I recently gave an interview for the Open University course on ‘Why is religion controversial?’. The interview is actually not about religion but about multiculturalism. It is somewhat oddly edited in places (a number of times, for instance, part of the answer to one question interpolated into the answer to another in a way that seems confusing), but still, I hope, it makes sense. Here anyway is the interview. Check out also my Milton K Wong lecture that I gave in Vancouver last […]
The Canadian government is in the process of setting up an Office of Religious Freedom. Religious freedom is about the right of people to hold certain beliefs, and to act upon them, so long as in so doing they do not harm others or discriminate against them in the public sphere. It is the right to be free from interference from other faiths and from the state. For a government to set up an official body to oversee religious freedom […]
How times change. There I was sitting in the Olympic stadium with my daughter. She had red, white and blue braids in her hair and was enthusiastically waving a Union Jack. When I was her age I would far rather have burned the flag than waved it. The Union Jack was then the property of jingoists and Empire loyalists, on the one hand, and of neo-fascists on the other. If I saw a pub or a housing estate with Union […]
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
This is the second part of the transcript of my Milton K Wong lecture that I delivered in Vancouver last week. I posted the first part earlier this week. The talk will be broadcast in full on 22 June on the CBC’s Ideas strand. The story I have told so far is of a Europe that is not as plural as many imagine it to be, and of immigrants less assertive of their cultural identities than they are claimed to be. Multicultural policies emerged not because […]
Categories: Free Speech, Multiculturalism • Tags: anders breivik, behzti, british politics, clash of civilizations, cultural diversity, danish cartoons, diversity, europe, far right, handsworth riots, isaiah berlin, islam, multiculturalism, muslims, racism, riots, rushdie affair, will kymlicka
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
Back in March I published a review of DV8’s extraordinary show Can We Talk About This?. I was both positive and critical of the show. It was I wrote, ‘unmissable theatre’, both ‘thought provoking and gut-wrenching, food for mind and heart’ and ‘the kind of bold, polemical spectacle that the theatre so badly needs’. Its weakness, I suggested, was as a polemic: The ambition of the show, and its willingness to stomp all over the debate, is its great strength; its […]
This is a transcript of the first part of the talk I gave last week as part of the Criticise This! seminar in Ulcinj, Montenegro on ‘Rethinking the Question of Difference’. (The second part of the talk overlaps with the Milton K Wong lecture that I am giving in Vancouver next week; I will publish that in full.) The audience comprised mainly of artists, writers and critics, and the aim was to explore more deeply the philosophical and political underpinnings […]
Categories: Culture & Books, Multiculturalism • Tags: alain benoist, alain finkielkraut, black culture, charles taylor, cultural diversity, enlightenment, france, herder, identity politics, isaiah berlin, multiculturalism, native son, nouvelle droite, racism, richard wright, romanticism, tariq modood, walter benn michaels, will kymlicka, yugoslavia
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
‘We want to create a European version of al-Qaeda’, the ‘most successful revolutionary movement in the world’. So claimed Anders Behring Breivik at his trial in Oslo last week. In his sick, twisted, paranoid fantasy world, Breivik sees himself as warrior defending Christian Europe against a Muslim invasion. Yet, nothing so resembles Breivik’s mindset as that of an Islamist jihadist. Not just because Breivik admires the organizational ability of al-Qaeda, but because both Breivik and jihadists draw upon the same […]
Categories: Multiculturalism, War on terror • Tags: anders breivik, christian europe, christopher caldwell, clash of civilizations, cultural diversity, diversity, eurabia, islam, islamism, islamophobia, jihadism, mark steyn, melanie phillips, multiculturalism, sam harris, samuel huntington, tzvetan todorov
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
Actually, I seem to have been talking about this for much of the past two decades; ‘this’ being free speech, multiculturalism, Islam, Islamism, the issues at the heart of DV8’s extraordinary new show Can We Talk About This? now playing at London’s National Theatre. Lloyd Newsom’s company has, for more than quarter of a century, blurred the lines between dance and theatre as a way of, in the company’s own words, ‘reinvesting dance with meaning, particularly where this has been […]
Categories: Culture & Books, Free Speech, Multiculturalism • Tags: cultural diversity, dance, danish cartoons, dv8, free speech, geert wilders, islamism, martin amis, multiculturalism, muslims, ray honeyford
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 […]