organisations to be revoked and returned and carry on then trying to combat antisemitism and don’t whine next time someone says something here that you feel you are being picked on when you won’t speak up for the funding you need to tackle it.

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