Academics, MPs, trade unionists and campaigners join Doreen Lawrence OBE in defence of multiculturalism
A fringe meeting at the Labour Party conference later today will discuss the contribution of multiculturalism to British society, and call for strong action against racism. The meeting is one of a number of debates on this issue at this year’s conference, setting out a positive framework within the current debate on multiculturalism.
It is jointly organised by the National Assembly Against Racism and UNISON, the public sector union, and will launch the ‘One Society, Many Cultures’ campaign, aiming to dispel the myths and highlight the positive contribution of Britain’s diverse communities to its prosperity, cultural and economic vibrancy. It will call for the national debate on this issue to be conducted taking into account the centuries of the contribution made by refugees and migrants, whilst challenging institutional racism that undermines community cohesion.
One Society, Many Cultures:
Multiculturalism’s contribution to a dynamic society
Tuesday 25 September from 5.45pm, Bistro area, Lampeter Hotel
Exeter Park Road, Bournemouth
Doreen Lawrence OBE
Sadiq Khan MP
Claude Moraes MEP
Dr Edie Friedman, Jewish Council for Racial Equality
Dr Mohammed Abdul Bari, Muslim Council of Britain
Mohammed Azam, NAAR
Bev Miller, UNISON
Speaking ahead of the meeting, Sadiq Khan MP said:
“Multiculturalism is not and never has been a threat to a cohesive and integrated society. Striving for homogeneity is not the road to success but respecting difference is. Multiculturalism to me is about interculturalism; an intercultural dialogue to avoid communities developing in parallel without any links between them. Unfortunately attacks on multiculturalism are no longer the preserve of the right. We should not allow ourselves to stop celebrating the diversity of our fellow citizens with different cultures adapting to Britishness in their own way.”
Prof Tariq Modood from University of Bristol, whose latest book is entitled 'Multiculturalism: A Civic Idea', said:
“Those who emphasise the importance of integration have a point; as do those who celebrate the multicultural interactions of urban Britain and its popular culture. But we need to bring these into a perspective that emphasises our changing and dynamic citizenship, one that is as open to religious identities as to all other identities within the diverse ways of being British'.
Claude Moraes Labour MEP for London said:
“Working in Europe it is clear that the success of the British model of multiculturalism and progress against racism is something to be celebrated and defended compared to other European countries which pursue policies which reject cultural difference. I am delighted that this fringe will bring together such leading figures in the debate to defend multiculturalism.”
Dr Mohammed Abdul Bari said:
“Britain’s multicultural framework is a success story. It is the bedrock of Britain’s dynamic economy. Coupled with strong action against racism multiculturalism allows Britain’s diverse communities, including Muslim communities, to contribute on an equal basis to civic society. Some attacks on multiculturalism have been attacks not only on Muslim’s right to cultural and religious expression such as to wear the hijab but the right of BA staff to wear a cross or Heathrow staff to wear a Hindu nose stud. These attacks can only cause division and we are pleased to join with others to defend multiculturalism.”
Bev Miller, chair UNISON National Black Members Committee said:
“UNISON believes supporting multiculturalism and strong action against racist discrimination is crucial to achieving equality in the workplace. We are pleased to be taking this debate in defence of multiculturalism to Labour Party conference.