The Grauniad (sorry to keep picking on them but there is so much wrong) has a leader today about multiculturism and "communities" which is just wrong in so many ways. Firstly there is this:
What some have been asking is why the British could not be more like the French and require ethnic minorities to assimilate. They are failing to recognise history as well as reality.
On the planet I inhabit, French thinic minorites have NOT assimilated in any way shape or form. The French state may desire that its minorities assimilate but that isn't what has happened.
Integration is not assimilation. An integrated society aims to respect cultural diversity, widen understanding between communities, reduce hate and give people a sense of belonging. We are a long way still from achieving these aims but they are the right goals. Assimilation goes much further attempting to absorb differences. The problem with "melting pots" is that the dominant culture dominates. A self-confident democracy should be able to celebrate diversity.
There is diversity and diversity. In fact there is a word missing here. It is TOLERATE. The key is that communities should be able to tolerate those that are different. The problem that this editorial fails to note is that the majority of (all of?) the other religions and immigrant communities tolerate those with different behaviour, whereas many Muslim communities don't. Hence this paragraph is missing something
There has been an enormous amount of work on improving community cohesion at both local and central government level since then, which hopefully will pay dividends in the current crisis. There are more cross-cultural schemes, more school twinnings and interfaith networks. Love and sex are playing their part: half of Caribbean men, a third of Caribbean women, and a fifth of African and Indian men now have white partners. But bolder leadership is needed to tackle the pattern of segregated schools and housing that the inquiries into the northern towns found.
The point that is glossed over here is that the northern towns where the Muslim ghettos are do not see inter-racial sex because they don't tolerate their women communicating with others. On the whole the British seem to have done a better job of integrating their immigrants - as witness the interracial sex statistics above - than France has so complaining that we integrate and they assimilate is a total red herring. The problem, whether assimilating or integrating, is that it takes two to tango. Both the host country and the immigrant community needs to have the will to go halfway. Britain has demonstrated that it has the will so the question is why hasn't the Muslim community (or to be more accurate why hasn't part of the Muslim community)?
It seems to me that the Grauniad is totally missing the big picture about toleration as a part of integration, something which (for example) the Wapping Liar's Anthony Browne makes very clear in an article that shows just how tolerant of intolerance Britain has been over the last decade or so. In that respect we should be copying our continental neighbours.