Europe must not resile from multiculturalism

Europeans for most of the last hundred years have dominated much of mankind through colonialism and neo-colonialism, seeing it as their manifest destiny to civilise the rest of mankind.

Of course, they did so, while practising the most heinous forms of slavery and preventing oppressed peoples from liberation and political independence, as late as the 1970s in the case of Portugal in southern Africa.

In recent years, they have claimed to be the origin of civilisation, proclaimed themselves as the models of multiculturalism and democracy and abrogated the role of judge and jury of international human rights. Yet they chastise Cuba for lack of democracy and human rights.

They have abhorred tribal conflict in Africa as backward, conveniently forgetting their tribal wars known as World War I and II. They have not been able to eliminate ethnic cleansing either in the form of the savagery of Bosnia or the Italian expulsion of the Roma.

Last week, an Angolan being deported from Britain was so tightly restrained that he died from suffocation. We can only imagine the outcry if the reverse situation had occurred.

Germany appeared to represent the European ideal on multiculturalism, having long expunged anti-Semitism and having assimilated hundreds of thousands of people from Poland, Turkey and Russia.The much vaunted Germany soccer team is a kaleidoscope of players whose racial, cultural and religious backgrounds are the very antithesis of German.

So Chancellor Angela Merkel’s recent suggestion that attempts to build a multicultural society in Germany have “utterly failed”, comes as a shock, because with the exception of the occasional extremist fringe political party and the odd racist politician, Europe has preached multiculturalism.

To have the head of government and leader of a mainstream party state the reality so frankly is an ill omen, in our view.

The most explosive frictions appears to be between Europeans and Muslims, as is evident in France where the Muslims are forbidden by law to wear a hijab or burkha. There is growing hysteria in Europe because of the tidal wave of illegal Muslims sweeping across countries that have fought against this religion since the time of the Crusades.

Part of Tony Blair’s support for the invasion of Iraq was what Samuel Huntington famously called “the clash of civilizations”.

Apart from historic prejudice, the Muslims do not want to be assimilated into European society as other migrants want earnestly to do. Muslims want to be in Europe for its freedom and employment but not become European or give fealty to European governments.

Indeed, there is a palpable fear of the Islamization of Europe in the next 20-30 years when a continuation of recent trends would see Muslims representing half the population of France. This spectre is outlined in Christopher Caldwell’s riveting 2010 book, Reflections on the Revolution in Europe: Immigration, Islam, and the West.

With all our problems in Jamaica, we have a multicultural society from which the Europeans, Americans and the world can learn much. Do not preach what you do not yourself practise.

The foreign minister of Israel recently gave a telling bit of advice to European governments: do not tell us how to solve our border disputes until you resolve those in Europe.

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