Multiculturalism should be taught
Multiculturalism is one aspect of British life today. Therefore I hope Afghans will learn about it, when they arrive in the UK. It should be in their lessons on ‘British Values’, which the government has promised. In fact, I think all people who apply to come to live in this country already have to learn something like that. Everyone needs to understand this aspect of our culture.
Not all British people believe in multiculturalism
Many Britons dislike aspects of life which they say are unbritish. They reject a lot of foreign ideas and customs, although most like Asian cooking. Other people don’t like many of the ways Britain has changed in their lifetime. These changes include various aspects of sexual morality. Of course, not everyone likes the changes in technology or the ways people work. Some blamed the European Union. Will Brexit turn back the clock? There has been a report on this aspect of Britishness recently.
Why is Multiculturalism so important?
The many cultures and subcultures that exist in Britain today have become well established. Some are here because people from other countries have come here. Others are here because younger generations have developed separate cultures. You might say LGBT people constitute a separate culture or group of cultures. Alternatively, you might say they are now part of the mainstream. Either way, they have affected our society.
Why teach multiculturalism to Afghans?
Afghanistan, like many Asian countries, is monocultural (at least, compared with the UK). The vast majority of Afghans are Moslems. Although some may be more religious than others, few will know many people who are followers of other religions or none. Of course, some will have had contact with the occupying forces or aid workers. However, it is likely that most of the latter will have been trying to avoid offending Moslem sensitivities. That will not be the case for everyone in this country.
Multiculturalism includes the right to shift between cultures.
Some people say that there are monocultural small areas in Britain, where people have little contact with strangers. I wonder how true that is, given the influence of TV and the internet. Surely they must interact for work, business, education and many other activities? However, most Britons want to encourage integration, without necessarily destroying anyone’s identity or culture. It comes as no surprise to me that people sometimes move between cultures, either absorbing bits or making wholesale changes. This includes changing religion. In Afghanistan that is illegal, but here it is not. Neither is it socially unacceptable.
Multiculturalism has legal protection
In the UK there are laws against discrimination on the grounds of race, religion, gender or orientation. Sadly, there are racists and sundry bigots of all colours and in all societies. The law does not support them. The law also protects free speech – up to a point. Inciting crime and hatred is illegal: criticising cultures or religions is not. I wrote about this some time ago and my words are still relevant. I hope the Afghans coming to the UK will be well treated and that they will quickly adapt to our multicultural society. Britain is not just the Taliban in reverse!