As part of the Ilkley Literature Festival, which runs until the 14th of October, there will be a ‘conversation’ about ‘Islam in the West: Key Issues in Multiculturalism’. It will be held on Friday the 5th of October, at St Margaret’s Church (7:30 to 8:30).
Don’t expect a debate or even a ‘conversation’. In order for that to occur there needs to be many conflicting points of view taking part. This is not the case with this event. Of course there may be a handful of differences of emphasis when it comes to the joint-writers of Leeds Metropolitan Polytechnic’s study, Islam in the West. However, they will all be set within strict parameters. No room for the EDL or BNP here. Not even room for a conservative or sceptical position.
The conversation is made up entirely of academics from Leeds Metropolitan University. We have an interfaith propagandist, Professor Reverend Simon Robinson, Dr Paul Wetherly (who runs a Marxist journal), the sociologist Professor Max Farrar and Yasmin Valli (also of Leeds Met).
So, as with the upcoming ‘debate’ on Respect’s victory in Bradford, this conversation is skewed from the start. All you need to do is Google these people to realise that.
I can almost guarantee that the participants, and even the Ilkley audience, will conclude that multiculturalism is a good thing. (Maybe it is.) What’s more, they will also conclude that ISLAM ITSELF CONTRIBUTES POSITIVELY TO OUR MULTICULTURAL SOCIETY (even if there has been a few hiccups here and there).
There is a problem here.
Many people I know are not completely against multiculturalism. For example, the English Defence League is not completely against all aspects of multiculturalism. However, many of these same people are against many aspects of Islam and many examples of the behaviour of Muslims (as Muslims). Yet such people are categorically classed as being ‘against multiculturalism’, which is not always the case. Still, as in calling someone a ‘racist’, an ‘Islamophobe’ or a ‘fascist’, such descriptions help people like the above win their ideological battles swiftly and with ease.
Ilkley is a strange place. It includes many left-liberal-green lovers of multiculturalism and even of all things Islamic. This is strange because there are no Muslims or even black people in Ilkley. (That’s not quite right. Muslims can be found in the taxi ranks and in the curry houses. In addition, a few black writers will be the stars of the Festival itself.)
Wouldn’t it be better for these middle-class, sometimes upper-middle-class (I class leftist professors as upper-middle-class), to move to Keighley or Bradford where they can live peacefully with the Other?