Libmonster ID: UK-1262
Author(s) of the publication: G. A. KARPOV

UK Keywords: immigrationmulticulturalismintegrationIslam


Job Seeker

Institute of Africa, Russian Academy of Sciences

In February 2011, British Prime Minister David Cameron sharply criticized the policy of multiculturalism that has been implemented in the UK over the past few decades. In the past, such statements could have supported such a high-level policy, but it has become impossible to ignore and ignore the obvious shortcomings of multiculturalism. Cameron was not the only one who criticized multiculturalism. Earlier, in October 2010, this was done by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and a few days after Cameron, in February 2011, by French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

August 2011 was marked by major riots in the cities of Great Britain. During the period from 6 to 12 August, a series of pogroms swept through London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and Bristol. Neighborhoods where a large number of representatives of national and religious minorities live, primarily visitors from Asian and African countries, have become catalysts for unrest. Then the looting spread to neighboring areas. With great difficulty, the British authorities managed to bring the situation under control, several hundred people were detained.

The pogroms that rocked London and other English cities last summer may well be repeated there in late July or early August during the 2012 Olympic Games, if urgent measures are not taken to eliminate the causes that gave rise to them. This warning was issued by the authors of the report published here, prepared by order of the British government.

Among the main factors behind the riots and robberies, experts from the Independent Commission named " poverty, unemployment and dissatisfaction with the actions of the police." "The plight, of course, can not be an excuse for criminal attacks, - said the head of the commission, Darra Singh. "However, we must strive to solve the problems behind them. Otherwise, everything can happen again."

Surveys conducted in the areas most affected by the riots indicate "people's anger at inequality and lack of justice," dissatisfaction with the fabulous bonuses of bankers and outrage at the machinations of parliamentarians with compensation for their expenses, said Maeve Sherlock, a representative of the commission.1 At the same time, according to many Britons, the August riot was made possible by long-term propaganda and implementation of the policy of multiculturalism, political correctness, and equality in rights. Over the past 50 years, this trend has developed, strengthened its position, and in the first decade of the XXI century reached its apogee, leading in the end not at all to the results that the British leadership expected. It was not possible to build a harmonious multicultural society, and the partial solution of some problems led to the emergence of new difficulties and contradictions.

Participants in the August spontaneous social protest did not demand anything and did not call for anything, they looted shops and restaurants, set fire to buildings, cars and garbage cans, smashed shop windows, and engaged in looting. No socio-economic or political slogans were voiced. In the current situation, having all the rights of British citizens and enjoying social benefits, some residents of cities have ceased to associate themselves with the country and the state where they live and work. This was most pronounced among immigrants and their descendants, although according to the latest data, native Britons also took part in the riots.


In the second half of the 20th century, favorable conditions were created in Great Britain for the formation of large communities of migrants from former colonies and the formation of a specific identity within these communities. The policy was taken to include newcomers in the British society without losing their cultural and religious traditions, as well as to attract migrants and their descendants to participate in the socio-political and socio-economic life of the country.

Multiculturalism has become one of the directions of this policy. Multiculturalism is an ideological and political trend that, in its most general form, can-

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but it can be described as a set of measures aimed at preserving and developing the cultural, ethnic and religious differences of certain communities. It has become one of the most controversial concepts in modern Western political thought.

The term "multiculturalism" was born and entered the political life of the Western establishment at the turn of the 1960s and 1970s. This has happened in Canada in relation to conflict resolution between the Francophone and English-speaking communities. The implementation of multiculturalism in each individual country is specific, but, as a rule, is based on a number of generally accepted principles: equality of rights, tolerance, the fight against xenophobia, nationalism and discrimination.

We can distinguish the following main prerequisites for the emergence and further implementation of multiculturalism in the UK.

First, it was the collapse of the British colonial system, which was accompanied by the beginning of mass migration from the Commonwealth countries. This process was complicated by the lack of experience of the British authorities in accepting large numbers of immigrants of Asian and African descent.

Secondly, the specifics of the settlement of immigrants - mainly in individual urban areas, and not dispersed throughout the country or purely locally in port cities, as it was before the middle of the XX century. The constant influx of traditional cultural speakers from former colonies and the ability of newcomers to maintain contact with their homeland have led to the emergence of large and stable ethnic and religious groups of immigrants.

Third, the general democratization of Western European countries in the second half of the twentieth century, which also affected Great Britain. Criticism and the actual prohibition of nationalism after the victory over Nazi Germany, the softening of criminal legislation, the expansion of rights and freedoms, the ability to create associations and cultural centers, freedom of conscience, the spread of subcultures, the development of liberal philosophy and democratic thought - all this had a serious impact on interethnic policy within the country.

The realization of the ideas of multiculturalism was promoted, first of all, by interethnic and interreligious conflicts within the country in the second half of the XX century, the emergence and growth of the influence of right-wing radical movements and parties. Not a single decade of the second half of the XX century. There were also relatively large ethnic riots in the UK. The country has not developed a tradition of long-term cohabitation of a significant number of representatives of fundamentally different ethnic and religious communities. There was a need to soften the attitude of the local population towards immigrants through acquaintance with their culture, promotion of tolerance, and legislative prohibitions of discrimination.

The post-war economic model, focused on the creation of the so-called welfare state, could not do without a constant influx of relatively cheap labor not only to industry, but also to socially oriented segments of the economy, primarily medicine and the service sector. Multiculturalism has been used to prepare native Britons for the fact that they will now have to cope with the influx of immigrants with their cultural and religious characteristics.

Multiculturalism and the closely related immigration issue were among the key factors in British political life in the second half of the twentieth century, becoming a bargaining chip in everyday political practice. Immigration legislation has taken an important place in parliamentary debates and pre-election programs.

The ideological basis of British multiculturalism was laid by two political philosophers-John Rawls and Isaiah Berlin. From the philosophy of J. R. R. Tolkien Rawls took the idea of fair treatment of ethnic and religious minorities by public institutions and equal rights of people currently living in the country (regardless of the presence or absence of citizenship, language skills, etc.), the desire to solve through dialogue, compromise or unilateral concessions

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all conflict situations in the field of intercultural relations 2.

Berlin highlighted the fundamental principles of a modern liberal society that apply to all people living in the country at the moment, including immigrants:

"First, the creator of values is man himself, and therefore he cannot be destroyed in the name of something higher than himself, because there is nothing higher than man... Secondly, public institutions are created not only by people, but also for people, and when they cease to serve them, they must disappear... Third, people should not be killed either in the name of abstract ideas, however high, such as progress, freedom, or humanism, or in the name of social institutions, because neither of them has an absolute independent value, just as everything in them is created by people who can only do it. make them valuable or sacred... Fourth, and this follows from everything else, the worst of all sins is to humiliate or insult people in the name of some Procrustean scheme that they are being forced into. " 3

Later, these concepts were expanded and supplemented by the ideas of other scientists. Among them is the creation of an appropriate regulatory framework for implementing the principles of multiculturalism. Dvorkin); development of social adaptation programs for representatives of other cultures and religions (U. Kimlika); assistance in organizing and operating various public associations of representatives of ethnic and religious minorities (Ch. Taylor); the need for a more tolerant attitude towards immigrants, even if they do not adhere to liberal values (Ch. Kukatas); a comprehensive approach to the problem of equal participation of migrants in various spheres of life in modern society (F.-O. Radtke).


The implementation of the principles of multiculturalism in practice was applied and largely situational in nature, closely related to the problem of immigration and the related problem of integration of newcomers, as well as the resolution of interethnic and interreligious conflicts.

Many immigrants from the former colonies had the status of Commonwealth citizens by the middle of the 20th century. When they arrived in the UK permanently in the 1950s, they were free to move in and out of the country, not register with the police, change their place of work at will, and even participate in elections. Immigrants were subject to the British Nationality Act of 1948 (4), according to which they were "British subjects" and had all civil rights. These immigrants were not subject to almost any control.

Immigration from the Commonwealth countries was first noticed in 1958, when urban unrest broke out in London and Nottingham. It was not until 1962 that the first act (Commonwealth Immigrants Act5) was passed to restrict immigration from former colonies. It was later followed by a whole series of such legislative acts.

At the same time, the legislative formalization of the ideas of multiculturalism and recognition began.-

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The British authorities are concerned about the very existence of discrimination against immigrants and the need to combat it. In 1965, the Race Relations Actthe first law to prohibit discrimination in public places. The Office of Race Relations, a State body responsible for handling complaints of racial discrimination, was established.

The Race Relations Act 19687 prohibited discrimination on national, racial and ethnic grounds in the search for housing, employment, and provision of public services. To promote harmonious relations between communities, the Commission on Community Relations was established, the first of its kind to promote tolerance and tolerance.

From 1976 2006, a new Race Relations Act (Race Relations Act 1976.8) was in force, which prohibited discrimination on national and religious grounds in employment, education, and a number of other areas. At that time, the Commission on Racial Equality was working, which was not only engaged in combating racial discrimination, but also aimed to promote tolerance, tolerance and dialogue of cultures, support local organizations of a similar orientation, and create a just society with equal rights and opportunities for all its members, regardless of their national or religious affiliation.

However, as early as April 20, 1968, in Birmingham, Enok Powell, who served as Minister of Health in the Conservative government from 1960 to 1963, made a rare frank speech about "rivers of blood" .9

On behalf of the Conservative Party, Powell said that the current migration policy, from the point of view of the interests of the nation, is simply insane. Correctly predicting that by 2000, a tenth of the country's population will belong to national and religious minorities, he stressed that allowing tens of thousands of foreign citizens, including dependents, to enter each year is tantamount to throwing firewood on your own funeral pyre. The current policy of integration and protection of migrants from discrimination does not take into account the interests of the local population. Visitors may not yet be able to speak clearly in English, but they already know the word "racist". Powell called the widespread belief that immigrants are eager to integrate into British society ridiculous and dangerous.

The speech caused a storm of indignation among immigrants and many native Britons.


When the Labour Party led by Tony Blair came to power in 1997, the implementation of multiculturalism ideas became more active.

Thus, in 1997, with the support of the Government, the Muslim Council of Britain began working in London. The Council has taken custody of more than 500 different Islamic associations across the UK. Similar organizations operate among other large communities - the Hindu Forum of BritainThe Sikh Federation, and The Network of Sikh Organizations. These organizations enjoy the full support and approval of the British authorities, for whom the desire to unite migrant communities and organizations under one leadership became one of the key directions of domestic policy at the turn of the XX-XXI centuries.

At the same time, a new Immigration Citizenship, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 was passed in 2002, according to which newcomers who wanted to obtain the right to reside in the UK had to pass a test of knowledge of "life in the United Kingdom" (The Life in the United Kingdom test)..

In 2009, more than 906 thousand tests were passed, and more than 263 thousand candidates failed the task. More than 95% of candidates from English-speaking countries (USA, Canada, New Zealand) usually pass the exam.,

page 29

Australia). The average rate of passing the test by applicants from Iraq, Afghanistan, Turkey, and Bangladesh does not exceed 50%, while India occupies an intermediate position in this list - about 79% (in 2009, out of 100 thousand candidates, 79,229 people successfully passed the test).

In 2003, another step was taken towards a multicultural society. New rules (The Employment Equality (Religion or BeliefRegulations2003-10) prohibit discrimination based on religion in the workplace. Muslims were given the opportunity to perform prayer during working hours, the right to demand compliance with food restrictions at corporate meals, abstain from the dress code, and so on.

The Racial and Religious Hatred Act2006-11 made it a criminal offence to commit any act that may lead to incitement to inter-religious hatred. It required respect for members of religious minorities, but did not require that religious minorities respect the faith of the majority. Now even joking about religion has become unsafe, as pointed out by the famous British actor and comedian Rowan Atkinson 12.

Since 2006, there have been two laws on equality-2006 and 2010 (Equality Act 200613 and Equality Act 201014), which prohibit discrimination in almost all spheres of society - on the basis of nationality, religion, gender, age, sexual orientation, etc. the practical establishment of equality not only in the field of cross-cultural communications.

A new structure has been created - the Equality and Human Rights Commission, a modern guide to multiculturalism in the UK. It was headed by a well-known British human rights activist and Labour TV presenter, Travor Philips.

The Commission has its own website, helpline, legal advice, and publishing center. It has the right to make official inquiries, conduct research, initiate legal actions (although only a limited number per year), and evaluate the activities of State bodies in the field of equality and human rights. This structure also distributes grants (the total amount for the first two years of operation is 10 million pounds), conducts free summer youth camps and field seminars, participates in the legislative process and public debates, and has a significant authority in British society.

The goal of this Commission outlined in the program documents is directly correlated with the ideas of multiculturalism. "We are committed to helping the UK evolve as we strengthen the importance of the ideals that most of us hold dear - respect, freedom, equality, dignity and justice ... We will use all our influence and power to ensure that equality and human rights issues are taken into account in social policy. " 15 The 2009 biannual report highlights: "A single piece of legislation, even if applied properly, will not deliver the fundamental changes that the UK needs... We will play a central role in this transformation process, acting as a rigid, modern, independent regulator, using persuasive and, if necessary, coercive methods. " 16

The undoubted influence and sometimes direct borrowing of the principles of multiculturalism can be found in the work of a number of other public organizations and government structures in the UK, including the Institute for the Study of Civil Society, 17 the Forum against Islamophobia and Racism, 18 the Center for Social Unity, 19 the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Cabinet of Ministers.


Since the beginning of the noughties, criticism of multiculturalism has been gaining momentum in the UK.

According to his opponents, the idea that all cultures and religions are equal and of equal value, and therefore should enjoy equal rights in British society, is tinged with "vulgar egalitarianism". Cultures are not equal or equivalent. They were formed and developed in different parts of the world, under different conditions, and their evolution took different paths. People of different ethnic communities behave differently under the same conditions, and completely different reactions may follow to the same stimuli. The mentality, mindset, way of thinking, religion, geographical environment, traditions of statehood, and principles of family relations all matter. In general, there are significant differences, for example, between the British and Indians, European Christians and non-European Muslims.

The hopes that the development of a sense of identity of individual groups will contribute to the development of a sense of common identity - "unity in diversity" - have not been fulfilled20. The officially declared equality of cultures and religions in the UK cannot be fully implemented, because it implies an extremely high degree of autonomy for religious communities.

We can realize pluralism of values only when there is the same level of tolerance for all participants in the dialogue of cultures. But the willingness of mainstream British culture in the name of building a multicultural society

page 30

including all foreign cultures and religions does not automatically imply that the other side wants to accept the values and norms of the British. Moreover, the question may arise, why should immigrants embrace the culture of the UK, and not the other way around? After all, all cultures are equal. Why do Muslims have to abide by British law, but Britons don't have to abide by Sharia law? All religions in England should feel at home.

The first generation of immigrants had a certain idealization of life in the UK. "Many people went to the UK with the hope that they would find a modern, civilized, highly moral country with great opportunities." 21

The second and third generations of visitors look at life much more prosaically. They were not assimilated and did not become British in language and lifestyle. Moreover, they began to contrast their values, lifestyle and behavioral norms with modern British ones.

This applies, in particular, to family values, where immigrants from India have very clear ideas about how girls should behave before and after marriage, what to wear, what to do, etc.

And in Bradford, for example, the network structures of male Pakistanis "mobile communication groups"are active. Such groups monitor the behavior of women and girls in their communities, distribute religious leaflets, call for the murder of persons of non-traditional sexual orientation, strive to preserve the traditions of male dominance in the family, isolate themselves in their neighborhoods and urban areas, and live according to the rules and laws that they consider most acceptable.22 Forced marriages and "honor killings"are practised against girls and young women.23* And this state of affairs is often perceived by women themselves as the norm, since they also remain carriers of traditional values.

And when the head of the Anglican Church, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, in a public lecture in February 2008, mentioned the inevitability of the introduction of Sharia law in British law, he rather stated the state of affairs already existing in a number of urban areas.

Critics of multiculturalism believe that there are double standards in the UK. Cultural and mass events of immigrants are held ("Miss India of the United Kingdom", "One Hundred Great Black Britons"), but similar projects of Britons are prohibited (for example, "Miss White England").

A 2004 report by the Islamic Commission for Human Rights details the problem and precedents of discrimination against British Muslims in educational institutions, employment, daily life, etc. 24 But it does not take into account the fact that wearing a beard in high school, wearing traditional Muslim clothing at work, and openly demonstrating one's commitment to Islam (public prayers) are perceived by many Britons as disrespectful to British culture, as a challenge to local values and norms of behavior.

Opponents of multiculturalism argue that such a policy creates a favorable environment for any kind of national expression, except for the British culture itself. In these circumstances, the more demands that minorities make, the more they will achieve. Muslim communities in the UK are large, cohesive, determined, uncompromising compared to other ethnic and religious communities, whose customs and traditions are no less, and sometimes even more, different from British culture. That is why they attract so much attention, and their actions cause a great public response. At the same time, no one complains about "Chinese terrorism", "African threat", "negrophobia" or "Hindu radicals".

* For more information about the "murders of honor", see: Suvorova A. A. Murder in defense of honor as a social phenomenon and modern barbarism / / Asia and Africa today, 2010, N 6; Yurlova E. S. Caste violence against women / / Asia and Africa today, 2011, N 6 (editor's note).

page 31

Many Britons claim that the British authorities ' tolerant attitude towards Islamic radicals has become the norm. The anti-terrorist laws adopted in 2001,25 in 2006,26 and in 2010,27 are either repealed or severely restricted. There are entire radical Islamist organizations, for example, since 1996 Almukhajirun, which promotes its ideas, conducts lectures and press conferences, and participates in public debates. Its leaders and participants do not hide their goals, easily get in touch, give interviews 28.

According to critics of multiculturalism, what is happening in the UK can hardly be called the formation of a multicultural society. This is more like the displacement of British culture by alien cultures, by immigrant cultures.

But if earlier such statements were heard only from the lips of leaders of right-wing parties and movements, for example, the British National Party, now, as noted above, the British authorities in the person of Prime Minister David Cameron himself began to officially speak in the same spirit.29

Cameron pointed out the one-sidedness of the prevailing political correctness in the UK and the need to limit the activities of Islamic radical groups, drawing a distinction between Islam and Islamic extremism. The Head of Government also stressed that the sense of belonging to the host nation will continue to be encouraged. "Creating a stronger sense of belonging to the nation or place where you live is key to achieving real cohesion, allowing people to say,' I'm a Muslim, I'm a Hindu, I'm a Christian, but I'm also a Londoner.'

Thus, it was recognized that there were serious distortions in the British immigration policy, including in the implementation of multiculturalism. They have led to a worsening of the situation in immigrant communities and increased xenophobia among native Britons. The need to review the policy on immigrants and their descendants is recognized.

And although there have not yet been such right-wing excesses in the UK as A. Breivik's monstrous crime in July 2011 and a series of murders of visiting foreigners by German neo-Nazis, the situation is heating up. After the terrorist attack of the "Norwegian shooter" in the UK, a sharp rise in ultra-right sentiment began. Breivik's Islamophobic book "2083 - Declaration of Independence of Europe", which sharply criticizes political correctness and "cultural Marxism/multiculturalism", has received a positive response from xenophobes.30

Breaking the impasse is not easy: it requires a revision of many dogmas of socio-economic, demographic and immigration policies of the last 50 years.

Zaitsev B. 1 The pogroms that shook London in the summer may recur during the 2012 Games, British experts have warned. 30.11.2011.

2 See: Rawls J. The idea of the good and the priority of law // Modern Liberalism: John Rawls, Ronald Dworkin, Isaiah Berlin, Wil Kimlika, and Michael J. Smith. Sandel, Jeremy Waldron, and Charles Taylor, Moscow, 1998, p. 99.

Berlin I. 3 Evropeiskoe edinstvo i vicissitudes of its fate [European Unity and vicissitudes of its Fate].

4 British Nationality Act 1948 -

5 Commonwealth Immigrants Act 1962 -

6 %20Act%201965

7 The Race Relations Act 1968 -

8 Race Relation Act 1976 -

9 Enoch Powell's 'Rivers of Blood' speech -

10 The Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003 -

11 The Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006 -

Demetriou D. 12 Atkinson takes fight with religious hatred Bill to Parliament - -parliament-679152.html

13 Equality Act 2006 -

14 Equality Act 2010 -

15 Who we are and what we do // Equality and Human Rights Commission -

16 Two years making changes // Equality and Human Rights Commission -

17 Institute for the Study of Civil Society -

18 Forum Against Islamophobia and Racism -

19 Centre For Social Cohesion -

20 Euro - Islam: The Dynamics of Effective Integration - 8&topic_id=1422

Crewe E., Kothari U. 21 Gujurati Migrants' Search for Modernity in Britain // Gender and Development. March, 1998.

Macey M. 22 Religion, Male Violence, and the Control of Women: Pakistani Muslim Men in Bradford, UK // Gender and Development. Mar., 1999. Vol. 7, N 1, p. 50.

23 См.: UK Muslims condemn honour killings //

Ameli S. R., Elahi M., Merali A. 24 British Muslims' Expectations of the Government. Social Discrimination: Across the Muslim Divide // Islamic Human Rights Commission. 2004 -

25 The Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 -

26 Terrorism Act 2006 -

27 Terrorist Asset-Freezing (Temporary Provisions) Act 2010 -

28 See: Cohen D. Terror on the dole // Evening Standard, April 20, 2004.

29 British National Party -

30 Anders Behring Breivik's Complete Manifesto "2083 - A European Declaration of Independence". 28.07.2011 - ration-of-independence


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