Randhir’s at it again

Randhir Singh Bains of Gants Hill has got yet another letter in the Sunday Telegraph today (registration may be needed - it’s free). (Bains, as I’ve pointed out before, is a frequent writer of letters to newspapers whose letters seem to get printed time after time; the content is usually against religious schools or even religious allowances in schools. What authority he has to merit letter after letter from him being printed has never been mentioned; I presume he has none.)

One way might be to abandon the policy of multiculturalism, in which the unit is no longer the rights-bearing citizen, but the religious group. People now see themselves not as British, but as Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus and Christians. Unless Mr Howard places integration at the centre of his immigration policy, fragmentation of Britain’s national identity is likely to continue, and transform this country into a larger version of Lebanon or Northern Ireland.

This is a common lie, which has also been trotted out in the past by Denis MacEoin of Newcastle, known for his writings on the Baha’i sect which might explain his hostility to Islam. The Northern Ireland situation has nothing to do with multiculturalism: it’s got to do with the planting of Scottish Protestants in Northern Ireland, who opposed (with arms) the formation of an Irish state because they feared that “Home Rule” meant “Rome rule”. When the Irish Free State was formed, Northern Ireland was given its own parliament (at Stormont), which proceeded to deny the Catholic population their civil rights, which is what led to the Troubles of the 1970s onwards. All of this is very well-known and anyone who suggests otherwise is either ignorant or lying. The civil war in the Lebanon was similarly nothing to do with multiculturalism. The state of “Lebanon” had not existed before the French established it.

Nobody even suggests that “the unit is no longer the rights-bearing citizen …” anyway. And in this country you can already get council support for projects aimed at ethnic groups, like Asians or Afro-Carribeans, but not for multi-ethnic religious groups. I once knew an Afro-Carribean Muslim from St. Lucia who ran a youth project for “Asian” youth in Hounslow, because the council wouldn’t fund a project aimed at Muslim youth. I don’t know how a person can be said to have rights when he (or she) can be forced to go against his or her religion in order to get an education.

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