Sunday, January 20, 2008

Multiculturalism and 'Tolerence'

I have been asking folk to drop in with post suggestions. So I decided to have a go at this in response to eezee.

Multiculturalism is a complete non-starter. The idea sounds great, a version of 'can't we all just get along'. Well, the short answer is no. If we take a look at the case of Muslim immigrants to western nations bringing their culture with them the reasons why become fairly obvious. Western nations being secular allow the practice of any and all faiths without discrimination. In the case of Islam, it is a duty of the good Muslim to convert others, by force if necessary. Now Muslims will argue this is not so, that the Koran tell us that there is no obligation in religion. The Koran does indeed say this. Of course, like all religious texts, it contradicts itself all over the place and states the exact opposite of this as well. Let's not forget the religion was founded by a man considered so holy that Allah actually created the universe because of him, who went around converting by the sword. If the holiest man who ever did or will exist thought it was OK, then how can any modern Muslim seriously argue that such an idea is against the tenets of their faith. Many Muslims, ironically exercising their secular democratic right to free speech have stated that the want to establish Muslim ummahs in the countries they are resident in. If you believe that you are right and everyone else is wrong on religious grounds then you are right with divine authority. Everyone else is flying in the face of GOD. It is easy to see why someone believing that feels quite entitled to tell his or her host nations how to run things. This in itself would not be a major problem. People are entitled to say whatever they want. The problem arises when the host nation begins to erode its own values and culture to accommodate immigrants. Multiculturalism is nothing more than spineless PC appeasement. In the secular west we believe that women are the equals of men and are afforded the same rights and considerations. Muslim culture does not hold this to be the case. Some of you are by now wanting to slap my wrist for calling Muslim a culture. It is a faith not a culture!. I would argue that in dominantly Muslim countries there is no real distinction. The issue of women's rights is a clear example of incompatibility between Western and Muslim cultures. How far should other cultures be tolerated? It might be argued that Muslim women in western nations have the choice of living however they want. This might be legally the case, but tolerance of Muslim attitudes in western nations makes this very difficult for many. If you turn a blind eye to these attitudes then what about female circumcision? Is that just an element of their culture? Should the barbaric mutilation of young girls be tolerated so as not to offend?

Everyone has the right to say whatever they want. If I want to name a teddy bear Mohammed, I will feel quite free to do so. If I want to draw pictures of Mohammed I will feel free to do so. If I want to state that I believe that Mohammed was a paedophile because he had sex with a nine year old, I will feel quite free to do so. Any Muslim out there who doesn't like this is quite free to say so and attack my statements with all the vigour and bile they can summon. This is freedom of speech. Religions in general have long desired some kind of 'free pass' in this regard. When they have enough power they usually just kill or torture those who say anything against them. Thankfully, religion in the west has lost this level of power. They still do what they can to prevent negative commentary with appeals to respecting someones faith. Even today, if I went on national television in Ireland and declared that I believed "that anyone who thought they were eating the actual flesh and blood of a two thousand year old demi-god every Sunday were idiots" I would be lambasted for my disrespectful attitude, even I suspect by many non-Christians. If I went on the same TV broadcast and declared 'Anyone who believes that we are the brainwashed disembodied souls of people killed 75million years ago by an intergalactic despot trying to solve overcrowding on other planets is an idiot' I'm sure no-one would mind, even if they are aware that this is what scientologists believe. Scientology has failed so far to attain the magical blanket of respect enjoyed by the mainstream faiths. Whats the big problem with that you may ask? Well, the problem is simply that when a nation/culture gets into the habit of respecting faiths, the reaction of that culture to new faiths seems to be to try to afford it this same wonderful respect. Whilst religion in western cultures has been forced to moderate itself to survive the enlightenment, religions from other regions have not had to do so. Trying to accommodate these old style authoritarian religions in a democratic setting is an effort doomed to fail. Something has to give. In too many cases it is the established rules of the democratic society that are being bent or broken to try to force this round peg into the square hole. In Britain, Sikhs do not have to wear helmets on motorcycles or on construction sites because it conflicts with their religious beliefs and the wearing of the turban. Pardon my french here but that is FUCKING RIDICULOUS. Don't want to obey the same rules as everyone else regarding motorcycles, fine, BUY A FUCKING CAR. This sort of state sanctioned lunacy really drives me (no pun intended) nuts. I might start a religion tomorrow that insists I don't wear a seat belt. What other inconvenient laws of modern society might I circumvent with a handy religion. I'm quite sure that if it was a political party or some other non-religious organisation which attempted to gain such exemptions they would have been laughed out of Parliament.

I think it is time to become much more intolerant and that goes for homegrown idiocy as well as imported. Am I suggesting we ban religion?, ban cultural expression? Absolutely not. I am suggesting that objections raised on religious ground be treated the same way as any other kind of objection. Culture and religion must not be allowed to act as a shield for undemocratic censorship or downright illegal behaviour. If something offends you, tuff. Welcome to adult life.

What do you think? Anyone care to make the case for multiculturalism?

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