Multicultural Society and Multiculturalism in Europe

Anonymous student post

David Cameron criticized ‘state multiculturalism’ at a security conference in Munich, on February 5, 2011. In particular, he emphasized that it failed to promote a common identity based on certain values such as democracy, the rule of law and equal rights. Therefore, he claimed a stronger national identity was required to prevent violent extremism. Also, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and former president Nicolas Sarkozy of France identified with Mr. Cameron’s criticism of multiculturalism. Nowadays, Europe appears to be backing away from multiculturalism, particularly after the September 11 attacks.

With a growing influx of immigrants, multiculturalism was considered as a key to solve problems caused by policies based on assimilation and as a way to promote a harmonious relationship between host culture and immigrant culture. Many European countries conducted their immigration policy using multiculturalism as a way of new social integration. However, the trend of social ostracism against Islam and Muslim has developed connected to national security following a series of several terror attacks in 21C. Their culture and religion are not understood in a multiculturalist way, rather, people think they are at risk because of them. Also, some controversial issues have been brought up constantly since multiculturalism was introduced; whether young Arab women should be allowed to wear hijab in public school, how the honor killing or early marriage of some specific immigrant groups should be dealt with in host societies, and so on.

The question of how to integrate immigrants into a host country has always been a big issue. Neither assimilation nor multiculturalism provides a perfect answer. If assimilation is reinforced, isolation and dissatisfaction of immigrants who are not assimilated will become a social problem. European leaders who have declared multiculturalism will no longer support or focus on shared values and identities not their own cultural traits. However, it seems like they force such integration values from above. In this process, immigrants may experience frustration and exclusion from mainstream culture. On the other hand, if multiculturalism is too emphasized, people like Mr. Cameron think that it is divisive rather than unifying. Also, they argue that multiculturalism intrudes on the national identities of their countries. Therefore, it is important to harmonize the national policies of assimilation and multiculturalism.

What is the best way to integrate immigrants into host countries is the question for European society that needs to be sought constantly. The coexistence of cultures does not mean understanding each other’s culture unconditionally. Of course well-balanced immigration policy can promote coexistence, but social atmosphere that is respecting and compromising towards other cultures is also necessary. The beliefs of each culture should be respected as much as possible, and society needs to reach an agreement by communication and compromise whenever some parts are in conflicts with host culture.

Reference:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-12371994

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Keep Having Friends

by Kensuke Ikeda

I saw a documentary movie about young boy as undocumented immigrants on TV called “Nihon de Kurashitai: Huhou Taizai Kazoku no Kizuna” (We want to live in Japan: the bounds of family who are undocumented and overstay). In the movie the young boy said “please leave me in Japan, I cannot speak other language and I don’t have any friends in another country”. I realized uneasiness of the undocumented immigrants because his speech is so honest and so direct.

In Japan there are many undocumented immigrants, and some of them are children. They don’t have decision to leave in Japan or to return to “home” country where they have never lived. They should return home country by legal steps. Also, they force to return the country instantly. Japanese government takes care of undocumented people because they will do terrorism and have relation to group of drug peddler. I understand the stance of the Japanese government, but the legal steps are too tactless to ignore other undocumented immigrants who are useful for improving the Japanese economy.

These ineffective legal steps have the room to improve. I suggest that these legal steps are used by the Internet. If undocumented immigrants get approval of stay, they can stay in Japan as have been the way until now. However, they need long process to take the approval because the official apply is tiresome. If they can get temporary approval by the internet apply, they may need not to immediately return home county and they can submit their official document for immigrants. Also, if they cannot stay in Japan, they have some time for preparing to live other country, for example children can learn other language and adult can find the job in other country. The internet gives undocumented immigrants time to pass the legal steps.

However, the use of the internet for apply is dangerous because the apply may be not appropriate on legal. For instance, terrorist can make the stay time in Japan long, and then they can plan the terrorism without haste. In short, the crime people also have time to prepare next crime and escape. For this problem, the governments should strict for immigration by passport. To begin with, these crime people should not come in Japan. It is important that people who come in Japan are terrorist or not and drug peddler or not. Young undocumented immigrants deliberately make crime as overstay. I think the Japanese government should give them the room to think next life. They don’t need to lose their friends and their country.

References

“Nihon de Kurashitai: Huhou Taizai Kazoku no Kizuna” (We want to live in Japan: the bounds of family who are undocumented and overstay).2000. Fuji TVstation. http://www.fujitv.co.jp/b_hp/fnsaward/backnumber/back/00-167.html

HP of Kayamori Office. http://www.geocities.jp/a_kayamori/index.html