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Ex-Muslim wants multiculturalism and ‘poisonous’ faith schools ditched

DR Rumy Hasan is a quietly-spoken academic with a winsome smile who is quite unlikely to win many friends among mainly left-leaning British liberals who have, over the last 30 years or so, insisted on accusing critics of hard-line Islamic ideology as “Islamophobic” and – by extension – “racist”.

Hasan, a senior lecturer at the University of Sussex who cut his teeth on left-wing politics, has long pooh-poohed the notion of “Islamophobia“, and  in a book just published – Multiculturalism: Some Inconvenient Truths – he goes to great lengths to explain in forthright, no-nonsense terms just how effectively radical Islamists, playing the victim card, have used the term “Islamophobia” to further their influence, create intolerant male-dominated enclaves, and stifle any critical examination of their isolationist agendas.

Dr Rumy Hasan, speaking last night at Waterstones. Photo: Barry Duke

Last night I got to meet the Muslim-turned-atheist, who has a horror of the ritual slaughter of animals,  when he launched Multiculturalism at Waterstones in Brighton, where he gave a riveting overview of the contents of his book.

To the annoyance of at least one member of his audience, Hasan asserted that one positive step towards weakening the influence of the radicals – and those who seek to shield them from any form of criticism – would be to abolish “poisonous” faith schools. This, he said, would help enormously in integrating children from immigrant communities – particularly those from Muslim backgrounds – into mainstream British society.

The man who opposed the idea felt that Protestant and Catholic faith schools, which had been with us “for centuries”, had played an important role in shaping Britain’s Christian cultural identity, and should not be prevented from continuing their good work.

Hasan dismissed this argument by pointing to the divisiveness of Protestant and Catholic sectarian schools in Northern Ireland.

In his book Hasan asserts that many of the beliefs and practices of religious-ethnic minorities are oppressive – especially concerning women and children – and that they are profoundly damaging the lives of many of those now trapped within “mono-religious, mono-cultural” segregated communities. Multiculturalism proposes a society which does away with the leading of “parallel lives” and segregation, and rejects oppressive and divisive cultural and religious practices.

In reviewing the book, Roddy Matthews, writing in the Tribune, said:

Hasan is not concerned with protecting the culture of the host country from invaders; he is concerned with protecting immigrant arrivals from being trapped in an oppressive aspic of male domination, low skills and poverty. Hasan believes that current policy does this because it is based on a liberal notion – admirable in its original intent – that the once despised, traditional cultures of former colonies are worthy of respect.

He adds:

Essentially, Hasan is saying not that multiculturalism is bad for Britain, as the Right say, but that it is bad for the people it is intended to help – incoming cultural minorities. Immigrant populations have remained unchallenged in their traditional ways, and the fate of women and children, “marooned from the shore of mainstream society”, has been to fall into isolation and economic deprivation, because traditional community leaders, invariably male, have continued to dominate self-defined immigrant groups in a way that social liberals would never tolerate within the host society.

Multiculturalism, according to Hasan, gave way after 9/11 to what he calls “multifaithism”. This is a highly fissured social model where increased government reluctance to criticise or interfere has damaged social cohesion, leading to the psychic detachment of certain minorities, especially South Asian Muslims.

Matthews says Hasan finds this profoundly unsatisfactory, and:

Brilliantly points out the anomalies and double standards inherent in the respect and recognition accorded to newly-arrived cultural groups. The host society is expected to change in response to the new arrivals, but individuals arriving are not, and are instead to be “celebrated” in their “difference”. It is the host society that is assumed to be flawed and open to criticism, while the newly arrived community is exempt from any criticism at all. Multiculturalism, as currently implemented, thus violates universalist principles in the areas of both law and social equality.

Multiculturalism, Hasan argues, preserves oppressive practices and deprives members of minority communities of individual liberty and the right of self expression; they become prisoners of the larger group, condemned to mono-culturalism and mono-faithism.

Matthews concludes:

Hasan suggests some constructive measures and solutions to the problems facing migrant groups. The solution, he believes, is more intermixing, less segregation and the creation of a vision of a shared (and distinctly secular) future. These are, naturally, left-wing, progressive solutions, for Hasan feels no obligation to preserve either host or immigrant cultures in their present form. This stance pervades the book, and lends it its overall flavour.

Hasan has agreed to an exclusive interview with the Freethinker, which will be published in the print edition, then later online.

23 responses to “Ex-Muslim wants multiculturalism and ‘poisonous’ faith schools ditched”

  1. AngieRS says:

    I can see another fatwa coming. He makes a lot of sense but there isn’t a lot of it about in fundie circles.

  2. Har Davids says:

    Nice to hear this from someone who has hands-on experience with the religion of peace. As an outsider you’re always expected to justify yourself for your misgivings concerning something like religion; sometimes you’re expected to make a complete study before you might be allowed some form of critique. All I can say then is: ‘I smelled the shit and I think I know enough now not to have a bite of it.’ Here in Holland we have the same problem and only this morning I read an article in one of our papers that, statistically, over 50 % of ‘Moroccan’ youth, who’re usually Muslim, have been in trouble with the law before they’re 21 years old. Hurray for multiculturalism and its supporters.

  3. David B says:

    Good to see some people prepared to stand up and be counted

  4. shargraves says:

    I want to know who supports multiculturalism – I am an educated left-leaning liberal, and I think it’s a stupid idea.

    I’m all for equality – but that flies in the face of multiculturalism seeing as that leads to “special” treatment for the barbaric practices of some weird minorities – and equality law is there to prevent the mistreatment of women.

    Faith schools – abolish em!
    Halal & kosher Slaughter – Ban it immediately.
    Immigration – Limit it. We are on an overpopulated island!
    Bishops in the House of Lords – kick em out!
    Royal Family – abolish em!

    Etc…. Maybe I’m a fascist?

  5. gsw says:

    Ayaan Hirsi Ali, in her book “Nomad” makes similar arguments. However, it is understandable that the pro-sharia active muslims are against these things – they weaken their hold on their women and the population in general – and thus diminish their power.

    Notice that the photos of the UK Government meeting the British Muslim Assoc. and/or other imam led groups, is almost always predominately male with
    The occasional female who has been indoctrinated to believe that devil worshipping kuffirs will rip her apart if she does not wear the tent is paraded to say how “happy” she is to be able to wear the burqa because it “makes her feel safe”! (Without it Al’lah will not recognise and protect her).

    There will be little progress if we depend on Imams and “Cultural Leaders” to guide the policies – it is obvious which way they go.

    UK Feminists rise again – just like we did back when our wages went on the husbands tax form (‘cos they actually belonged to him!). This time for the oppressed women of Britain.

  6. Arnold Lane says:

    I used to be a “multiculturalist”, or at least I thought I was. I’ve always been happy with the idea of people from around the world coming to the UK and bringing their cultures to mingle with ours. But I now understand this as a misapprehension shared by many left/liberal people. Culture can be a Trojan Horse and religion the incendiary payload.

    The second danger is that moderate/liberal people who would naturally shun right-wing thuggery now find themselves, perhaps uncomfortably, agreeing with some of the things being said by neo-fascists. This concerns me almost as equally as the poison of religion.

    Rivers of blood.

  7. Angela_K says:

    Some excellent clear-thinking from Dr Hasan that unfortunately may earn him a fatwa. He is quite correct that multiculturalism in the current form does not work, mainly because the hard left and Guardianista types of host countries – such as the UK – are terrified of forcing immigrant integration for fear of being dubbed racist.

    Immigrants who live in ghettos, as many do in the UK only look inward and backwards, this problem is exacerbated by allowing sectarian schools – can’t see our new Government having the guts to abolish them.

  8. Pete H says:

    Dr Hasan has hit the nail right on the head. I look forward to reading his interview in The Freethinker.

    Watch your back and stay safe Dr Hasan.

  9. Har Davids says:

    Don’t worry, Arnold, almost everybody occasionally agrees with people we don’t really like, or even loathe. As long as ‘culture’ doesn’t mean the kind of backwardness some ‘new’ Europeans tend to display and want to impose on the rest of us, I’m all for it, once people are here. After all, we wouldn’t some of the creepier christians to run the show either, would we?

  10. Broga says:

    Multiculturism, whatever it now means, depends on the suppression of free speech. The mullahs, the priests, the politicians insist that they will tell us what we may say, what we may think and how we may behave. At the same time they whine about toleration and claim freedom of speech as long as the speech is what they decide. Keep those of no faith of Thought for the Day. Offend this and you will suffer is the message. It was ever thus.

    Truth counts for nothing against the need of the religious to defend their authority; to determine what will be thought and believed. Authority is all. Congratulations to Dr Hasan. If only there were more like him.

  11. BroadSnark says:

    I think it is easy to confuse multi-culturalism with moral relativity. They aren’t the same thing. I can respect other cultures while still embracing a set of morals and ideas about human rights. I would love to see religious institutions and schools disappear for lack of interest. Force people to close down schools and they will just home school. Make people feel persecuted and they’ll just dig their heels in further. It’s just not a sound strategy.

  12. Urmensch says:

    In my more cynical moments I have looked on multiculturalism as just an updated version of the old ‘divide and conquer’, but this time as a way to control the home population.

  13. Broga says:

    I don’t know what it is. It seems to lead to the acceptance of animals having their throats slit and being allowed to bleed to death without intervention of the RSPCA; it says dogs are dirty and won’t allow them on a bus because some religious bigot happens to be travelling; it allows little girls to have their clitoris sliced off with a lot of outrage from our self righteous twats of religious leaders and politcians; it accepts fanatical mullahs to preach hatred in their churches; it forces jobs on incompetents because of a fear of being criticised as racist; it leads to a most benign view of women being incarcerated as skivvies and sexual objects with their faces covered if the leave their home; it flies in the face of every decent instinct towards equality of women.

    What it doesn’t do is encourage or permit peace, harmony, good relationships.

  14. Godless not gormless says:

    Well said Broga

  15. NeoWolfe says:

    Well, I may be naive, but, it seems to me that when a muslim pulls up his roots, leaves his family estate, moves to a predominantly christian country, that he arrives with the expectation of better conditions, not with expectation of turning it into the sewer he just moved out of. As an immigrant it is in his own best interest to assimilate and be assimilated. Learn the language and cultural customs and abide by them.

    The idea of multiculturalism or multifaithism are both offensive to me. If they want change, let them go home and change the sespool they were born in. If they really want something better, they should shut their fucking pieholes and learn how we built what western civilization has acquired. We are not beholden to immigrants to make their life easy, they are beholden, given this opportunity, to ASSIMILATE!!! Rule of law is for every resident, no special laws for those who wear their religion as a badge of diplomatic immunity.

    NeoWolfe

  16. NeoWolfe says:

    Barry D.

    I apologize for not only railroading posts, but, for being off topic. But, I found a classic music video of Alan Parsons Project that I felt I had to share with my friends. It has a freethinker theme, but, it’s not as though bashing religion is all freethinkers have to talk about, right?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WplvDCe8_hw&NR=1

    Enjoy!!! I did.

    NeoWolfe

  17. barriejohn says:

    Arnold Lane is concerned that we might be siding with the neo-fascists, but the mullahs are obviously fascists in any case. I don’t think that we should hold back in our criticism just because they are being opposed by very undesirable elements in our society. As with playing the “persecution card”, it’s not as if they are standing up for liberal values exactly!

  18. barriejohn says:

    Immigrants who live in ghettos, as many do in the UK only look inward and backwards, this problem is exacerbated by allowing sectarian schools – can’t see our new Government having the guts to abolish them. (Angela)

    I would love to see religious institutions and schools disappear for lack of interest. Force people to close down schools and they will just home school. (BroadSnark)

    Just which groups exactly do you think will be running these new “Free Schools” that Michael Gove is so stupidly championing? We don’t have to actually make it easier for the religiots to leave the state system. After all the criticism that “Faith Schools” and Academies received, the Tories are actually going to ensure that even more of our children are educated in sectarian hothouses!

  19. Arnold Lane says:

    barriejohn, I see the problem is that we (the public in general) are holding our tongues in fear of being labelled intolerant or racist. This is building a degree of resentment like a pressure cooker that may release in future in a very ugly way. I agree, we shouldn’t hold back criticism. If we do hold back the pressure will build and the likes of the EDL and BNP will be there to take full advantage.

    Our criticism must be reasoned and civil. Unfortunately some of the posts in this forum tend to be borderline neo-fascist rants that diminish the value and standing of the Freethinker blog.

  20. Chris says:

    Please don’t tar left-leaning British liberals (like me) with this – all sides can be equally obsequious to religious minorities!

  21. Barry Duke says:

    NeoWolfe, in 2009 Nicolai Sennels, a Danish psychologist published a book entitled Among Criminal Muslims: A Psychologist’s Experience from Copenhagen. It almost cost him his job in the prison service.

    Asked in this interview whether it is possible for Muslims to integrate into Western societies Sennels replied:

    I would say that the optimists, the people who say that integration is possible, carry a very great responsibility. There is a very great risk that they are selling us hope, a dream, that has no foundation in reality …

    There is simply no research in Europe that supports the optimists’ view. On the contrary, all the research that we have on integration of Muslims in Western societies shows that we are continuing to head in the wrong direction. So I don’t know how these optimists come to their conclusion. Maybe it is a vain and childish hope that everything will turn out well, just like in the fairy tales. Or maybe it is a pseudo-Darwinistic idea that everything will develop in a positive direction. One thing is for sure: they don’t base their judgments on facts.

    Of course there are exceptions but for the largest part integration to the necessary degree of Muslims is not possible. Clever and compassionate people are working all over Europe on the problem, and they have spent billions of Euros on the project, yet, the problems still continue to grow.

  22. Susan says:

    I think I must be one of the optimists Nicolai Sennels talks about. I have a ‘vain and childish hope that everything will turn out well’. If I have faith it’s in humanity, things will get btter, not over night and not without a lot of pain and a lot of blood but we will progress. Some of that ‘pseudo-Darwinistic idea that everything will develop in a positive direction.’ no doubt.

    I must be a lost cause but I will get a copy of DR Rumy Hasan’s book. Maybe I can be saved.

  23. John Eccles says:

    Of course Rumy is right about faith schools, but that’s another issue.

    The positive aspect of multiculturalism, as I see it, is that it encourages the acceptance of people with different traditions as equal to those of the host community. In the post war period of black and Asian immigration when settlers faced ingrained institutional racism, were denied jobs, housing and other services because of their skin colour, a move to a belief that different cultures are equal, rather than some being better than others, was a very positive gain for immigrant people. It is a manifestation of a change in society from the days when words like “nigger” and “paki” were common terms of abuse, to the present, when such terms are rightly seen as beyond the pale. Such a change has come about not because of the pronouncements of social commentators but as a result, over time, of white people living alongside and coming to accept non-white communities as part of society.

    Lets look at the oppressive practices of some cultures, such as homophobia and the oppression of women. The first thing to say is that the white community’s record on these should not be held up as a model for different cultures to follow. The way that gains were made in Britain was through the progressive Women’s lib and gay liberation movements of the 60s, combined with the slow acceptance of these agendas over the years. These agendas are still contested, as sexism and homophobia remain in Britain today, particularly in the older generation. If the left is to encourage more progressive views amongst non-white cultures surely the best thing is to make common cause with muslims on issues in which we agree, like anti-war campaigning. The engagement of the muslim community in Birmingham since 2003 is surely a model to follow, with the confident leadership of Salma Yaqoob providing a role model for her community. She is a muslim and proud, and sees wearing the hijab as a symbol of defiance rather than oppression. Rumy can’t conceive of people making a positive choice to wear it, surely she must be oppressed? No, its her choice, and in a secular society, people are free to follow their own faith.

    To summarise, my problem with Rumy’s book is that he makes prescriptions for others to follow but has no idea of how such change could conceivably occur. He looks to establishment politics to bring about these changes -”more intermixing, less segregation and the creation of a vision of a shared (and distinctly secular) future” as the reviewer puts it. Yet in austerity Britain, are these priortities for our Con-Dem government? I don’t think so. He also looks to these communities themselves to mix more and segregate less – yet how are they to respond, when he regards them with such deep-seated hostility?