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Textproduktion: Letter "Multiculturalism is not the best way to welcome people to our country" by J. Hari


Write a letter to Johann Hari defending the concepts of multiculturalism and diversity. (30 BE)


Dear Sir,

I have read your comment on the drawbacks of multiculturalism with great interest. And while I can understand your point, I must beg to differ with you and explain why I believe that cultural diversity is an important and enriching aspect of an open-minded society.

First of all, as you have made clear in your article, you prefer the American concept of a melting pot society to a society in which many different cultures coexist side by side. Let me start by saying that, as the term suggests, a melting pot is purposed to merge substances of different quality to create a blend. A cultural melting pot fulfils the exact same task. The problem of such a concept is obvious: it creates conformity and an overall acceptable mainstream culture. This may at first seem to be a desirable state. But doesn’t it prove a certain fear and intolerance towards cultural identity and individuality? With the idea of a melting pot society we inevitable arrive at the point where immigrants have to adapt to the culture of their host country in order to be truly integrated and accepted. Moreover it is hard to define how much each culture is really “allowed” to contribute to the mainstream culture without it being too much or too little. Thus, integrating may become a very difficult task, especially for older people who often find it hard to give up long-followed beliefs and traditions. A society can, in my view, only be truly open if it can accept that ethnic diversity is inescapably coupled with a diversity of values and cultures. And this is what only multiculturalism can achieve.

You also expressed your worries that multiculturalism bore a danger of aiding those movements that propagated a traditionalist and at times unprogressive social structure. I gained the impression that you were particularly referring to members of the British Islam community. To this I must respond that such elements occur in every society independent of culture or ethnic origin. And while it may be right that Muslim women in Britain often still find it hard to emancipate within their community circle, I am not willing to accept this to be the general rule as there are many Muslim women who have successfully made their way in British society without the need to deny or shed their cultural heritage. Standing up for one’s traditions and values is, in my eyes, a sign of self-appreciation and pride, which, as long as it grants the same respect to other cultures, can strengthen tolerance and mutual understanding within a country that hosts many different nationalities. If a country is to be truly democratic and open-minded it has to be able to tolerate cultural differences and at the same time to stand up to revisionist tendency no matter what cultural or religious background.

In conclusion, I would like to say that immigrants can enrich their host societies just as much as their host societies can enrich them. The process of adapting is a two-sided thing and needs cooperation from both parties. It is certainly not right to mould immigrants according to what is perceived the “ideal way of life”. I would very much like to get your views on what I’ve just expounded here and remain until then,

Yours sincerely

(547 words)

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