Monoculture & Fanaticism
In the wake of the tragic events of Brussels and Lahore, there is a raging debate on whether multiculturalism is making Europe vulnerable to terror attacks that are inspired by a monocultural interpretation of Islam. If both the ‘isms’ have failed the world, then where is the antidote to terror?
Diversity is the nature of creation. “Cultural diversity between as well as within countries is as essential for humankind as biodiversity is for nature,” concluded a Unesco World Report in 2008. The notion that everybody should follow the same ideology, god and culture is at the root of fanaticism that is fuelling terrorism today.
Multiculturalism as a doctrine of passive acceptance of many cultures existing side by side isn’t enough. There has to be a structure for interactions and sharing of cultures to develop more inclusive societies.
Traditional modalities of interactions among cultures have failed because of their excessive focus on what cultures have in common. The present crisis calls for events in which diversity is experienced as an asset.
The idea of using culture as a medium for sending the message of harmony is not out of sync with any effort to achieve peace and harmony. Last year, the EU had emphasised the contribution of culture towards opening minds and promoting tolerance, intercultural dialogue, social integration and mutual respect. It concluded that the response that Europe should provide to intolerance, xenophobia, obscurantism, fanaticism of all kinds and radicalisation lies in culture.