“Oh mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the one who who has the most fear of Allah and by it attains righteousness. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.” (Qur’an 49:13)
Something I have come to the conclusion to after taking off my rose coloured glasses.
That is that multi-culturalism is successful only in that the dominant culture of that particular multi-cultural society does not come under threat.
I remember reading the book: “Reflections of an American Muslim” by Dr. Shahid Athar. In the book he likened the United States to a salad bowl rather than a melting pot. In a salad bowl all the ingredients are encouraged to preserve their original states and flavour.
Often in the melting pot, the process is controlled. Who or want is being added to the pot and what is the shape the smelter is molding?
Often the very people who push for multi-culturalism are the same people who will use terminology like “cultural appropriation”. In a society where there are multi-cultures co-existing someone some where is bound to dress in accordance with a different culture. Alas, this term “cultural appropriation” is often used by cancel culture advocates to create more strife in multi-cultural societies. Ironic!
I began to research and reflect about various scenarios in human history in which one dominant culture was supplanted by another. I have not come across a single scenario in which this happens naturally, or peacefully.
I think about the Aboriginal people of Australia, the multifarious native and indigenous peoples of North America. Many of whom were violently subjugated, expelled, and exterminated altogether.
So multi-culturalism works in as long as the dominant culture (either religious, tribal, ethnic) can co-exist and accommodate other cultural expressions as long as the dominant culture does not come under threat.
Now it is also important in any multi-cultural society that the less dominant cultural expressions be given some form of expression in the society.
Multi-cultural societies often take work because the task is to allow all the various expressions of the different cultures to maximize their expressions in away that does not jeopardies, offend or threaten the other co-existing cultures. This could be even the subjugation of various language expressions.
For example the Welsh Not in the United Kingdom. There are several books in English on the subject of the Welsh Not and how it undermined the Welsh language.
In the example of Singapore I have many Chinese Singaporean friends who lament the fact they cannot communicate with dying grandparents. Other Chinese languages such as Hokkien, Cantonese, Hakka, Teochew and Hainanese were suppressed in order to solidify Mandarin as one of the lingua franca of Singapore. Truth be told though, Singapore today is for the most part an English speaking nation through and through.
We also have the example of High German being favoured in public schools in Germany over Low German, Fresian etc.
Certainly I feel the loss of a language is a great loss to humanity. Although I can understand why the dominant culture in “multi-cultural” societies want to impose lingua-franca. Hindu for India, Urdu for Pakistan, Bahasa for Indonesia and Tagalog for the Philippines. Speaking the same language can bring cohesion and uniformity.
Yet, now many western societies are struggle with identifying who or what actually is a man or a woman. Struggling with gender pronouns where there need not be such a struggle. The same societies that often demanded uniformity in language now want the very words male and female to be open for debate.
Strange times we live in dear truth seekers.
THERE IS NO OMNI CULTURAL SOCIETY PERIOD!
This is very important to keep in mind. When Muslims debate with liberals, or people who seeming endorse multi dimensional, multi cultural societies gently remind them that there is not a single place on this planet or has there ever been a place which was omni-cultural.
An Omni-Cultural society is theoretical because it cannot exist in reality. That is all expressions are equally valued and equally expressed.
Living in a world with no down syndrome?
For example imagine Lady Gaga or America’s vicegerent Lady Queen Rania on a podium at the United Nations proudly announcing that we will eliminate down syndrome once and for all.
How? Iceland has the solution.
Telling the disabled to hurry up and die. Laws that assist people to hurry up and just kill themselves.
Preservation of race/tribe.
The Qur’an promotes many tribal/racial, phenotypes living together, or in peace distinctively.
“Oh mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another.” (Qur’an 49:13)
Although the Qur’an does not prevent people from one phenotype or the other to marry each other. Likewise the Qur’an does not prevent people from one phenotype wanting to actively preserve their distinct tribal, cultural, racial distinctiveness.
So if there is a segment of white people or black people or hutu or tutsi or wolof or pashtuns that only want their people to marry those of a similar racial, cultural or phenotype that is their prerogative.
I remember a shocking discussion I had with a native of Bahrain when I visited that amazing country. He objected to the idea of Caucasian/White converts marrying Asians and/or others. He said than the whites would die out. They(the Arabs) would not have a pool of Caucasian women to choose from in the future. How bizarre!
A country of conscientious objectors in a time of war?
So what do multi-cultural societies do with a culture of conscientious objectors in times of war?
Well in some cases like the Quakers (A Protestant Christian sect in the United States) they are exempted from fighting altogether. When most people think about the Vietnam war they think about the United States. They do not think about the more than 60,000 Australians that served in the Vietnam war. The following link shares the story of the first Vietnam War conscientious objector to be jailed.
What were to happen if a society was facing extinction and the a good portion of that multi cultural society (let’s say 40%) were conscientious objectors?
The Singapore government gave a very excellent reply to the United Nations on the matter here:
“Singapore does not recognise the universal applicability of the right to conscientious objection to military service. In our view, HRC resolution 20/2 goes beyond what is prescribed in international law and applicable human rights instruments.”
“The resolution refers to the conscientious objection to military service as a legitimate exercise of the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion. But Article 29 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognises that the exercise of such rights and freedom is subject to limitations to meet the requirements of public order and the general welfare of society.”
“National defence is a fundamental sovereign right under international law. As a small city-state with limited manpower and resources, Singapore has no choice but to base our defence on citizen armed forces.”
“National Service is the bedrock of our defence and internal security. It underpins the peace and prosperity we enjoy, and safeguards our independence and sovereignty.”
Mash’Allah what an articulate and intelligent response!
What happens when the native population or the dominant culture is replaced by non native cultures?
We are probably seeing this on a very rapid scale in the GCC countries of the Middle East.
Nationals & Non-Nationals
UAE 11% 89%
Saudi Arabia 63% and 37%
Qatar 14% and 86%
Oman 54% and 46%
Kuwait 30% and 70%
Bahrain 47% and 53%
You can get more statistics and insights here: https://gulfmigration.grc.net/
What does this ultimately do for the native population? Of course having foreigners come and do jobs that natives are not willing to do is of course helpful. Yet, what does this do for the national identity of a population or people? This is an ongoing debate around the world, for the most part.
I remember once hearing about how Christianity was growing in the gulf countries and at first thought
I was wondering if this was not more missionary propaganda. However, on second thought in a sense they are correct.
But not just Christianity, Hinduism as well for that matter. Because those people who are brought to work there from the Philippines, India, and other places are people who are often Christian or Hindu.
Clothing uniformity vs non uniformity.
In Singapore in the school system all the children wear the same uniform. This is for public and private schools. In the United States in the public school system children wear their own clothes, purchased by themselves and most often their parents. Of course ironically in the United States private schools have uniforms.
I often thought that if the United States was to move to have school uniforms the first to come “to the aid” of the “oppressed children” would be the shoe brands, Nike, Adidas, Converse, Reebok etc. There would be simultaneous out crying from the retail clothing outlets. Walmart, Abercrombie & Fitch, Levi Jeans. A loss of revenue is after all a loss of revenue.
On the positive side in Singapore there is less distinction between economic class by using this model. Those whose parents can afford branded clothing for their kids and those who cannot. Often in many inner city schools the clothes you wear mark you as a member of a gang and can land you in violent confrontation. British Knights (Blood Killer) or Calvin Klein (Crypt Killer), wearing red or blue shoe laces on the right or left shoe etc.
Though Singapore can do more to engage with bullying; as we have a very distraught youth population often beset by a pressure cooker society, is not helped by going to school and dealing with bullies.
I would say Singapore in terms of having uniformity in clothing is probably a safe bet.
Yet, very often in these “multi-cultural” societies a certain look is the smart look when it comes to business attire. Surprise, surprise if that attire , the “you look smart look” is not western dominated. I guess if the Chinese wear a Cheongsam to a business meeting they lose IQ? I am not quite sure.
Kuddos to the GRCC Arabs for wearing traditional attire and not succumbing to mono-culture.
The Qur’an is not on a mission to promote religious pluralism. Who ever thinks this has lost the plot completely.
The Qur’an is only a mission that Islam will be the dominant world view. Not only religion but the supreme worldview. This does not mean that there cannot be different religious expressions under a Muslim dominated government but just as with all multi-cultural societies the dominant culture will maintain its status.
“It is He Who has sent His Messenger with Guidance and the world view of Truth, to proclaim it over all world views: and enough is Allah for a Witness!” (Qur’an 48:28)
“They wish to extinguish Allah’s light with their mouths, but Allah will only allow His light to be perfected, even if the ungrateful disbelievers are compelled to be dismayed by it.” (Qur’an 9:32)
In closing the discussions and the debates are not really about being pluralistic, and inclusive, and multi-cultural.
The debates and the discussions are on how pluralistic, how inclusive, and how multi cultural can any given society afford to be?
Muslims wake up!
Do not allow those who claim they want diversity but suppress expression, that they are tolerant but shadow ban, that everyone else should mix and but the same preserve their tight knit culture to be the decision makers for the Muslims.
May Allah (swt) continue to guide us to a course that is just.