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  • MCB funding from the Home Office


    by Sunny
    15th June, 2006 at 4:06 pm    

    It seems someone recently submitted a Freedom of Information Act request for: “All correspondence with the Muslim Council of Britain in the Home Office policy areas of ‘communities’, ‘security’ and ‘police’ in the last five years.” See here.

    I haven’t seen any media reports about this yet, though it could be for two documentaries that are being made on the MCB. But I did find this:

    Letters between the home office and a high-profile muslim group reveal that the government has given at least £150,000 to it. The muslim council of Britain (MCB), led at the time by Sir Iqbal Sacranie, received the grant after asking the government for £500,000, according to correspondence disclosed under the freedom of information act (FOIA). The financial relationship between the group and the home office is bound to raise questions – especially among muslims – about the MCB’s independence from the government.

    In February last year, a policy advisor at the home office’s ‘cohesion and faith’s unit’ (CFU) sent a letter to the MCB’s treasurer Dr Akber Mohamedali offering the group a grant of £148,160 for the financial year ending the following March.

    The home office set out a series of terms and conditions for the grant, including: “MCB will contribute to policy development work by attending meetings, submitting ideas, debating issues, etc, which may need to be on a strictly confidential basis.”

    The released correspondence shows that, since being offered the £150,000 grant, the MCB has sought more funding from the home office.

    But you can find this all out for yourself, because I’ve gotten hold of the documents and they can be downloaded from here. (2.7MB zip file). If you find anything juicy (haven’t had time due to article deadlines) do let me know.

    A similar request for the Sikh Federation and the Hindu Forum may be a good idea too…


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    1. The Nordish Portal » Blog Archive » Muslim Council of Britain’s Government funding

      [...] Via Sunny Hundal’s blog Pickled Politics: [...]




    1. Leon — on 15th June, 2006 at 4:51 pm  

      All crap, I think I know a bit about this grant bit waaay to busy at work to make sense of it; there’s about ten bme groups that got this in Feb (The 1990 Trust, OBV, Newham Monitoring project to name but a few)…

    2. David T — on 15th June, 2006 at 5:03 pm  

      Posted on this here:

    3. Queen Bee — on 15th June, 2006 at 8:56 pm  

      These are the non Muslim organisations to get grants:

      +British Sikh Consultative Forum (£23,500)
      +Network of Sikh Organisations (£6,300)
      +Hindu Council UK (£35,400)

      It is strange how organisations that receive so much money from the public purse can complain about the marginalisation of their community by the mainstream of society. Strikes me as the rantings of ingrates when they do so.

      Incidentally, I wonder how many battered womans refuges, secular Asian activist groups etc get grants from the government? As usual, it is only the same old people, the conservative male preservers of the patriarchy and the whiners and complainers who get the support and government patronage.

    4. Amir — on 15th June, 2006 at 10:07 pm  

      Queen Bee, the reason for this predicament is quite simple: multiculturalism

      The policies that advance these ideals include, for instance, anti-discrimination legislation (i.e. so-called religious hatred laws), employment equity, language training, acculturation education and, in some cases, special rights, funding, and special recognition for minority groups. An important objection to multiculturalism is that, by recognizing distinctive groups and by distributing resources to groups for the purpose of strengthening ethnic communities and organizations, multiculturalism erodes social solidarity and fragments community.

      Just look at the ghettoisation in Blackburn, Bradford or Oldham.

    5. Devious — on 15th June, 2006 at 10:11 pm  

      Be interesting to see what happens now that a lot of the active communities unit remit from the home office has shifted to the new dept for comms and local govt (old ODPM)……..to link with ‘communities’ in the wider sense and to have a remit that covers faith and equalities also does in theory makes sense but when did making sense ever matter?
      absolutely agree with Queen Bee on the same groups getting funding in this way……it’s the whole tick box thing, and also a way of showing that they are supporting(!)BME groups, when really what they are actually doing is just creating an old boys network to mirror their own……..

    6. Amir — on 15th June, 2006 at 10:30 pm  

      Queen Bee,

      As usual, it is only the same old people, the conservative male preservers of the patriarchy and the whiners and complainers who get the support and government patronage.

      Again, this is an excellent point. And it highlights a big problem in the creed of multiculturalism: the logic of identity claims. How do we know an identity claim when we see one? According to critics of multiculturalism, there is no coherent principled way to draw a line between identity claims of major cultural/religious groups and people making more eccentric identity demands (for example: the Star Trek geek). This is an argument for atheists, agnostics, and critics of organised religion: What separates the Star Trek fan from ‘traditional’ religious/cultural groups? What do we think is morally salient about identity: (a) Sense of belonging?; (b) provides a sense of personal identity/place in the world; (c) offers the benefits of community; (d) offers a major worldview about how to live our lives and what is of ultimate value; (d) provides metaphysical claims about God and the nature of the universe. You could say that the Star Trek geek meets all of these criteria, which raises an obvious counter-question: should we give him special rights too? This type of argument is known as the reductio ad absurdum: if you can show that a principle leads to a ridiculous conclusion then the principle must be flawed.

      Now, I personally believe that there’s one exception to this rule: national identity (concomitant with the principle of national sovereignty). In order to achieve and sustain a true democratic polity, the state (government and its apparatus) is obligated to promote a shared historical, psychological and material/aesthetic culture.

    7. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 15th June, 2006 at 11:08 pm  

      Amir, yet again, good post.

    8. David T — on 15th June, 2006 at 11:15 pm  

      Oh, the quality of discussion on this blog is so high.

      My strongest senses of identity tend to centre around my family, friends I have had for a long time, people with whom I share a particular set of common reference points or attitudes (liberals, Smiths fans), common experiences (children of immigrants who aren’t particularly attached to their parents’ cultures), urbanites, people who I admire in some way, and so on.

      I have felt the most British, though, when I’ve lived abroad. After a year living in the USA, for example, I found myself saying “cheers” to people all the time: despite the fact that I never normally use that word. And I ended up watching reruns of Upstairs Downstairs…

      What strikes me as odd, though, is that the “community” in which I spend most of my waking time and on which I expend the most energy is my workplace. Although I have strong and deep personal ties and friendships with the people with whom I work, I don’t regard them as a community which identifies me in any profound sense. Were I to change careers, though, I’m sure I would.

      Then there are also the online communities. Aside from blogging, most of my “real life” friends are people I know from a showbiz noticeboard I’ve been posting on for a number of years. Weird.

      Niki Shisler has some interesting things to say about her experiences of posting on a “parents of twins” mailing list which saw her through the death of one of her children, and which has been a source of real material and emotional support.

      Read about it in Fragile

    9. David T — on 15th June, 2006 at 11:28 pm  

      There are some situations in which national or other group identities tend to be brought to the fore. For example, my father - who left South Africa in disgust with Apartheid - strongly identifies as both a liberal anti-racist and British.

      Similarly, if you feel as if you are under attack by virtue of your membership of a particular cultural group, there’s a tendency defiantly and defensively to cling to that identity. Jews and Muslims are both doing that at the moment.

    10. Queen Bee — on 15th June, 2006 at 11:40 pm  

      Amir

      I think multiculturalism is fine as long as conservatives are not afforded special priveliges as ‘community leaders’. I might not like them but I equally dislike the right wingers who scream about how society is falling apart because of the darkies. There are better ways of dealing with this that do not swing between pandering to selfish special interest groups and the demonising of minorities.

      Where do you stand?

    11. shariq — on 15th June, 2006 at 11:43 pm  

      Amir you are right to point to the negative elements of multiculturalism, but that’s only one way of looking it. Ghettoisation is occurring in some areas but at the same time many Black, Hindu, Sikh and Muslim people are in their own way integrating into Britain.

      On the other hand there is also the narrative of government using minority groups in order to consolidate political support. Rather than looking to bring about positive change, the government is content to provide patronage to conservative groups such as the MCB in exchange for a supposed bloc vote. For other evidence I would put forward incidents such as the electoral fraud in Birmingham and the religious hatred bill.

      Btw this was also how the British ran India. After the utilitarian adventure to educate the Hindu’s and reform India spectacularly backfired, they were more than content to give power to the Brahmin’s even though this meant a solidification of the caste system.

      So given this evidence it would be interesting to ask Faisal Bodi who the real uncle toms are. Those who are in the pay of the government to promote their own agenda or those trying their best to improve the condition of their fellow society members.

    12. Queen Bee — on 15th June, 2006 at 11:53 pm  

      shariq

      Your consideration of the ‘education of Brahmins’ in India could be politely described as simplistic, if I was being generous. Nevertheless, I don’t want to get into a silly debate about that.

      You do make a good point in your first paragraphs though. Millions of people from minorities are living successful lives, paying taxes, succeeding in all areas, excelling in varied arenas of life. I for one get sick and tired of monomaniacs harping on relentlessly about the ‘problem’ of ethnic minorities, as if we are en masse a cancer or wart on British society. I detest that kind of person, for their simpleton perspective and lack of knowledge about the reality of Asian and Black existence in Britain. It is a balancing act between dealing with what needs to be dealt with, and getting perspective on the reality of life in Britain for the many cultures and people who live here and are as British as Stonehenge. It’s a shame that this has to be pointed out, but it does. For every bad situation like Oldham or Bradford that are exacerbated by some aspects of multiculturalism as well as societal and employment problems, we have those who decide that ‘multiculturalism’ is a reductio ad absurdum etc etc — such people have their own absolutist ideological agendas.

    13. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 15th June, 2006 at 11:54 pm  

      Oh, the quality of discussion on this blog is so high.

      Here that Kismet? That comment is inspite of your arse with its new electronic enhancements.

      I’m going to get all Melanie Philips (again) so please excuse:

      Pickled Policitics is a community, we share an interest in polictics and have a particalar interest in the influnence of religous groups on our modern culture.

      (Incidentally I ran into a creationist this evening and he reminded me that they are very nice people but COMPLETELY NUTS. We had a good discussion and he explained some bits of religous dogma that I didn’t realise. Trying to explain to him why ID isn’t science was like kicking a puppy)

      I digress. My point is that we are the chattering classes. This is something that we share irrespective of race, creed or colour. Even when we disagree with each other this is what binds us together as a group.

      One of the truely amazing things about the internet is that is becoming simplier to form “communities” about anything, making chairs, collecting buttons, loving aliens (but was it love Kismet?), huddling around conspiracies etc, shared illness, creation of software … it can be anything that draw together alike people.

      As the future progress we will find ourselves members of multiple communities, each based around our interests, these will increasingly be formed around ideologies and less about skin colour or heritage.

      We are all brothers and sisters under the sun. Information technology both unites and separates us.

      Cheers,

      TFI

    14. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 16th June, 2006 at 12:30 am  

      Stupid bloody wireless internet making me double post.

    15. Don — on 16th June, 2006 at 12:38 am  

      TFI,

      Beautiful, man. Then, in the morning, you open the front door. ;)

      (Did that do one of those face things, or does it just look like lousy punctuation?)

    16. Sunny — on 16th June, 2006 at 1:05 am  

      Your consideration of the ‘education of Brahmins’ in India could be politely described as simplistic,

      Queenbee, a bit simplistic maybe but there is a strong basis to it too. That the religious classes in India have the power is a given, surely?

      Amir - you’re back to theorising and blaming multi-culturalism again. As David T says this is nothing more than the government buying votes in blocks and getting the MCB on their side.

      This happens in India a lot, and there isn’t a debate about multi-culturalism there. Hell, it happens in America too with people actively saying things to get votes from specific blocks - Bush’s pandering to the religious conservatives through those constitutional amendments that failed recently (one about burning the flag, other abortion I think).

      Would you call that multiculturalism too? Maybe you could send an email to GW Bush telling him how his brand of pandering to religious nutters in America will lead to the destruction of american society ;)

    17. Amir — on 16th June, 2006 at 2:00 am  

      Sunny,
      More straw men? How kind of you.

      (I) Amir - you’re back to theorising and blaming multi-culturalism again.

      Yes, I believe that the policy is unstable and inherently counterproductive. You, on the other hand, are clinging on to these stale clichés and Marxist platitudes about our so-called ‘mosaic of harmony’. Multiculturalism is a utopian ideology with a simplistic and overly optimistic view of human nature, not unlike the many strains of anarchism and communism. This anti-intellectual bullshit of yours (‘you’re back theorising’) brings a wry smile to my face because it shows (quite clearly) that you’re unwilling to engage with me in a mature debate about these vital issues.

      (II) As David T says this is nothing more than the government buying votes in blocks and getting the MCB on their side.

      Yes, precisely. Multiculturalism, along with other identity politics, has, partly, been successful because it is a useful tool for politicians to win the votes of minority groups. Government money for cultural celebrations or ethnic-specific newspapers has encouraged new immigrants to vote for New Labour. An unintended consequence of this, however, is that it equips non-egalitarian cultural groups with power and influence.

      (III) Would you call that multiculturalism too [referring to abortion, border-controls, and flag-burning]? Maybe you could send an email to GW Bush telling him how his brand of pandering to religious nutters in America will lead to the destruction of american society

      No, I’d call abortion ‘immoral’ and flag-burning disrespectful – though I’d never support a law prohibiting its desecration or punishing its desecraters: such a law, in my opinion, would be incompatible with free expression. A law against abortion, on the other hand, is imminently and eminently defensible, just so long as you allow the exceptional cases of raped women and kids who engage in incest. In any case, how do you equate these moral and constitutional issues with multiculturalism? Do you even know what multiculturalism entails – its policies and/or implementation? The pejorative ‘religious nutters’ is also highly inappropriate. Some are indeed nutters. But some are not. Chris Dillow (aka Stumbling and Mumbling) would, I believe, refer to this as the group attribution error.

      Amir

    18. Amir — on 16th June, 2006 at 2:04 am  

      Shariq – keep up the good work. :-)

      You seem like a really intelligent guy.

      And yes… I am aware that ghettoisation occurs in other ethnic/religious groups.

    19. Amir — on 16th June, 2006 at 2:43 am  

      Queen Bee - For every bad situation like Oldham or Bradford that are exacerbated by some aspects of multiculturalism as well as societal and employment problems, we have those who decide that ‘multiculturalism’ is a reductio ad absurdum etc etc — such people have their own absolutist ideological agendas.

      An absolutist ideological agenda? Well, pardon me, but this is totally untrue. I actually find your own arguments mind-numbingly simple and intentionally misleading. According to post #10, anyone who disagrees with New Labour’s multicultural policies are ex hypothesi closet racists, or, in your own words, ‘hate darkies’. Ask yourself this Ms. Bee: do you agree with multiculturalism? And if so, why? Give me some answers and we can engage. Or, if you like, you can carry on dishing out the guttersnipe abuse.

      The choice is yours.

    20. Robert — on 16th June, 2006 at 3:26 am  

      We should remember that in today’s money, £35k to the Hindus and £29k to the Sikhs is piss fuck all. £150k to the Muslims is more substantial, but in governmental terms we are talking about fairly small sums of money. For a true comparison we would need to look at funding not only to religious groups, but to all ‘special interests’.

      To pick up on an example mentioned above: I’ll wager that the BBC spend more than £150k on the last couple of series of Doctor Who! I might suggest that the interests of the sci-fi geek are adequately funded (and no, I’m not interested in a discussion about how Dr Who and Star Trek are, like, totally different things).

      An essential part of the multicultural debate is over whether there is such a thing as ‘group rights’, and whether certain people’s lives are actually enhanced when an entire group of people are supported. This is an open question - I definitely don’t know my own answer - but I’m prepared to acknowledge that many of our countrymen and women are finding that these organisations are helpful to them. With funding comes responsibility, of course, and the thrust of Pickled Politics recently has been calling these organisations to account, and to ask whether they are serving the communities in the best way. In short, are they providing Value For Money?

      But I am certainly not going to begrudge groups as large as the British Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs the piddling amounts of money they seem to be recieving, in order to organise appropriate spokespeople.

      Call me when funding reaches £1 million.

    21. Sunny — on 16th June, 2006 at 3:28 am  

      clinging on to these stale clichés and Marxist platitudes about our so-called ‘mosaic of harmony’.

      I don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about but here is my defence of multi-culturalism. I clearly see it very different to you.

      In any case, how do you equate these moral and constitutional issues with multiculturalism?

      Because, as you said in your post, it is pandering to identity politics. Going for the Christian right vote is similar to the appeasing the MCB. Talking about abortion and stem-cell research is explicitly going for the Catholic and Evangelical vote. The United States is stooped in it.

      Government money for cultural celebrations or ethnic-specific newspapers

      If the government is giving money to say modern contemporary art or some celebration of a specific event, then putting some of that money aside for Diwali/ Eid/Vaisakhi or even a film festival on Bengali films is part of its remit. It is a govt that has to take into account the taste of all its citizens, incl the brown ones. That is a seperate activity from giving money to the MCB because I believe it should not be giving money to religious groups anyway. Any religious group, including the Church of England.

    22. Amir — on 16th June, 2006 at 4:35 am  

      Sunny,
      More straw men! Excellent!…

      (I) Because, as you said in your post, it is pandering to identity politics. Going for the Christian right vote is similar to the appeasing the MCB. Talking about abortion and stem-cell research is explicitly going for the Catholic and Evangelical vote.

      You’re confusing identity politics with identities. The Christian right do not argue against abortion on account that they’re ‘good Christians’ or that Congress should respect their religious orientation. They argue against abortion, stem-cell research, and euthanasia because they think it is wrong - they believe it is equivalent to murder (and this ethical statement can be refuted regardless of whether they’re Christians or Zoroastrians or atheists). Identity claims, on the other hand, are analogous to saying: ‘I want X because I am Y’. The MCB have a nice pay-packet on account that they’re a Moslem organisation. That’s it.

      (II) If the government is giving money to say modern contemporary art or some celebration of a specific event… it has to take into account the taste of all its citizens, incl the brown ones.

      Rubbish! If you want public money to be spent on Asian culture then go back to India. That’s not me being racist, or cruel, or disrespectful. That’s common sense. To expect British taxpayers to dish out their hard-earned cash for Diwali/Eid/Vaisakhi is asking the nation-state to promote a non-British culture. The multiculturalists wrongly assume that you are treated unfairly or disrespectfully if the state promotes cultural festivities other than your own. But why should this be so? The state could still be liberal (i.e. grant everyone the same package of rights and freedoms) while at the same time promoting a particular cultural/religious/linguistic way of life. To me, this makes perfect sense. There is an internal relationship between a nation’s culture and its physical shape – its public and religious buildings, the way its towns and villages are laid out, the pattern of the landscape, and so forth. People feel at home in their country partly because they can see that their surroundings bear the imprint of past generations whose values were recognisably their own.

      [Interestingly, what’s all this talk of ‘brown people’ or ‘brownies’ etc? Why the sudden infatuation with skin colour? At the moment, one of the biggest critics of multiculturalism is a black man – Hugh Trevor Philips. Many immigrants, on the other hand, have pale skin or totally white pigment, especially those from Eastern Europe and Australia. My guess is that certain people are pandering to the ‘race card’ [surprise, surprise] in the hope that they win the hearts and minds of PP readers. Pathetic.]

      (III) I believe it should not be giving money to religious groups anyway. Any religious group, including the Church of England.

      But didn’t you say (above) that the state must take into account the taste of all its citizens? What about the Church of England and its members?

      Amir

    23. Sunny — on 16th June, 2006 at 5:46 am  

      Amir, I don’t want to waste this thread further by having an off-topic discussion about bloody Melanie Phillips.

      There are three quick issues to address: your textbook understanding of multi-cultralism compared to how others see it. Presumably we are talking about two different things and hence go round and round in circles. My article and comments already make it clear what I mean by it. Next time we have a relevant discussion you define it and we can go from there.

      Secondly, many of your comments still carry a “us and them” narrative.

      Like for example:
      If you want public money to be spent on Asian culture then go back to India. That’s not me being racist, or cruel, or disrespectful.
      It’s just being downright idiotic. Those are religious festivals and non-white Britons have as much right to practice them as part of this country. The govt gives money to events such as the Notting Hill Carnival, the London Mela is simply another example. This is our country too, we pay the fucking taxes - hence if the gvt is allocating money towards culture, it should be inclusive (though not in exclusive events that are limited to specific groups).
      We pay the BBC license fees, hence I also want programming on what British Asians re doing in this country. It is precisely because the Beeb has not done that, that Zee Tv etc has flourished. That leads to even more segregation.

      And lastly - whether the Christian right is against stem-cell/abortions etc because they think its wrong, or the MCB gets money because it exists, the point still remains - they are identities and community blocks that are exploited by politicians for votes and political support. The reasoning may be different but the end result is the same. Pedantry will get you nowhere.

    24. TheFriendlyInfidel — on 16th June, 2006 at 8:49 am  

      *yawns*

      *stretches*

      *opens front*

      “Damn its bright out here.”

    25. sonia — on 16th June, 2006 at 10:22 am  

      There’s plenty more Home Office funding now apres 7/7 - Community Cohesion pots and the like -> for all sorts of organizations - anyone really! - who can help towards ‘community cohesion’. LB Waltham Forest has a Community Cohesion Strategy which i’ve just been having a look at - quite interesting looking at their performance indicators.

    26. Jai — on 16th June, 2006 at 10:43 am  

      Interesting that the MCB is getting so much more cash than the other “Asian” religious groups. Does anyone know why this is — Is it just because they’re asking for more ?

      =>”Interestingly, what’s all this talk of ‘brown people’ or ‘brownies’ etc? Why the sudden infatuation with skin colour?”

      Sunny, you’ve been spending too much time on Sepia Mutiny ;)

      As a sidenote, it’s interesting that our desi cousins over there have taken to referring to themselves as “brown people” in the sense of a racial/ethnic group — as a slang term — presumably in response to the established terms “white” and “black” respectively*. It is a little curious how self-idenfication via skin colour has developed there amongst Asians, unlike here in the UK where the terms we use for ourselves are more to do with subcontinental geographical origin. Also, as far as I know, American-Chinese/Japanese/Korean etc people and Native Americans do not identify themselves via their colour either.

      *I wonder if this also has something to do with the fact that, unlike the desi population in the UK, the American-South Asian population is not disproportionately North Indian/Pakistani, with a correspondingly higher rate of much lighter-skinned people (especially amongst some of the women — I know you know what I’m talking about ;) ).

      Anyway, apologies for going off-topic, but this was just something I noticed.

    27. sonia — on 16th June, 2006 at 10:49 am  

      sunny your comment # 24 is spot on - this constant business about viewing any asian culture displayed by british people here as ‘foreign’ and sticking to the us vs. them thing is silly. fundamentally a lot of people can’t seem to accept ‘national’ identity as multi-faceted and basically - inclusive and heterogenous NOt homogenous. Cultures have never been homogenous, only rhetoric. historically it’s hardly as if when the Norman Conquest happened, the next day everyone was happily Anglo-Saxon together with no competing notions of their own culture, language and separateness. over time this has synthesized to become ‘English’. in the same way people consider tea a very quintessentially English thing, there’s absolutely no reason why something that was previously part of a ‘foreign’ culture shouldn’t become part of British culture. anyone making a fuss of that ( on either ‘Side’) is acting like what they usually accuse the ‘other’ of all the time - “non-assimilatory’ and ‘segregationist’ ‘wanting to be different’ and what have you. at the end of the day its this sort of thinking that gets in the way of ‘integration’ - all these people insisting the ‘other’ are so different from them and ‘foreign’ and ‘alien’ that leads to constant mutual misunderstanding and the keeping up of us vs. them. instead of everyone saying to everyone els - oh yeah youneed to be more like us and the other lot saying no we won’t you need to be more like me - perhaps everyone can just be what they like and not worry about it. not so hard now is it.

    28. Queen Bee — on 16th June, 2006 at 11:09 am  

      An absolutist ideological agenda? Well, pardon me, but this is totally untrue. I actually find your own arguments mind-numbingly simple and intentionally misleading. According to post #10, anyone who disagrees with New Labour’s multicultural policies are ex hypothesi closet racists, or, in your own words, ‘hate darkies’. Ask yourself this Ms. Bee: do you agree with multiculturalism? And if so, why? Give me some answers and we can engage. Or, if you like, you can carry on dishing out the guttersnipe abuse.

      Amir

      Looks like I hit a raw nerve, eh? One minute you praise me because you like what I say and the next you are wetting your pants and making silly demands of me to reply to you? How farcical. Grow up. I have said what I said and I certainly dont have to give an account of what I ‘believe in’ to one as arrogant as you.

    29. Roger — on 16th June, 2006 at 12:55 pm  

      “when the Norman Conquest happened, the next day everyone was happily Anglo-Saxon together with no competing notions of their own culture, language and separateness.”
      That’s how English developed- it’s been described as what came from Norman men-at-arms trying to flirt with Anglo-Saxon barmaids.
      You can see the original power relationship in animals- the animal themselves have Anglo-Saxon names- pigs, cattle, sheep- because anglo-Saxons herded them and the meat has Norman names- pork, beef, mutton- because the Normans ate them.

    30. Amir — on 16th June, 2006 at 3:05 pm  

      Sunny

      (I) There are three quick issues to address: your textbook understanding of multi-cultralism compared to how others see it. Presumably we are talking about two different things and hence go round and round in circles.

      There’s nothing ‘textbook’ about my understanding or use of multiculturalism. My understanding of it, in stark contrast to yours, is real - not imaginary. Multiculturalism is a policy that allows immigrants and other minority groups to preserve their indigenous culture (inter-pollination may or may not occur). Today, this is the official policy of Canada, Australia and the UK. Multiculturalism has been described as preserving a ‘cultural mosaic’ of separate ethnic groups (often referred to as a ‘salad bowl’), and is contrasted to a ‘melting pot’ that mixes them. Ken Livingstone et al. typically support loose immigration controls and programs such as bilingual education and affirmative action (or positive discrimination), which offer certain privileges to minority and/or immigrant groups.

      (II) This is our country too, we pay the fucking taxes - hence if the gvt is allocating money towards culture, it should be inclusive (though not in exclusive events that are limited to specific groups).

      What about the Star Trek geek? Or the tennis fan? Or the polo player? Or the butterfly collector? Or the man who likes driving very expensive cars? Should the State, in your opinion, be forced to compensate for their tastes too? It’s a slippery slope. Total ‘inclusiveness’ is a myth and a utopian ideal. It will never happen. And it’s naïve to think otherwise.

      (III) We pay the BBC license fees, hence I also want programming on what British Asians re doing in this country. It is precisely because the Beeb has not done that, that Zee Tv etc has flourished. That leads to even more segregation.

      There’s nothing wrong with publicly-funded Asian programmes or music stations so long as they’re not detached from a British context (i.e. language and personalities). I, for one, am a big fan of Asian music. But asking British taxpayers to fork out money for, say, religious holidays other than Christmas is wrong. To think otherwise is to think like a colonialist – simple as. Inter-pollination occurs slowly. You, on the other hand, want the whole ‘shebang’ in one fell swoop. And now, you’re talking about segregation! That’s funny Sunny. Multiculturalism – which entails giving up the concept of shared values, loyalties, and identity in order to privilege ethnic and religious differences, presuming that nations can be replaced by a large number of diverse minorities – is intrinsically divisive. It is likely to evoke undemocratic backlashes, ranging from support for extremist, rightwing parties and populist leaders to anti-minority policies. It is normatively unjustified because it fails to recognize the values and institutions undergirded by the society at large, such as those that protect women’s and gay rights.

      (IV) This is our country too

      Yes it is. And, as a result, you should respect our law, history and traditions. There is no compulsion to abide by these traditions or to learn about the origins of this country – I agree. But to empty the public coffers in order to impose Indian law and Indian tradition and Indian culture on this country is a form of colonialism. India will/is having a massive impact on the UK – and, as a result, it will benefit our cuisine, music, entertainment, clothing, literature, and even language (?). But you can’t enforce these things through ‘special’ recognition, ‘special’ cultural rights, or ‘special’ state funding. Inter-pollination doesn’t work like that. Colonialism does.

      we pay the fucking taxes - hence if the gvt is allocating money towards culture, it should be inclusive

      I disagree. Public money should, in my opinion, be spent exclusively on British culture (although Sonia is correct to point out that Britishness changes over time). The ideal society is a bit like a sponge: it absorbs other traditions, music, art, clothing, architecture, film, literature etc. over time, and turns them into ‘Britishness’. Trying to impose these things on other people (or protecting them like endangered species) is a form of colonialism. And it’s counterproductive.

      Secondly, many of your comments still carry a “us and them” narrative.

      So do yours.

      Sonia - fundamentally a lot of people can’t seem to accept ‘national’ identity as multi-faceted and basically - inclusive and heterogenous NOt homogenous. Cultures have never been homogenous, only rhetoric.

      This is misleading. I believe in ‘diversity within unity’. Britain should, in my view, promote a homogenous culture which is tolerant of other cultures (enabling inter-pollinate). It presumes that all members of a given society will fully respect and adhere to those basic values and institutions that are considered part of the basic shared framework of the society. At the same time, every group in society is free to maintain its distinct subculture – those policies, habits, and institutions that do not conflict with the shared core – and a strong measure of loyalty to its country of origin, as long as this does not trump loyalty to the society in which it lives if these loyalties come into conflict.

    31. Sunny — on 16th June, 2006 at 3:17 pm  

      Amir you problem is that you see any sort of difference as problematic and leading to terrorism. It’s rubbish.

      Should the State, in your opinion, be forced to compensate for their tastes too? It’s a slippery slope.
      It already does, polo players get funding for their activities etc.

      But asking British taxpayers to fork out money for, say, religious holidays other than Christmas is wrong.
      And asking Asian taxpayers to pay taxes and get nothing in return is also wrong.
      I’m not even really that bothered about govt funding. In most cases the Asian community has used the private sector to fund their own events and TV channels and radio stations etc. You don’t realise that the latter is more corrosive. If the govt does not cough up then the free market delivers and leads to more segregation.

      But to empty the public coffers in order to impose Indian law and Indian tradition and Indian culture on this country is a form of colonialism.

      Been overdosing on Melanie Phillips again poor boy? Who said anything about Indian law? I don’t want archaic Indian law here. But I want Indian culture to be part of my life if and when I choose it. As I said above if the govt doesn’t provide then the free market will. And in the latter case Asian taxpayers would be justified in asking why the hell they’re contributing towards the public purse and not getting any recognition for their own way of life.

      My understanding of it, in stark contrast to yours, is real - not imaginary.

      Not really… I’m looking at how Asians live now whereas you’re regurgitating Melanie Phillips.

    32. waxon — on 16th June, 2006 at 3:42 pm  

      Most of these “muslim representative organisations” are government mouthpieces.

      decent truth-seeking Muslims know this, thats why us truth-seekers persist for justice and inquiries into terror attacks such as 9-11/77 that are blamed directly on Muslims :)

    33. Queen Bee — on 16th June, 2006 at 4:23 pm  

      But to empty the public coffers in order to impose Indian law and Indian tradition and Indian culture on this country is a form of colonialism

      This is dementia and mental decrepitude, exagerration, irresponsible misrepresentation. Amir, you shoot yourself in the foot when you speak in these terms of idiocy.

    34. Refresh — on 16th June, 2006 at 5:43 pm  

      Am I not right in thinking that there are terms and conditions attached to the grants to MCB?

      I am beginning to wonder what we are debating here - or why.

      And having seen the paltry sums involved - I would say to MCB - what the hell you playing at. Govt. funded consultants command £000′s a day - stop selling your expertise short.

    35. Sunny — on 16th June, 2006 at 6:08 pm  

      HEh, as Robert says, come back to me when its hit a million.

      QueenBee - I think Amir swallowed Londonistan and the poor boy hasn’t recovered yet. Or maybe he doesn’t know its a disease.

      I hadn’t realised going to the London Mela was a new form of colonialism but now that I think about it…. I think I’ll try and get even more of my mates to come with me this year!

    36. shariq — on 16th June, 2006 at 7:18 pm  

      Queen Bee, I’d be interested in hearing your criticism of my supposed point on the ‘education of Brahmins’. I’m not sure what you were getting at. Thanks.

      I’m going to try and weigh in on the ongoing sunny/amir saga later.

    37. Queen Bee — on 16th June, 2006 at 9:07 pm  

      Shariq

      I don’t really want to get into that debate because I anticipate the simplicity of your argument in advance. In fact it is extraneous to this debate entirely. No need to thank me.

    38. shariq — on 16th June, 2006 at 11:07 pm  

      well i’m willing to hear your critique of my position. if you don’t want to engage in that debate then that’s your choice. drop me an email if you change your mind.

    39. Amir — on 16th June, 2006 at 11:33 pm  

      Oh dear, what a horrible glut of nastiness… [to Sunny]

      (I) Been overdosing on Melanie Phillips again poor boy? Who said anything about Indian law? I don’t want archaic Indian law here.

      Well, I’m glad to hear it. The reference to Indian law and culture and tradition was an allusion to a previous thread on forced marriages. Anthony Blair’s multicultural policies are one of the chief reasons why it has yet to be stamped out or de-legitimised in the politically-correct media. Laws exist to uphold rights and freedoms: allowing some groups to avoid such rules is to give up one of the basic tenets of liberty. And by the way, this anal retentive obsession of yours with Melanie Philips has nothing to do with me.

      (II) I’m looking at how Asians live now whereas you’re regurgitating Melanie Phillips.

      What… do you use a pair of binoculars and a tape recorder to ‘analyse’ your Asian friends or somethin’? Are you – Mr. Hundal – India’s answer to David Attenborough? I, by the way, am as streetwise as they come. Unlike your dear self, I don’t have enough money or prestige to flutter at cocktail parties, hobnobbing with pretentious journalists and ‘influential’ Londoners. To make matters worse, you’re bombastic enough to speculate about my reading habits. A bit of humility wouldn’t go amiss, eh? Do you honestly think that I’d spend my precious free time reading Melanie Phillips? What a joke. My views are reinforced and un-enforced (a bit of cognitive dissonance never hurt anyone) by the scholarship of talented academics and free-thinkers. That butterfly brain of yours is too ideologically entrenched to understand the real meaning of ‘independence’ and ‘humility’.

      (III) Amir your problem is that you see any sort of difference as problematic and leading to terrorism. It’s rubbish.

      No I don’t. Where do I mention terrorism, Sunny? The terms of our debate are very simple: there is an inherent conflict between cultural diversity and social solidarity. The cult of multiculturalism puts too much emphasis on the former to the neglect of the latter. The unity of which I speak is not imposed by government orders or regulations, not to mention by police agents, but one that grows out of civic education, commitment to the common good, the nation’s history, shared values, common experiences, robust public institutions, and dialogues about the commonalties and requirements of a people living together and facing the same challenges.

      (IV) It already does, polo players get funding for their activities etc.

      Yes, the national polo team does receive taxpayers’ money – or, more specifically, the British polo team receives a stipend. A working-class bloke such as myself, however, could never afford to play polo because it’s too expensive and there’s no state subsidy for the likes of me. Thus, the problem remains…. If we’re going to subsidise ethnic/religious minorities with expensive tastes/holidays, why not subsidise the ‘identity claims’ of a Star Trek geek, the tennis fan, the working-class polo player, or the butterfly collector?

    40. Amir — on 16th June, 2006 at 11:35 pm  

      It continues…

      Queen Bee - This is dementia and mental decrepitude, exagerration, irresponsible misrepresentation. Amir, you shoot yourself in the foot when you speak in these terms of idiocy.

      Abuse, abuse, abuse, abuse… How, or in what respect, am I being ‘irresponsible’ or mentally decrepit? Ms. Bee, your bark is louder than your bite. I don’t like you because you’re a hot, blustering bully. To throw the feelings of many millions of people in their faces, calling them ‘discriminatory,’ ‘exclusionary,’ ‘prejudiced,’ and worse, is an easy politics, but not one truly committed to resolution. People’s anxieties and concerns about multiculturalism should not be dismissed out of hand, nor can they be effectively treated by labelling them ‘racist’ or ‘xenophobic’. This, I am afraid, is a sneaky language-game. Richard Rorty would be proud of you!

      Sunny - I think Amir swallowed Londonistan and the poor boy hasn’t recovered yet.

      I haven’t read Londonistan and never will. I’m not a fan of Melanie Philips – she’s a boring and hackneyed polemicist. Her contempt for the plight of the Palestinians coupled with her simplistic diatribes against Islam in Britain (or Canada or Germany or Timbuktu), make her, in my opinion, an unreliable source of information and insight. I’d describe her as a right-wing equivalent to Maddy Bunting, Gary Younge, Seamus Milne and Ken Livingstone. Be that as it may, this is an exercise in logic not guilt by association. I have defended Mrs. Philips on a previous thread because I agree with her views on multiculturalism and I also admire her patriotism – as I admire Jai, El-Cid, Jay Singh, Ravi Naik, TFI and Shariq for their patriotism.

      Sunny - Or maybe he doesn’t know its a disease.

      Now, this is just plain wrong. Like Queen Bee, you’re using the tropes of mental illness and disease to de-legitimise my contributions and daub my name. It’s a dirty, insidious, and cowardly tactic. During my spare time, I happen to teach handicapped kids and adolescents with learning disabilities, so I hope you don’t mind if I tell you to ‘get stuffed’. To equate a handicap, illness or mental condition to obloquy is a most despicable and ugly thing. Richard Littlejohn, for example, uses the dementia trope to promote bigotry against gays and the animal/cancer trope to de-humanise asylum seekers and immigrants. I, myself, happen to agree with the Daily Mail on asylum… but I’d never refer to asylum seekers in such a vile way.

      Sunny - I hadn’t realised going to the London Mela was a new form of colonialism but now that I think about it.

      You’re putting words into my mouth and drawing inferences from them. I used ‘colonialist’ to describe New Labour’s policy of supporting non-British cultures like an endangered species. Multiculturalism, as such, is a form of diaspora nationalism (or, as Benedict Anderson terms it, ‘long-distance nationalism’), which, by its very nature, is colonialist: a ‘phantom bedrock’ for people who want to transplant their indigenous culture (unfettered) to a different country. Faisal Bodi, for instance, is an unapologetic colonialist.

      Amir

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