The Trouble with Multiculturalism
Freedom is the distinguishing feature of Western culture.

Salim Mansur, author of Delectable Lie: A Liberal Repudiation of Multiculturalism


Clifford D. May

Mansur’s insights stem from experience as well as academic study. Born an Indian Muslim in Calcutta, he is Canadian by choice and conviction. His self-identification as a “dissident Muslim” undergirds his strong defense of Western values. “Faith does not take precedence over my duties . . . to Canada and its constitution, which I embrace freely,” he writes. You may not be surprised to learn that his statements have resulted in two fatwas calling for his execution.

Those whose religious and cultural beliefs lead them to the conclusion that Mansur deserves death also want to destroy Canada, America, Israel, and other “infidel” nations. That represents diversity — but should we really celebrate it?

Unable to answer that question, multiculturalists instead maintain the fiction that those who declare themselves enemies of the West are merely addressing “grievances” over such historical “crimes” as colonialism and imperialism, ignoring the fact that Islamists promote Islamic colonialism and seek to revive Islamic imperialism. Multiculturalists also decry the inequities of the global economic system, although their funds are derived from wealth created by Western agriculture and industry, and exchanged for Middle Eastern oil.

Mansur makes clear that Islamists are motivated by a fierce will to power and a deep antipathy for the West’s “civic culture, its freedom and democracy.” And Islamists, he adds, “find that multiculturalism increasingly in the post-9/11 world works in tandem with their interests to weaken the West politically and culturally from the inside.”

Most of those who advocate multiculturalism no doubt mean well. But their intellectual myopia is striking. The truth is, some cultures value freedom of religion; others see no virtue in granting free rein to what they regard as false religions. Some cultures prize free speech; others believe it is dangerous to permit open discourse and opt instead to censor many ideas. Some cultures believe that women and minorities should have the same rights as the majority; others consider that a blasphemous notion. Some cultures are willing to compromise to achieve peace; others are willing to fight and die for conquest and victory.

But the big trap of multiculturalism is simply this: If all cultures are equal, why defend your own? The culture that replaces it will be just as good, won’t it?

— Clifford D. May is president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a policy institute focusing on terrorism and Islamism.


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