Monday, 31 August 2009

Multiculturalism?No sir, It's a Joke!

I have worked very hard to promote the so called Multiculturalism in my city. I established many Multicultural initiatives including diver(c)ity, a magazine deals with intercultural issues. I brought to my College the joyful "International Food Festival", which runs every year. I aimed -with my colleagues- to bring people from different backgrounds to meet and be friends in order to discover for themselves the richness of other cultures. I'm very much involved with some NGOs, that focus on Multiculturalism, human rights and social justice.

Having said all that, I should mention the fact that I have discovered from my long on going experience that Multiculturalism is fine if it is about having a meal or a brief chat. However if you are talking about real life then I afraid Multiculturalism is no more than a joke.

First of all think with me about any possible answers for the following questions:

Does Multiculturalism in your view mean that ethnic minorities should keep their culture and tradition or they should adopt what the host country thinks is good and fit for them?

Does Multiculturalism mean that the host nation is superior and the ethnic minorities have no roots or pride and as such they have no any entitlement to whatever they think is right for them?

Could we say that Muticulturalism is a voluntary interaction between all cultures to have a healthy society in which people are equals and recognize each other's entitlement to free religion, culture and tradition?

Do you think we could agree about a specific definition for Multiculturalism?

I have to tell you that there are many other questions and the reality is, people have different answers, approaches and expectations which actually make the process of Multiculturalism difficult if not impossible.

I have lived in the west for many years and needless to say I have met many good people but I have to say that there are many communities here that live in fear of who are often referred to as "foreigners who are here to take our money", why do they think like that?

What are the implications of this way of thinking on the life of the ethnic minorities? Surely the answers need a complete and focused study to find out the roots of the problem.

Also I met many individuals who are either members of right wing parties or you could describe them as racists. However, the most astonishing thing was when some friends of mine tried to impose their own culture on me just because I live in the west.There is kind of confusion amongst my friends about "what's Multiculturalism is all about?", I was surprised to find some very educated friends telling me what I could describe as an aggressive way to impose their own values upon me. Read the following and see for yourself people's perception of Multiculturalism:

1. Khalid, forget Iraq and try Guinness.
2. Khalid, do you drink?No
do you dance?No
do you have a girlfriend?No
What's the meaning of your life then?
3. How many wives you could have in Iraq at one time?
4. Khalid, you should find a girlfriend.
5. Show some respect and come and drink with us.
6. Khalid, do you in the Middle-East force your women to wear the scarf? Do you also
keep them at home?
7. Why do you not have democracy in your countries?Is it because you love
dictatorship?
8. Why do you treat women badly?
9. How often do you have to beat women in the Middle East?
10.Why do you write from right to left?
11.Do you allow girls only to cook in the Middle East?

There are many other strange questions but these are just some examples to show you the lack of understanding amongst many western people for our religion, culture, values and traditions. I think that's the main reason why almost all the Multicultural marriages failed in our community.

Few years ago, I met a western girl and I thought we could get a future together but I was totally wrong.

She did not want to have kids until she is 35 or 40 while myself I wanted many kids as quick as possible.She feared that getting pregnant would ruin her figure.She also used to drink heavily every week-end and to marry her would meant for me as a Muslim husband to be with her and then carry her on my shoulders. How many times would I have to do that?Probably for the rest of my life if I were to marry her.

Then the straw to break the camel's back came when she went swimming wearing -at least in my view as a Middle Eastern citizen- almost nothing.

The next day I told her:

We should stay good friends.No need to destroy our friendship by trying to impose one's culture on another.We both have every right to be free and nothing like freedom.I would like to keep my values and I do not want to impose them on you.The ending was nice and we remain good friends.

The problem we have these days is that some people in the west think they have a superior culture and the others who are coming, for example, from the Middle East should learn from them.However, I strongly believe that there is no better or superior culture of any kind.We are all equals as responsible people and have the same entitlement for whatever we think is fitting for our life.

We should accept each other as we are.My or your religion, culture, tradition and values are no one's business as far as they are within the law of the land and reflect my and your legal entitlement. This fact should be protected and respected.

I do not believe in Multiculturalism if it means that I should forget my history and culture to adopt other cultures that I had never encountered before.

Multiculturalism is not going to work with people who are brought up to believe that their culture is the absolute truth and the ethnic communities should follow them; does not matter for that crowd if the minorities are obviously not willing to do so.

Multiculturalism is a joke if only the minorities are always ready to accept the others who think they have the superior culture, and not ready to move one step forward in recognition to the fact that minorities will bring enrichness to any society in which they live.

I conclude by saying that Multiculturalism, if it does not mean freedom for all cultures, should be rubbished.Those who are trying to create conflicts between the different cultures should leave people enjoying their life and building their successful future in the way they think is most suitable to their culture and values.

14 comments:

Sandybelle said...

Salams ammu!!
"I was surprised to find some very educated friends telling me what I could describe as an aggressive way to impose their own values upon me." I am surprised too, and the questions really made me angry. but, hmmmm, its ok, we should trust ourselves, at least, there's something called
" conversation and talking" .
One of my american friends told me once that he really found it so difficult to explain the true picture bout Islam and the middle east for his friends, first, i found it a bit of exaggeration , especially if we remember the great educated background that everybody amongs them own.. but no, the backward thoughts dont know places or people. they belong to the human structure.

"The problem we have these days is that some people in the west think they have a superior culture and the others who are coming, for example, from the Middle East should learn from them." its really horrible.. so horrible.

"We should accept each other as we are.My or your religion, culture, tradition and values are no one's business as far as they are within the law of the land and reflect my and your legal entitlement. This fact should be protected and respected.
I do not believe in Multiculturalism if it means that I should forget my history and culture to adopt other cultures that I had never encountered before." I agree with this and with your conclusion ammu.

hmmmmm, we should add something, they think that all the backwards thoughts in the middle east comes from our religion "islam" while they are about customs handed down from ancient times.
Many times I think , is Islam that hard? is is that complex?
ammu, it seems complex sometimes, but we are normal people, we just should know that this is right, and that is wrong, and if we concentrate, we will found that all the forbidden things in Islam dont really mean that big deal in man's life, I mean, if i dont drink i will not die, really. and all the things that Islam orders us to do are really the perfect and everybody should do, they are all about human manners. just like the things that menioned in the older religions..

Ammu, I believe that your post is not about Islam, but i took it as an example i live with.. thanks ammu for the valuable post.its very great, very very great.

in the end, i like to add , does what you mention ammu mean that you are younger than I expected??????????????

Khalid from iraqiblogupdates.blogspot.com/ said...

My dear Shamosah Al Wardah,

Thank you for your valuable comment that includes many important issues such as drink which is here in the west is leading to lot of problems affecting individuals and society as a whole. I'm happy that we as Muslims are not allowed to drink. This is very much is a measure that protected us MUslims against what should be a chronic disease.I hope to write in details about drinking in the west.

As to your clever question related to wheather this post is making me younger or older?Well, the reality if you look at it from an experience angle then I should be old enough to write such a post.However, if you look at it as views of a student who's still studying then I should n't be that old.

I have to say that you are totally rights by saying that Islam is not the main subject of my post. To talk about Islam in the west is a very important subject that needs lot of focus and some sophisticated studies.You could say that my post is about cultural freedom.

I conclude by saying thank you Sandona for your kind visit and also for your time and valuable contribution.

Sandybelle said...

Ok, thanks ammu for yur kind response..

ok, i will never ask about your age ammu.. the most important thing, is that you are the best ammu khalid :) :) ;)

Secondly, you are totally right, talking about Islam needs a lot of time.. i am ready to give any help , as i am here, living amongst muslims..

you are doing a grea tjob ammu..

thanks so much..
what makes me really sad is to see many people here dont believe in the true multiculturalism.. you can see a sunni family refuse that their daughter gets married to a Shi'i man!!! or the opposite.. its something horrible and was perfectly found after 2005.. its somethng horrible.. but in the same time, i believe that as it is a bad idea and doens tbelong to the true Iraqi customs, it will disappear by time, and by offering the true education and culture to everybody..
What is missed in iraq today is establishments care about the society in general, and try to plant the healthy and good meanings among people, or even to awake the ancient great goodies that we almost forgot!!!!!!


and btw, while we are on such subjects, i would really talk about Iraq and how the real life is in Iraq nowadays, with all the ups and downs..

may God bless you ammu.. always stay safe and dont forget to take care of yourself....

always,
Shams

Khalid from iraqiblogupdates.blogspot.com/ said...

Thank you so much Shamosah Al Wardah for coming back and wrting your very much respected views.

Yes, I hope that we could write in co-operation an article about Islam here and there, i.e in the East and in the West.

As to marriage between Iraqis, I fully agree with you that "it will disappear by time, and by offering the true education and culture to everybody.."

Thank you for all your kind words and be sure that I pray always for you to be happy and successful.

May ALLLAH be with you and your family all the time!!!

Dr.Violet said...

valuable post , inshallah i'll return

Khalid from iraqiblogupdates.blogspot.com/ said...

Dear Dr. Viola,

Many thanks for your kind visit and you are welcome all the time.

Thanks,

Dr.Violet said...

استاذ خالد

ارتأيت الكتابة باللغة العربية لأن البوست ماتك اشعل الروح الوطنية ماتي بعد اكثر

افتخر مثل ما كثيرين يفتخرون اني مسلمة .. عراقية .. عربية

والغرب مهما طال الزمان سيقى حاقد على دين الاسلام لأن اتى بما عجز عباقرته من اتيانه ... دستور ينفع ان يكون منهاج لكل امة ومهما اختلفت الازمان وإن ما يرجعونه الى الاسلام بأعتباره عيب فيه كالحجاب والى اخره ما هو الا تخبط وعدم ايجاد وسيلة للطعن بهذ الدين الحنيف

"مثلهم كمثل الذي استوقد نارا فلما اضاءت ما حوله ذهب الله بنورهم وتركهم في ظلمات لا يبصرون"

المجتمع العراقي كان من اكثر الشعوب المتمثل فيها تعدد الثقافات - قبل الحرب- .. واللي اشارت اليه ساندي صح ... هسة العائلة السنية ما تنطي للعائلة الشيعية وبالعكس .. مع اني اكره قول شيعي وسني لأني أؤمن بشي واحد وهو الاسلام ..

بس كبل جان الناس اصلا ما تعرف شنو الفرق بينهم ... كل اخوة .. وعلى سبيل المثال الموصل مليانة عوائل نصفية (نصف شيعي ونصف سني)
واكيد بغير مناطق من العراق همين

احنا اش علينا من الغرب .. اذا ميريدون يفتهمونا على راحتهم " لكم دينكم ولي دين "!!!



شكرا خالد .. واسفة عل الاطالة

Khalid from iraqiblogupdates.blogspot.com/ said...

اهلاً بالدكتورة فيولا ولاتوجد اطالة ابداً بل مواضيع مهمة تستحق المناقشة والتمحيص

قد يكون هناك عدد كبير من المتحاملين على الاسلام والمسلمين في الغرب ولكن الحقيقة ايضاً ان الغالبية العظمى من الغربيين هم من المسالمين الذين يريدون ان يسود السلام في العالم وهنا فاننا علينا ان نعمل على افهام الشعوب حقيقة كون ديننا الاسلامي دين سلام ومحبة بين الشعوب

اما بالنسبة للزواج في العراق فمحزن ان يحصل هذا والامل في الشباب المثقف في ان يقضي على هذه الظاهرة التي تتنافىمع ما امرنا به الله تعالي في ان نكون موحدين كالبنيان المرصوص فسلامتنا ومستقبلنا يتوقف على وحدتنا واني ارى ان هذه الظواهر وقتية وستزول انشاء الله

قال تعالى (فأما الزبد فيذهب جفاء وأما ما ينفع الناس فيمكث في الأرض)

وحسناً قلت ايتها الدكتورة المحترمة

"لكم دينكم ولي دين"

ولكم الشكر على الزيارة الكريمة

Sharm said...

i think you are right ..

mais.m.issa said...

very very good post!!!congratulation.you are really a special writer.

Don Cox said...

"Does Multiculturalism in your view mean that ethnic minorities should keep their culture and tradition or they should adopt what the host country thinks is good and fit for them?"

I think it should be a compromise. If you go to live in another country, you should learn its language and obey its laws. So if your culture partly conflicts with local laws, then that part has to be given up until you return home.

For example, an American should not expect to go to live in Saudi Arabia and carry on drinking alcohol; and he should at least try to learn Arabic.

On the other hand, countries should not have (as many do) laws restricting people's religious beliefs - unless these beliefs include practices such as human sacrifice which are against the local laws.

If a person cannot accept the compromises involved, he should move to some other country, if he can't go home.

As for the Guiness, that is nothing to do with government policy. You need to realise that drinking together is an important part of the friendship ritual for many men in Europe and the US. Refusing this is to say "I do't want to be your friend." However, it is not too hard to find people who don't build their relationships around drinking alcohol.

Khalid from iraqiblogupdates.blogspot.com/ said...

Thank you so much dear Mais for your visit and your kind words. I wish you every success in your work and life.

Thanks,

Khalid from iraqiblogupdates.blogspot.com/ said...

Don: Thank you so much for stopping by my blog and taking time to write your views.

You mentioned that there "should be a compromise" but I think there should be a mutual respect between different cultures.There are occasions when you won't be able to compromise.For example in France when they asked some Muslim girls to choose between hijab or school, many of them left shcool in order to keep their head scarf. In fact, you won't be able to compromise until you feel that you are fully respected and accepted, then you may compromise only when it's possible.

As to "you should learn its language and obey its laws." I fully agree with you on this point. To learn a new language should be an enjoyable practice. Also I mentioned the fact that the laws of land should be respected but as you mentioned "countries should not have (as many do) laws restricting people's religious beliefs".

You are saying that to refuse Guiness is to say "I do't want to be your friend." However I don't look at it that way because I have hundreds of friends who regularly drink, often heavily during week-ends which is not my business and we are still good friends because we don't impose one's culture on another.

Again thank you for your kind visit,

Khalid from iraqiblogupdates.blogspot.com/ said...

Thank you Sharm for your kind visit and I wish you all the success.

Thanks,