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Conference promises a chance to interrogate the impact of the multicultural agenda on European society.
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A major conference on diversity and multiculturalism will take place this week in Brussels. As it approaches, leading writers and intellectuals have been speaking out about what they call an obsession with diversity in the European Union and asking if Europe can survive multiculturalism.
The Diversity Obsession: Can Europe Survive Multiculturalism? is a day-long conference from 10.00 - 17.30, 28th September 2023. Convened by the think tank MCC Brussels, organisers say the diversity agenda is the one thing that Europe’s elites put beyond debate and promise that this conference is a chance to interrogate it.
One of the speakers, travelling to Brussels after being cancelled from speaking at a major London education conference for her views on the diversity agenda, is Alka Sehgal Cuthbert, founder and director of Don’t Divide Us. She comments:
"In the name of Diversity, the range of accepted public opinion is restricted; in the name of Equity, people are treated unequally; and in the name of Inclusion, those with dissenting views are excluded. The DEI agenda threatens liberal moral values and democratic public life."
Dyab Abou Jahjah, the noted Arab political activist and writer, named one of Belgium’s top 4 most influential foreign figures by Knack magazine, founder of the Arab European League, and author of Identities on the Move, said in advance of the conference:
“Right-wing extremism is aided by a 'woke' left, determined to incessantly chant the mantra of 'enriching' diversity. Yes, diversity can be enriching, but it can also lead to impoverishment. It can expand opportunities but can also lead to decay and chaos. Diversity is simply diversity; it is not inherently good or bad, but always a challenge, and everything depends on how it is managed and how it unfolds."
José Antonio Fúster, a deputy of the Vox Parliamentary Group in Madrid, who will also speak at the conference, reflected upon how Spain is managing these issues and said:
“Unlike other European nations, Spanish politicians have hastily and with little resistance imported multiculturalism. They are convinced it is a perfect tool to liquefy our identity and destroy the historical nation that always precedes and cements the political nation. And they are damned right.”
Dr Boris Havel, associate professor of Middle East studies at the University of Zagreb, Croatia, fears the very end of European culture,
“Whatever contemporary Europeans mean by the term “Multiculturalism,” it is possible that future generations will see it as a term by which the traditional values of European societies were swept aside. Unless challenged, this ‘invasion’ of new values – both from California and the Middle East– will perhaps achieve what empires never did: the dissolution of European culture.”
Professor Frank Furedi, conference convenor and MCC Brussels Executive Director, said,
“Diversity served the EU political establishment to excuse their inability or refusal to uphold and defend the values of Europe. The high level of cultural and social polarisation in many European societies is the symptom of their reluctance to protect their national culture. Multiculturalism has failed for many reasons - the most important of which is that there is little that binds people together. When migrants arrive in Germany or Holland, they are not expected to assimilate but practice their culture. Only an enlightened policy of assimilation can limit the damage caused by the failure of governments to take their national interest seriously.”
Conference organisers said that multiculturalism also throws up difficult questions for its proponents. Many minority groups have unashamedly conservative cultural values, which often puts them at odds with the progressive policies of EU elites around issues of sex and gender. Does this mean that some diversity is good, and others are bad? Similarly, many of those descendants of immigrants have hard-line positions on immigration – are they the 'wrong' kinds of immigrants?
Likewise, critics of multiculturalism have to face difficult questions. Foremost among them is the line between attachment to home and xenophobia. Is criticism of multiculturalism the acceptable face of racism? Further, when critics attack the emptiness of the ideology of diversity, which lacks any unifying force, do they have any alternative? Can they define what it means to be French, Spanish, German, etc., or even what it means to be European?
Amid these problematic issues, this conference will invite European commentators, politicians and citizens to explore the legacy of multiculturalism in Europe. MCC Brussels welcomes participants from across the political divide and hopes to start an open discussion about Europe’s future.
For press enquiries or to arrange an interview with conference speakers please contact John O'Brien