Multiculturalism

A note from the editor

Dinyar Godrej

Multiculturalism. Is it working?

When designer Alan Hughes first pitched the cover that you now see on the front of this edition, I went, ‘Oh no...’ This kind of image is often used as a shorthand to pose questions of integration and identity.

So up I got on my high horse, lecturing anyone who would listen about such essentialism. I felt uncomfortable that this woman was being reduced to her burkha, at the conflict of values suggested (‘Islam and the West’ – two grand monoliths!), at the singling out, yet again, of supposed Muslim identities when problems of cultural interaction are deeper and wider. There’s a debate on women’s clothing and choice raging in our Letters page at the moment and this seemed like an unhappy reflection of that, too.

For me, identity and beliefs are about choice, taking on board the things to which I feel an affinity. But when the media goes into overdrive over ‘home-grown terror’ and ‘culture clashes’, I wonder about all those people identified immediately as being members of one group or another, and the limitations of such identity. Choice and reasoning seem to jump right out the window.

But others in the NI co-operative felt differently. They felt the image went to the heart of people’s concerns about culturally diverse societies, concerns to which they might find some answers in the edition you hold in your hands. The provocation of the image, if such it was, could be answered by the nuance of the text. One more tricky decision was how to convey the issues surrounding faith schools. It would have been easy to run yet another piece analyzing and attacking their place in secular democracies. But I hadn’t really heard much from people who had been to such schools and when I interviewed Laura McAllister, she put up a robust defence. Whether I agreed with her was not the point; her personal experience animated the discussion.

Getting to know the ‘Other’ is essential to making cultural diversity work to social advantage. Our Special Feature this month highlights peace initiatives among our most iconic ‘Others’ – Israelis and Palestinians. Despite everything that is stacked against them, civilians are picking up the common thread of their shared humanity. In the end that’s what it ought to be about.

Dinyar Godrej for the New Internationalist co-operative.
www.newint.org

Keynote article.

Photo: Bazuki Muhammad / REUTERS

Mass outpouring: supporters hold images of Pim Fortuyn aloft on the streets of Rotterdam while waiting to attend his lying in state ceremony, May 2002.

Jerry Lampen / REUTERS

Into the vortex of identity

With Dinyar Godrej, whose personal journey as an immigrant reveals some of the faultlines of multiculturalism, making the case for looking beneath the smokescreen of ‘culture clash’.

Buy this magazine

Thirteen years ago, I moved to the Netherlands.

I had become yet one more manifestation of the shifting populations of our planet and, unbeknownst to me, the tiny rivulet of my life was about to be drawn irresistibly into a torrent of argument that would course violently through the country. A torrent of culture, race, religion, class and intolerant rage that would briefly grab the world’s attention.

Like most other immigrants, I was not just moving away from, I was moving tow...




Features.

Multi-culturalism in Britain – failing to connect.

To craft a new society

A divided society needs new answers and new identities, argues Yasmin Alibhai-Brown.

Buy this magazine

No room for bigots

Canadian multiculturalism is in rude health and has licked the kinds of problems that crop up in other countries. Haroon Siddiqui explains how.

Buy this magazine

What's my identity?

What's my identity?

Faith schools get a bashing even from committed multiculturalists. We talk to one supporter who currently teaches English at a secular school in Australia.

Buy this magazine

Incandescent: Hindutva zealots rage against the arrest of Sadhvi Pragya, a Hindu ascetic, under suspicion of a terror attack.

Ripping up the rainbow

Shoma Chaudhury on the hate mongers intent on tearing up the very idea of India.

Buy this magazine

Another side of paradise

Class or culture – which has caused Mauritius the most upset? Lindsey Collen looks back.

Buy this magazine

Hanging together

Strategies for social cohesion

Buy this magazine

Peace offerings

Members of citizens’ groups for peace that attempt to bridge the Israeli-Palestinian divide talk with Hadani Ditmars about why working together brings its own rewards.

Buy this magazine

Blog.

What revolution?

What revolution?

Socialism is no match for plastic cups!

Buy this magazine

Read more blogs...

Currents.

Upping the ante

Upping the ante

Protesters raise the stakes as strikes sweep the French Caribbean

Buy this magazine

May Day!

May Day!

Montreal police out of line and in the courts

Buy this magazine

Living in fear: a gay transvestite in Iran.

Running scared

No reprieve for gay community living with 30 years of sharia law

Buy this magazine

Regulars.

Timor-Leste - Don’t Forget

Timor-Leste - Don’t Forget

Catherine Scott and Jo Barrett call on the international community to honour its obligations.

Buy this magazine

South Korea

A country profile of South Korea.

Buy this magazine

Shahadat Parvez

A Bangladeshi boy is inspired by a French footballer in Shahadat Parvez’s photograph.

Buy this magazine

Nato

NATO is shrouded in military secrecy, but what we do know is bad enough.

Buy this magazine

Felipa (left), and Saturnina (right).

Saturnina Quispe Choque

Bolivian feminist Saturnina Quispe Choque talks to Nadia Hausfather.

Buy this magazine

Film, Book & Music Reviews.

Ahlaam (Dreams)

This is the first Iraqi film about the American-led invasion. Written and directed by Mohamed Al-Daradji.

Buy this magazine

Better Times Will Come

An album loaded with the instrumentation - fiddle, steel guitar, banjo and mandolin - of American roots music.

Buy this magazine

Long Time Coming

Short Writings from Zimbabwe, edited by Jane Morris.

Buy this magazine

Havana Fever

Like the best, most haunting bolero, Havana Fever is liable to linger in the mind well after its final phrases.

Buy this magazine

The Children's Hours

A collection of stories about childhood from a stellar cast of authors from around the world, with all royalties going to Save the Children. Edited by Richard Zimler and Rasa Sekulovic.

Buy this magazine

Easy Come, Easy Go

Subtitled '18 Songs for Music Lovers', Easy Come, Easy Go is a double album containing a wide choice of songs: from Brian Eno's 'How Many Worlds' to Dolly Parton's 'Down from Dover'

Buy this magazine

Our Seeds: Seeds Blong Yumi

This is a rallying cry that shows the way in which people in many parts of the world are resisting seed privatization through actions big and small.

Buy this magazine

Back