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The Failure of Multiculturalism

(Ethnic tension is high in Leicester)

“We have a broken immigration system. Despite saying the right thing, [Suella] Braverman did not take much action to stop it. She ought to be judged similarly to what economists would call a revealed preference. In other words, actions speak louder than words.”

Shafilea Ahmed appeared to be an ordinary teenage girl living her life in Cheshire. She lived in the Great Sankey area of Warrington, a town in northwest England, with parents who had immigrated from Pakistan. She was raised by her father, Iftikhar Ahmed, and his wife, Farzana, in a family that adhered to the strict Sunni branch of Islam. Like many ambitious young women, Ahmed was driven and intelligent. An A-Level student at the nearby college, she had dreams of becoming a solicitor.

However, Ahmed’s life was anything but typical in private. In 2003, while on a trip to Pakistan, she rejected a man in a forced marriage. Ahmed tried to kill herself while in Pakistan by drinking bleach, which badly damaged her throat. And then the family went back home. Ahmed disappeared on September 11th of the year, not long after their arrival back in England. A local actress spearheaded a media campaign, urging her to get in contact, sparking a nationwide manhunt.

Her severely decomposed body was discovered in February of 2004. A plastic bag was forced down the 17-year-old would-be solicitor’s throat, resulting in her death. 70 miles from the family home in the Lake District, her dismembered body was buried. Her parents were found guilty of killing her in 2012 and given life sentences with a minimum term of 25 years.

Alesha, Ahmed’s younger sister, testified during the trial at Chester Crown Court that her father suffocated her to death after she told the police that her sister’s refusal to accept the marriage proposal would bring shame on the family. Ahmed’s family believed that she had become “too westernised.” In summarizing, Mr. Justice Roderick Evans said, “An expectation that she [Shafilea] live in a sealed cultural environment separate from the culture of the country in which she lived was unrealistic, destructive and cruel.”

The case of Ahmed is a chilling and tragic story. However, it is not an outlier. Data is hard to come by, and the numbers recorded possibly betray the fear of reporting such events. In the year to March, 2023, 2,905 honor-based abuse (HBA) offenses were recorded by the police, according to the government. This includes 84 cases of female genital mutilation and 172 forced marriages known to the police.

Take the case also of Banaz Mahmod. As a child, she underwent female genital mutilation by her grandmother. Like her eldest and youngest sisters, Mahmod was forced into a marriage with her cousin, ten years her senior. He beat her repeatedly and raped her. Her family knew of the abuse, but she was forced to stay with him because of the shame it would bring the family in the eyes of their community if they were to separate.

Mahmod declared that she had met and fallen in love with another man in the summer of 2005. She begged her family for a divorce, but they refused. She heard her family plotting her murder in December. Fearing for her life, she called the police, but to no avail. Mahmod was asleep in the family home when her parents left early on January 24, 2006. Three of her relatives, Mohamad Marid Hama, Mohammed Saleh Ali, and Omar Hussain, entered the property and subjected Mahmod to hours of brutal rape and torture before strangling her to death. Her body was placed in a suitcase, driven more than 100 miles to a Birmingham home, and buried.

We are taught that comparing other cultures to our own, more evolved moral standards is wrong. Cultural relativism’s central tenet is this absurd idea. The two examples I have provided demonstrate how, for more than 20 years, abhorrent and barbaric customs linked to less developed cultures have shattered the already fraying seams that bind the British nation together.

Cousin marriages have had a significant impact on cultural isolation. According to research by scholar Patrick S. Nash, between 38% and 59% of British Pakistanis are married to their first cousins. Family marriages cause a local community to become less cohesive, and this results in diminished trust in the wider community. The hardest places for some Pakistani communities to integrate culturally are Bradford, Rotherham, Birmingham, and London.

In areas of the United Kingdom, multiculturalism has led to interethnic riots between Islamists and Hindu nationalists, consanguineous marriages, honor killings, internecine religious conflict, and child sex scandals involving grooming gangs on an unprecedented scale. For years, thousands of young white working-class girls have been abused because the police were afraid it would inflame racial tensions. But when these issues are discussed, religion is usually blamed for them. I propose that a significant portion of this is cultural. Contrary to what supporters of multiculturalism think, not all cultures are equal and harmonious.

There are archaic kinship systems all over the world. Consider Afghanistan. Afghanistan is a tribal society with one of the highest rates of consanguinity in the world, with over a dozen ethnic groups mentioned in its national anthem. This may help to explain why Western attempts to intervene in the region were so wildly unsuccessful. In societies where kinship and ethnic affiliation are common, liberal democracy does not work. The inflexible tribal system in Afghanistan dates back thousands of years.

Once upon a time, our islands were also distinctly tribal. In the first century A.D., the Catuvellauni fought the Romans; decades later, the Vacomagi joined them. Then it was Iceni versus Trinovantes. The Angles and Saxons followed.

We might still be a highly sectarian society were it not for a directive from the Catholic Church. The church forbade cousin marriage and incest in the sixth century A.D. It destroyed traditional values and imposed new ones by forcing people to marry outside of their tribe. It fostered individualism, cooperation with others, and less in-group preference. As a result, a new shared national identity was formed. Stephen Stich of Rutgers University argues that it helps to explain the emergence of democracy in the West.

The demographics of Leicester, the city where those interethnic confrontations between Muslim and Hindu youths occurred, have rapidly changed in the last few years. The percentage of people who were born in India increased from 11.3% in 2011 to 16.2% in 2021. The percentage of Muslims in the city has grown from 18.6% to 23.5% in the same time frame. The Hindu population saw a similar increase, going from 15.2% to 17.9%.

The impact of mass immigration in Leicester has been profound. According to census data, in 2011, 50% of residents identified as white ethnic. By 2021, this had fallen to 40.9%. With 43.4% identifying as Asian, it is one of the few places in the United Kingdom where the majority of the population is non-white.

The cumulative effect of importing large numbers of individuals who do not share one’s civic values is inimical to Western liberal democracy. Pew Research reported in 2017 that 99% of Afghans are in favor of Sharia Law being implemented; 85% are in favor of adultery being punished by stoning; and 79% approve of execution for apostasy.

We have seen an increase in de facto blasphemy laws in recent years. After displaying pictures of Muhammad to his students—ironically, during a lesson on tolerance—a teacher is hiding out of fear for his life. Furthermore, a centuries-old ethno-religious conflict in Israel, thousands of miles away, has been imported onto our streets in recent weeks. I am sure that the proponents of multiculturalism did not intend for people to call for a Jihad on London’s streets. But it is here now.

Suella Braverman was one person who did try to fix this. The now former Home Secretary has taken a hardline stance against uncontrolled immigration, claiming that the burden it puts on housing and schools poses an “existential challenge for the institutions of the west.” Multiculturalism has been described by her as a “misguided dogma.” “Multiculturalism makes no demands of the incomer to integrate,” Braverman said during a speech organized by the center-right think tank The American Enterprise Institute. She went on to say, “It has failed because it allowed people to come to our society and live parallel lives in it…And, in extreme cases, they could pursue lives aimed at undermining the stability and threatening the security of society.”

We have a broken immigration system. Despite saying the right thing, Braverman did not take much action to stop it. She ought to be judged similarly to what economists would call a revealed preference. In other words, actions speak louder than words. The Conservative-led government has now had almost 14 years to address the United Kingdom’s immigration crisis. The amount of people crossing the channel and arriving on our southern shores has increased dramatically in recent years.

In 2019, a few short of 2,000 arrived. Last year it was more than 45,000—a staggering 2,150% increase. As of June of this year, there are in excess of 215,000 asylum seekers awaiting processing. Of those who arrived in 2021, just 4% were processed within six months, while over half took more than one-and-a-half years to receive a decision. Overall, the outcome is normally positive. Roughly three quarters of those who leave the relatively safe shires of Calais are likely to be granted asylum—a success rate twice that of the European Union average (34%).

Noel Yaxley is an independent journalist in the United Kingdom. He writes regularly for The Spectator Australia and City Journal and has also contributed to numerous other publications, including Quillette and Compact

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