Mono­cul­ture & Fa­nati­cism

The Economic Times - - The Edit Page -

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.

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