This is my latest column for the New York Times, on ideas of Britishness, belonging and identity. (We had to cut the essay slightly because of the space available; I will publish the full version next month.) How times change. Last week, I was at the Lord’s cricket ground in London — the ‘home of cricket’, as England cricket administrators like to boast — to see England play India. I was born in India. Yet I was cheering on England. […]
Earlier this week, I posted an essay ‘In defence of diversity’. But if I am in favour of diversity, I am most certainly critical of multiculturalism. I have long argued that while we should value diversity as a form of lived experience, we should scorn multiculturalism as a political policy. So, as a complement to my defence of diversity, here are extracts from a series of essays and talks from over the years which sum up my critique of multicuturalism. […]
Categories: Multiculturalism • Tags: behzti, british asians, british politics, clash of civilizations, cultural diversity, david goodhart, edmund burke, free speech, immigration, integration, multiculturalism, muslims, rushdie affair
As a follow-up to my earlier post on ‘Myths of radicalisation’, which questioned the conventional narrative about how some Muslims get drawn to jihadism, here is an extract from my book From Fatwa to Jihad, telling the story of Mohammad Sidique Khan, the leader of the 7/7 bombings, and of how he became a jihadi. From Fatwa to Jihad, pp 81-83, 98-104, 107-110 In the days following 7/7, thousands of journalists decamped to Beeston, a suburb of Leeds where the […]
My Milton K Wong lecture, ‘What’s wrong with multiculturalism?’, that I gave in Vancouver earlier this month, was broadcast on CBC on Friday. I have already posted the transcript of the talk, in two parts, here and here. (The broadcast has been slightly edited to fit the CBC schedule; the transcript is in full.) There is a Milton K Wong website dedicated to discussion and debate around the themes of the talk.
Categories: Multiculturalism • Tags: anders breivik, british asians, british politics, broadcasts, clash of civilizations, cultural diversity, danish cartoons, europe, far right, french politics, germany, guest workers, immigration, islam, multiculturalism, muslims, racism, riots, rushdie affair, turkish migrants
I gave the Milton K Wong lecture in Vancouver on Sunday. I very much enjoyed the event- it was a stunning venue, a superb audience and a good discussion of the issues. My thanks to the Laurier Institution, University of British Columbia and CBC for inviting me. Entitled ‘What is Wrong with Multiculturalism? A European Perpective’, the lecture pulled together many of the themes about immigration, identity, diversity and multiculturalism of which I have been talking and writing recently. It was […]
Categories: Multiculturalism, Race & Immigration • Tags: british asians, british politics, britishness, christopher caldwell, europe, french politics, germany, guest workers, immigration, islam, multiculturalism, muslims, parekh report, racism, turkish migrants
I am giving the Milton K Wong Lecture in Vancouver in June. Entitled ‘What’s Wrong with Multiculturalism? A European Perspective’, it will try to explain to a Canadian audience, for whom multiculturalism has a very different meaning than it does to a European one, the contours of the European debate, as well as my disagreements with both sides. In particular I want to show why both multiculturalists and many of their critics (particularly their rightwing critics) buy into the same […]
Categories: Multiculturalism, Race & Immigration • Tags: british asians, british politics, britishness, christopher caldwell, europe, french politics, immigration, islam, multiculturalism, muslims, racial science, racism, secularism, tariq modood
Earlier this week I published an extract from my book From Fatwa to Jihad, that told the story of how the Asian Youth Movements were created in Britain in the 1970s. This second extract explains how the British state and religious conservatives joined forces to marginalise secular radicals in the name of multiculturalism. This is the story of how Bradford came to be painted green. The same story could be told about towns all over Britain. In the summer of […]
Categories: Britain, Multiculturalism • Tags: asian youth movement, black identity, bradford, britain, british asians, From Fatwa to Jihad, identity politics, kenan malik's books, multiculturalism, racism, secularism
BBC Radio 4 broadcast a documentary this week by Zaiba Malik on the history of the Asian Youth Movements. For many of us who grew up in 1970s and 1980s, the AYMs were a central feature of our lives. Radical and secular, the movements challenged both the vicious racism that defined Britain in that era and many traditional values too, helping to establish an alternative leadership in Asian communities that confronted the conservatives on issues such as the role of […]
Another video (or rather audio) that I had not realised was online. I had been invited to Nihal’s show on the BBC’s Asian Network for a two-minute spot to promote the Festival of South Asian Literature, at which I was speaking. I ended up staying an hour debating free speech, multiculturalism and the giving of offence.
For no reason other than that I had never realised this video was online, here is my conversation with Hanif Kureishi at last year’s Festival of Asian Literature in London, in an event entitled ‘Saying It Like It Is: Culture, Free Speech and Power.’ And here, too, is the essay I wrote, at the time of that conversation, about my debt, and that of my generation, to Kureishi’s writing.
Here is my introduction to the discussion on ‘immigration and citizenship’ at last week’s Trudeau Foundation conference on ‘The Making of Citizenship’, about which I have already written. I was part of a double act with Ruben Zaiotti, whose job it was to talk about the Canadian experience. Mine was just to be provocative. The debate about immigration and citizenship in Europe is often presented as a debate between multiculturalism and assimilation. Not only does this oversimplify the debate, but […]
British journalist Jason Burke, one of the more perceptive writers on the issues of Islam, Islamism and the war on terror, has chosen five books on Islamic militancy for The Browser. And among the five is From Fatwa to Jihad. A snippet from his interview:
Categories: War on terror • Tags: british asians, british politics, From Fatwa to Jihad, identity politics, islamism, jason burke, jihadism, kenan malik's books, muslims, rushdie affair, terrorism, war on terror
For many, Hanif Kureishi is a fine comic writer, a superb scriptwriter and an important essayist. He has produced a number of masterpieces (The Buddha of Suburbia, My Beautiful Launderette) and, inevitably, a few duds too. For British Asians of a particular generation, however, he is much more than this. For those of us who came of age in the 1980s, Kureishi is one of the writers who helped us discover our voice, one of the writers through whose words we […]