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Does multiculturalism work?

06:36 UK time, Sunday, 17 October 2010

The German chancellor says her country's attempts to build a multicutural society have "uttery failed". Do you think it's possible for different cultures to live together harmoniously?

Speaking in Potsdam Angela Merkel said allowing people of different cultural backgrounds live to side by side without integrating had not worked in Germany.

According to a recent survey, more than 30% of Germans believed that their country was "overrun by foreigners". Mrs Merkel also stressed that immigrants who lived in Germany needed to do more to integrate, including learning to speak German.

What is your reaction to the German chancellor's statement? Should minorities retain their culture? Or should they assimilate? Does multiculturalism have benefits and what are they?

Thank you for your comments. This debate is now closed.

Comments

Page 1 of 19

  • Comment number 1.

    Multiculturalism has been an abject disaster not just for the UK but all Europe and that frankly, is all that can be said. What we do about now I just do not know.

  • Comment number 2.

    Being an American I can't help but say multiculturalism works. People are people and if they are treated as equals the melting pot comes naturally. The German government must look into why it is not working instead of treating other non German/Nordic ethnic groups as second class citizens. The melting pot works in the United States, Canada, and Australia, so why not Germany, and why not in a lot of European nations?? The world has changed and Europe needs to get a reality check instead of finding old time scape goats of the past.

  • Comment number 3.

    I think the German chancellor is perhaps venting frustration rather than giving an objective statement. Multiculturalism does work but it takes time, people are naturally resistant to change and are suspicious of something that's different. Over time these barriers lessen and integration finally takes place. Remember that only 70 years ago there was a war over a supposed superior race. People born now into multicultural societies are much more likely to believe multiculturalism is normal and accept it.

  • Comment number 4.

    Humans have historically organised themselves into tribes for protection and mutual benefit.
    Members of the tribe recognise each other by their behaviour.
    If a newcomer arrives and adopts the habits of the tribe he is accepted in time.
    If however he pointedly maintains a separate tribal identity he will be treated with suspicion, and when problems occur he is likely to be blamed for them by the majority.
    As well as this the rate of assimilation that is required by population movement is important.As long as this is not too great all will be well as a few members of a different tribe will not be seen as a threat, however a large influx which changes the indginous population's perception of their country/town will be seen as threatening and provoke resistance.
    I believe this is built into our character as a protection mechanism and no amount of exhortation by well meaning liberals will change it.
    Significant integration is essential for community harmony

  • Comment number 5.

    Speaking from personal experience, no it doesnt work.

    I live in Macclesfield, Cheshire, which until recently was populated by indigenous people that had lived there pretty much all their lives and a handful of Eastern Europeans.

    Suddenly, thanks to a local company, we have had a considerable number of Indians imported into the town who simply don't want to, and therefore will not integrate. Unfortunately, there are already enough of them that they dont need to learn to integrate either, they just set up their own little society and continue living as they would at home.

  • Comment number 6.

    No, it does not. At last a European leader has stood up and said what the rest of us know. The problem with allowing other cultures to come in to a country and try and live alongside the indigenous population is that the incoming culture invariably gets an awful lot of breaks in order to 'integrate'. This of course doesn't work, the incoming culture having got its foot in, now proceeds to build an enclave in the various areas they populate making no attempt whatsoever to mingle with the local population, this causes a lot of resentment and distrust.

    This can be seen in almost any European major city and it is very marked here in the UK. Multiculturalism is an absolute disaster, the question of course is how do we deal with it now? We have established communities now demanding to be allowed to live as they would in their own countries regardless of whether or not it is legal in their adopted country, that is wrong. Immigrants to host countries must speak the language and adopt the ways of the host county or there will always be problems.

    There are no upsides to multiculturalism, there is nothing wrong with those from different countries living together as long as the rules of the host country are abided by, once the immigrant culture starts to impose itself on the indigenous culture then there is going to be problems, and forcing it upon people has quite clearly had a disastrous affect. I expect this will be viewed as racist, but it simply isn't, its the way things are and for too long especially the UK these opinions have been swept under the carpet, and those saying it are labelled 'extreme'. This isn't the case, its a straightforward observation made by those without blinkers on.

    Well done Chancellor Merkel, someone had to say and its about time other European leaders stood up for their countries citizens rather than listen to hysterical advisors.

  • Comment number 7.

    "utterly failed". The German Chancellor has been experimenting with her own Country and fellow Germans and the "Experiment has failed. Now what! Will She try to wind the clock back before uncontrolled immigration was allowed, will She have Her Country withdraw from the European Union? When will these leaders stop playing with peoples lives and trying to en grander their own?

  • Comment number 8.

    I am Indian and i stay in India. Recently, I visited Germany and therefore can venture to comment about Germany.

    The german version of "multiculturalism" is not accepted by the bulk of the german people. The German Chancellor is the leader of a right wing formation and her voters are people who would not be comfortable with too many foreigners in Germany , specially if they are Islamic.

    Germany, historically has been a very christian country. Its very disquieting for many germans to see other religions , in particular Islam rise in Germany.


    Opposition to say Hinduism or Buddhism is not really there . Firstly, these two religions pose no threat to the teutonic, Christian nature of German society. There are very few hindus or buddhists in germany. Buddhism is definitely popular among some of the eclectic , well travelled germans. Its considered peaceful , distant , peripheral and non threatening to german identity.

    In the case of Islam , its different.

    I heard many germans tell me how disquieting they found the fact that turkish men married german girls and had kids with them.. , while turkish women didnt really marry germans.

    Islam with its headscarves and veils is considered disturbing by the germans

    I have to go now but will be back and continue with my comment later.
    (To be Continued)


  • Comment number 9.

    Multiculturalism did work in the Ottoman Empire due to the "laissez faire" politics of the Sultan ("as long as the taxes are paid" he was not particular as to who his subjects were). There are different levels of "multiculturalism:
    1) Political/equality: Everyone is equal before the law
    2) culturally: this is the subjective point and for many, it does not work because different customs can alienate, and most prefer to travel to experience different customs but then are "happy to get back home".

    Politically, there is no question: Where the law demands equality, then be it so. Where the indigenous population feels threatened or alienated, then the lawmaker needs to take that into account and maybe requires immigrants to learn the language and adopt the customs of the host country.

    Personally, I would argue, if I wanted to live in x,y or z country, I'd move there and adapt (I have immigrated into the UK myself some 20 years back). Equally, if someone from x,y or z country arrives here, I would expect them to adapt significantly. Or else alienation is likely. Germany got it right.

  • Comment number 10.

    YOu can find evidence that Multiculturalism has succeded and evidence that it has failed... It's up to you which you choose to believe in.
    I grew up in Islington, London and not only has multiculturalism succeeded, but it has made London a better place.
    As an ideal, as dream and an aspiration, I will always prefer 'live in harmony side by side' to 'divide, separate, alienate'

  • Comment number 11.

    Certainly multicultural society has been a disaster. This is not the fault of the indegenous populations. Too many immigrants prefer to live in ghettos and refuse to accept the laws and culture of the host nations.
    I am an immigrant and although I do not always agree with the laws and culture I have accepted them. If I find this too onerous I can always go to a country that meets my way of thinking.

  • Comment number 12.

    Multiculturalism doesn't work here either - I don't believe in Multiculturalism - never have. I believe in total Integration - I practise total Integration.

    I am a Jew. When I came to the UK in the WW2 - I cut my hair - learned to speak accent-less English - I wanted to be indistinguishable from an average Englishman - I succeeded.

    I saw what happened to Multiculturalism in Germany then - It was so easy for the average German to be persuaded that Jews were nasty - We lived in our own little areas - we were different - we dressed differently. If you want to live in Britain - BE British - dress like the British - act like the British.

    It doesn't mean that you can't practise your religion. I go to Synagogue far more often than most Christians.

  • Comment number 13.

    Multiculturalism in terms of poor Turks, Africans, Asians, Mexicans, otr East Europeans in terms of language requirements and some odd cultural traits has not worked. How ever, the other side of the coin is that when the British and the Europeans forced their colonialism all over Africa, Middle East, Asia etc did they make any attempt to learn the languages of the countries and or nations they colonized.
    Of course integration and to adept to the culture of the host country is secret to success of an immigrant, but Europe to is a community of some 26 different nations and their innate cultures, languages and national entities. Germany and UK need to fathom why these immigrants select to
    form and live in their small hovels and communities. As professional Ph.D. level educated (US and Europe ) well rounded ,traveled and multilingual person I still find total unacceptance in parts of this US. In particular by the uppity ignorant US conservative republican types.

  • Comment number 14.

    Immigrants must accept responsibility for their decisions. They made a conscious decision to immigrate from their homeland to another country, and therefore they must integrate into that country instead of expecting their new home to conform to each immigrant group's way of life, ethnicity or religious traditions.

    There is no reason that France or Germany or Ireland or UK need to change their laws, their ways, or they traditions to accommodate immigrants. So long as there is no discrimination in housing, justice system, school, health care or jobs then it's up to the immigrant to make their way in their new chosen home. If they wished to live exactly as they did in their homeland then they should have remained there instead of choosing to immigrate.

  • Comment number 15.

    Multiculturalism does not work, tolerance can work. In any country there is a culture that for historical, geographic and religious reasons is most prevalent and it is that culture that sets the parameters for public standards of honesty, respect, acceptability, and sociability. But on top of that must be a tolerance that accepts that within the communities there will be differing views that must be listen to, and considered for respect.

    The problem is how great a difference will be allowed. Whilst we must allow people to speak a different language within their houses, how much will we allow State business to be conducted in a foreign language? How much will we allow private religions to be publically displayed? How far will we allow tribal customs to conflict with our standards of justice?

    In Multiculturalism we gave all 'foreign' cultures equal status with our local culture. That was wrong, and has created friction. We need to be clear that the local culture has precedence, but we must also work to understand, tolerate and integrate other cultures, provided it does not undermine our basic standards.

  • Comment number 16.

    Mono- Culturalism: Immigrants come to your country, adopt your culture (which is bound to change in time through of the influence of the culture they bring with them.
    Leads to Integration and harmony.

    Multi-Culturalism: Colonists come to your country, set up enclaves where they live together in communities 'separate from but equal to' yours. They follow the morés and customs of their culture and make no attempt to adopt yours. ('Separate but equal' ... isn't that Apartheid?)

    One of the main arguments for the formation of the European Coal and Steel Community was that it would reduce friction and the possibility of war between European States. Churchill was a proponent of a United Europe.

    Multi-Culturalism promotes the division of countries and encourages separate groups within those countries: "You live in your group over there and I'll live in my (separate) group here."

    If integration was seen as being desirable in the late 1940s why is segregation seen as being desirable now?

  • Comment number 17.

    I can remember since the 1960's all comment by the indigenous people of England that there was a problem with multiculturalism has been sneered at as racist - no we weren't being racist, just telling the truth. I am outraged how the neighbourhood where my family grew up and my ancestors are buried has been changed into a foreign country: its not those people's fault - it's dreadful government policy since the 1950's. And it's that long - mass immigration didn't start with Labour -
    What's to be done about it I have no idea - the only solution for the English was to move away, and that's what my family did. We didn't want to live in the Punjab -

  • Comment number 18.

    It has utterly failed in the UK as well. Why do governments wish to experiment with multiculturalism? It is clear that immigrants do not wish to integrate into British society and would prefer to live as they do in their own little societies ad ignore British law. It is time for all that to stop and if they wish to live as they do in their own countries, then they are more then welcome to live in their own countries, don't try to change my country to suit you.

  • Comment number 19.

    In a country like the US where multiculturalism is the way on which the nation was founded and built, sure it can work. But there are still no-go areas.
    In the older countries where it is not the norm it will never work, especially while people have imaginary friends as part of the culture.
    Despite the Great Experiment of successive governments, it still does not work. Attempting to force it to work makes things worse.
    Perhaps the indigenous populations of these countries don't really want it. The choice is, after all, theirs.

  • Comment number 20.

    Multiculturalism is a myth. The idea of a homogeneous mass of different creeds and colours is not reality. Well done Mrs Merkel for admitting it.

  • Comment number 21.


    It depends just how dominant the new cultures want to be independent ,and the time scale in which it is done...
    there a parts of imported cultures that have been embraced into the "UK" culture and enriched it. But they are Alien cultures that will find it difficult to enter the UK culture .
    It is those Alien cultures that conflict with the UK culture,that cause both concern and objection in the UK. In entering the UK ,NEW Residences on the whole should NOT SEEK to change the culture to theirs .
    changes become naturally , not by force or law .
    Problems start when some political parties try to change laws to protect alien culture , purely to gain votes

  • Comment number 22.

    Unfortunately multiculturalism is a challenge in countries with rich histories like France, Germany, Italy and ........

    When multiculturalism is forced on a people with a long rich history it can cause dynamics such as a backlash from traditionalists which then devolves into racism. When immigrants from nations started to come to European counties there was generally a positive impression of this because it was new, in time as more immigrated and whole suburbs changed, what was once European has now become something else. No matter how politically correct we try an be change can be difficult.

    Expecting anything different is foolish. Imposing multiculturalism on a rich history like germany will only cause friction. Coming from a multicultural country where our history has been a blend of many coultures has made multiculturalism work however there are still challenges.

    What I find complex in this dynamic though is this is wold over, It is not just a European problem and to expect people with their cultures to just accept drastic change is being blind to part of who we are.

  • Comment number 23.

    It's a pity that the German's didn't come to this obvious conclusion a few years ago - then the UK might have been spared some of the more lunatic policies of NewLieMore!

    Note to Mr Ed(the talking union horse) Millipede - make sure your ummm "opposition" party remembers this! OK you hopefully won't get to exercise power for a long, long time...but you can see where Gordon the Gopher Brown & B'Liar went horrendously wrong!

  • Comment number 24.

    10. At 08:00am on 17 Oct 2010, jofres123 wrote:

    YOu can find evidence that Multiculturalism has succeded and evidence that it has failed... It's up to you which you choose to believe in.
    I grew up in Islington, London and not only has multiculturalism succeeded, but it has made London a better place.
    As an ideal, as dream and an aspiration, I will always prefer 'live in harmony side by side' to 'divide, separate, alienate'

    -_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_

    Please give examples of how multiculturalism has succeeded, and how it has made London a better place.

  • Comment number 25.

    In no way, shape or form is immigration by a foreigner to another country a right or an entitlement. Immigrants are admitted only by invitation of the host nation. I believe that the act of immigration implicitly entails the responsibility to assimilate into his adopted homeland; including adopting the culture and learning the national language. Multiculturalism is meaningless, because in similar vein, we all know that lions, hyenas and zebras cannot live together either. Moreover, forcing foreigners of a much different cultures, values and beliefs on the native people of a nation is an unconscionable and reprehansible act of arrogant and thoughtless governments trying to be politicall correct. These arrogant western governments don't give a damn about the feelings of the taxpaying people they are supposed to represent. One of the hallmark failures of western politicians is their propensity forever trying to get a square peg into a round hole.

  • Comment number 26.

    Well done Germany for recognising what has been evident for donkeys years, multiculturalism does not work. Many years ago we advocated integration in this country, and that is where we should have stayed. Alongside integration various ethnic groups could have retained their traditions and ideals. But this ludicrous intention to have numerous different societies running alongside each other is never going to work.

    I have lived abroad for a number of years. I did my best to integrate with the society in which I lived. At home I still did what I did in the UK, but as far as I was concerned I tried my best to live in accordance with the laws and traditions of the country I was in.

    Immigrants who come to live in this country seek to live in accordance with the British society, though obviously not partaking in some of the worst aspects of it. This would do away with a bone of contention that is growing of Islamic Shariah Law being allowed in some cities. The only law that should be in effect in Britain is the Law of Britain.

    The other cultures might have a lot to teach we Brits as our society slides down the greasy pole of greed, selfishness, violence, lack of respect and political correctness. But these positives from other cultures should be integrated into British Law so long as it does not contradict British Law.

  • Comment number 27.

    The 20th Century History of German attempts to get the rest of Europe to Speak German and look German perhaps should have given Chancellor Merkel pause for thought before making such a pronouncement!

  • Comment number 28.

    13. At 08:04am on 17 Oct 2010, chui wrote:

    Multiculturalism in terms of poor Turks, Africans, Asians, Mexicans, otr East Europeans in terms of language requirements and some odd cultural traits has not worked. How ever, the other side of the coin is that when the British and the Europeans forced their colonialism all over Africa, Middle East, Asia etc did they make any attempt to learn the languages of the countries and or nations they colonized.
    Of course integration and to adept to the culture of the host country is secret to success of an immigrant, but Europe to is a community of some 26 different nations and their innate cultures, languages and national entities. Germany and UK need to fathom why these immigrants select to
    form and live in their small hovels and communities. As professional Ph.D. level educated (US and Europe ) well rounded ,traveled and multilingual person I still find total unacceptance in parts of this US. In particular by the uppity ignorant US conservative republican types.

    _-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-

    Sorry, but that is absolute tosh and you know it. Do you honestly believe that colonialists did not bother to learn the language of the indigenous populations? How do you think they negotiated etc etc. I suggest you look deeper in what went on all those years ago instead of taking history from bad hollywood films.

  • Comment number 29.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 30.

    Multiculturalism does work when Islam is not in there...Just look at the world's 80% of countries are effected with Islam India,Russia,Malaysia,USA,Philippines,Whole Europe,Mid east,Even china so on...,Multi'cult'uralism will 100% fail with Islam your country will be submitted to the will of Allah and saudi king abdullah.

    Happy Multi'cult'uralism!

  • Comment number 31.

    Its rational to rationalize arguments that serve your interest. Regardless of however irrational your rationalizing happens to be. Does it work, of course it may or may not. Is it as efficient as having a primarily homogenous society, likely very much so. Many of our convictions in multiculturalism are manifestations of "white guilt" that lingers from the past. To argue that multiculturalism is the ideal state, that requires very intensive engineering, because people left to their own devices, care very very very little about multiculturalism in itself. People will always care for those they most relate with. For example you. You care more about yourself, or your family than a random stranger. Strangers craves your money or resources, your crave your own consumption. We are mammals, please remember this policy makers while your craft grandiose ideas that are irrational, even if you want to convince yourself your rational. We are not machines that can very much fake caring beyond a sense of proportion for others.

  • Comment number 32.

    Cultural intolerance from a German? Well I never!

    Also, it's interesting to note that earlier versions of this piece read:
    "Those who don't speak German immediately are not welcome here."

    The piece now reads:
    "We should not be a country either which gives the impression to the outside world that those who don't speak German immediately or who were not raised speaking German are not welcome here."

    I can't imagine the German tourism industry was very impressed with the earlier translation.

  • Comment number 33.

    2. At 07:47am on 17 Oct 2010, David Gussie wrote:

    Being an American I can't help but say multiculturalism works. People are people and if they are treated as equals the melting pot comes naturally. The German government must look into why it is not working instead of treating other non German/Nordic ethnic groups as second class citizens. The melting pot works in the United States, Canada, and Australia, so why not Germany, and why not in a lot of European nations?? The world has changed and Europe needs to get a reality check instead of finding old time scape goats of the past

    = = = = = = =

    Hate to say it but Multiculturalism certainly did not work in the US until 1960s - if then - and they had a multi-culture since the 1700s . Check your newspapers. So being an American do not mean Multiculturalism ACTUALLY works but does mean you need a reality check.

  • Comment number 34.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 35.

    I personally think that multiculturalism is really good for Europe. It makes us learn more about others around us and let us feel less arrogant and falsely superior to others. On the other hand the value of freedom which we have fought hard for in Europe should not be trampled by new comers who want to bring their unfair laws (such as sharia law) which totally disregard fundamental human rights. Diversity is good, but one's freedom should not overtake someone else's freedom. In other words, if we can live in harmony being different that is fine, if one is being disruptive of someone else's freedom he/she does not belong here and should be re-educated and if still disruptive deported.

  • Comment number 36.

    I live in San Diego, California right on the border of Mexico. The idea of multiculturalism is a good one. However, the USA is a prime example of multiculturalsim not working. America is bursting with racism. While the U.S. would like to believe it is a land of multiculturalism, it is in fact a country on the edge. I work with school districts across the nation and I have seen this country become increasingly racist. The schools are having to deal with an increase of children from a variety of countries which has raised tensions not only among the whites but also the Black and Hispanics. As more minorities become the majority, it is very evident that tensions will undoubtedly grow. There is no American dream of multiculturalsim. Just spend time in any neighbourhood in any medium or major city in the USA and you will see and hear how multiculturism does not work. It is even more apparent in smaller cities where resentment and intolerance is very strong towards minorities. Many Americans see people from Spanish speaking countries as a massive problem. They view them as crossing the border to the the USA to take jobs and government benefits. They see a group of people that will never learn to speak English and become American because they don't want or need to. America is not a melting pot of multiculturalsim but more of a pot boiling over with racism. Racism is constantly talked about here on television and other medeia. Undoubtedly, it can be said it is a country obsessed with race. If Americans disagree with that then they are living in the most affluent areas of the nation and don't travel throughout the country. Very sad but multiculturalism does not work here.

  • Comment number 37.

    To answer truthfully you have to believe there is such a thing as multiculturalism, and it is not just a buzz word that has slipped into the culture called 'humanity'.

    Human beings have lived together regardless of ethnicity or culture for millions of years. Once upon a time we didn't make a dogs dinner out of it.

  • Comment number 38.

    It'll probably work once the indigenous population leave!

  • Comment number 39.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 40.

    Ha, ha, ha, Only the left could even ask this question! It is an abject failure. Ghetto’s of persons of a different cultures have appeared where extremism and crime flourish. The naive left and the last incompetent 'government' have left this country with many problems and how to stop and then integrate or remove those who are here (legal or illegal) must be very high on the list of priorities

  • Comment number 41.

    multiculturalism does and can work...its called Canada.

  • Comment number 42.

    10. At 08:00am on 17 Oct 2010, jofres123 wrote:

    I grew up in Islington, London and not only has multiculturalism succeeded, but it has made London a better place.

    = = = = = = = =

    Hate to say that when I lived in (Angel) Islington a few years ago multiculturalism certainly hadn't succeeded. The reason I knew was my neighbours considered me an Englishman (I worked very hard to be indistinguishable) and complained bitterly how much the area had deteriorated due to immigration.

  • Comment number 43.

    I'm an American. My parents came from Mexico. Some of my friends' parents or grandparents came from Vietnam, China, Italy, El Salvador, you name it. One thing we have in common is that we are all Americans, and we love our country. If we where in Germany, none of us would be Germans, nor feel rightly so. In Germany, citizenship is not a birthright. There is no way multiculturalism will ever work in Germany with such an absurd law that only punishes the children that were born in German soil, and had no word in deciding whether or not their parents ought to move into German. I'm just glad to be in the USA.

  • Comment number 44.

    I agree with #2 David Gussie from US. Germans are very impatient and irascible people. When they say "it does not work," how much have they legitimately tried to integrate people?

    This "mis-integration" starts in German schools where foreign kids are separated out and put into special "Integration" schools with minimal chances of going on to university. And when they start looking for jobs, they are excluded from the many clubs which exist here. We criticise the UK, but this does not happen, kids are never kicked out of school for being foreign!

    The pertinent question is: How long will 6 million Muslims in Germany be denied a democratic voice? Must the Turks constitute 10% or 20%, or 50% of the population before Turkish is considered and official language, or the Turks an official minority? This is a painful situation for the Germans to consider ...

  • Comment number 45.

    2. At 07:47am on 17 Oct 2010, David Gussie wrote:

    Being an American I can't help but say multiculturalism works.


    Yes, I suppose it does if you mean an economy like California where most of the real hard work is done by Mexicans!

  • Comment number 46.

    Both Sarkovsky and now Merkel have recognised the importance of preserving national individuality to the well functioning society. We must ask ourselves why do French and now German politicians recognise that multiculturalism has failed but our politicians continue to bury their heads in the sand and prefer to sweep the matter under the carpet?

    We send troops to Afghanistan partly to protect womens rights whilst in our own country, we still allow forced marriages, we have increasing numbers of women feeling they must take on the burqa, we have regular family killings of women who don't comply and the use of sharia law grows. It is nonsense.

    The truth is that our politicians are frightened. They are cowards because in British politics speaking plainly and honestly about race issues is very dangerous for their careers. Look at Enoch Powell, ostracised and he was essentially correct in his analysis. The last Labour Government have entrenched multiculturalism to a high degree. They have developed new and existing laws increasing the iron hand of political correctness through the government agencies, criminal justice system especially the police and not least the BBC.

    It is like the Emperor's new clothes but worse. Everyone knows the truth but the penalties of speaking the truth are too great particularly for public employees who don't tow the line.

    Cameron's government need to reassess were our equality and multicultural policies are taking Britain. Most of all they need to take account of middle Britain's valid concerns about the danger to our society.

  • Comment number 47.

    Multiculturalism works but for it to work a country needs to adapt. What we see in Germany, France and Italy is an urge for these countries to adopt multiculturalism by taking in immigrants and asking them to learn local language, local history, local traditions and adapt immigrant's life into the mainstream society. In effect, they just want people of different races, skin colour in their society who follow local traditions. These countries fail to accept and integrate the new immigrant cultures, languages, traditions, beliefs and way of life into an existing society. For these countries to become multicultural, its own citizens need to change to accept, appreciate and integrate the new differences into their society without being overly forceful on immigrants. Multiculturalism happens only when two both parties (citizens and immigrants) adapt and change. US, Canada, UK and few more have been quiet successful in implementing multiculturalism society. The new challenge for these countries comes in the form of immigrants outperforming the local population there by putting a strain on the limited national resources and the local population having to compete with the new set of smart immigrants. Another classic example is when Indian in 1960 tried to implement Hindi as a national language and move back fired when most of the regional language people revolted. These days without use of force the society has adopted Hindi and English as a common communication language along with the acceptance of cultural difference into the local society. There are occasional friction from the locals but multiculturalism needs time and patience. Germany, France and Italy are trying to do what China did to its citizens killing various languages, traditions by forcing Mandarin and Han tradition on everyone or for the what the Soviets failed. It is a timebomb waiting to explode.

  • Comment number 48.

    So what is now? Build a new Berlin wall? Germany for the Germans?
    I think she rides the mood of the public for popularity.
    Supporting the EU so vehemently contradicts to this kind of cheap popularism. Multiculturalism is a fact, a result of attracting Turkish emigrees in the 60s and 70s.
    Full stop.

  • Comment number 49.

    Multiculturalism in an oxymoron. A culture is a group of people who follow a set of rules and beliefs both written and unwritten. Different cultures can respect each other but only from a distance. People who do not have the same rules on major issues cannot live in the same society without trouble breaking out.

  • Comment number 50.

    Multiculturalism would have a good chance of working, if it wasn't for the evil of racism.

  • Comment number 51.

    "2. At 07:47am on 17 Oct 2010, David Gussie wrote:
    Being an American I can't help but say multiculturalism works. People are people and if they are treated as equals the melting pot comes naturally. The German government must look into why it is not working instead of treating other non German/Nordic ethnic groups as second class citizens. The melting pot works in the United States, Canada, and Australia, so why not Germany, and why not in a lot of European nations?? The world has changed and Europe needs to get a reality check instead of finding old time scape goats of the past."



    Multiculturalism may work in some new world countries (although the original indiginous people may not be so enamoured of it) because many of the cultures arrived at the same time or in a relatively short period of time, and in vast countries. It is a very different scenario, and I'm not sure that all Americans, Canadians and Australians would agree.

    For once I must agree with RichardGrey's posts on here, although I am sad that he went to the lengths that he felt he needed to to fit in.

    The issues that seem to have arisen with multiculturalism are the fact that various groups appear to want to be outside various laws, but if those laws do not suit some of them they want protection from the laws within the country to which they have moved - remember the brides for sale who were sent to the Yemen by their father, only one of whom was found and returned to the UK? I suddenly find that I am probably eating halal meat - my own belief is that this is not a humane way to kill an animal, and I do not live in an Islamic country. We have terrorist threats yet we have people who believe it is their right to dress in a way in which it is impossible to identify them, and do their jobs in such a manner.

    Multiculturalism is sadly NOT about sharing music, literature, art, cooking.



  • Comment number 52.

    Actually we need to define multi culturism first. According to me it means respecting people who are different from you, the way they are. If germany has a rule book for immigrants to follow (about how they need to change their culture) how the hell will it work. It will work maybe after 2-3 generations after immigrants have settled and have had children. But i do see a very disturbing trend on these so called multi cultural societies like Austalia & New Zealand. For example Indians are routinely attacked there, not because they don't want to be australians but because they look different. That is the crux of the problem, not multi-culturalism.

  • Comment number 53.

    Look at the world's centres of cultural output in music, art & film and you'll find multiculturalism at work. The U.K. and U.S. are the two main hotspots for integrating people from other countries and they;ve been reaping the benefits for decades.

  • Comment number 54.

    People don't mean 'multiculturalism' when they say it has failed. What they really mean is that they don't want a lot of dark-skinned foreigners, particularly Muslim ones, living alongside them. Consequently Merkel's remarks, coming as they do from a leading politician of a country with such a frightening and relatively recent history of genocide, make me feel queasy.

    Turning to Britain, it has been 'multicultural' for centuries. Successive waves of immigration have brought innovative and hard-working people here, generally to the benefit of all. Racism, hidden behind weasel-worded terms like 'multiculturalism is a failure', is more of a threat to us than immigration.

  • Comment number 55.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 56.

    Multiculturalism only works in Cananda because Canada only has one main culture. All other cultures,tribal,lingual are subject to the same rules and largely beliefs.

  • Comment number 57.

    I believe that multiculturalism in Europe is inevitable. The problem in Germany is the lack of accessible free German courses. You have them in some schools, then you loose months learning living rules and more rules for 2 yars, instead of a crash course. Germans are also very distant and uninterested in knowing a foreigner. As an expatriate i'm not interested in getting their moods either, I have my own. This is something they fail completely to understand. Merkel's comments come after some lousy media post news telling that foreigners live on workless funds.

  • Comment number 58.

    32. At 08:33am on 17 Oct 2010, weaver wrote:

    Cultural intolerance from a German? Well I never!

    ---------------------------------

    Cheap shot!

  • Comment number 59.

    36. At 08:37am on 17 Oct 2010, TonyMcG wrote:

    I live in San Diego, California right on the border of Mexico. The idea of multiculturalism is a good one. However, the USA is a prime example of multiculturalsim not working. America is bursting with racism. While the U.S. would like to believe it is a land of multiculturalism, it is in fact a country on the edge. I work with school districts across the nation and I have seen this country become increasingly racist. The schools are having to deal with an increase of children from a variety of countries which has raised tensions not only among the whites but also the Black and Hispanics. As more minorities become the majority, it is very evident that tensions will undoubtedly grow. There is no American dream of multiculturalsim. Just spend time in any neighbourhood in any medium or major city in the USA and you will see and hear how multiculturism does not work. It is even more apparent in smaller cities where resentment and intolerance is very strong towards minorities. Many Americans see people from Spanish speaking countries as a massive problem. They view them as crossing the border to the the USA to take jobs and government benefits. They see a group of people that will never learn to speak English and become American because they don't want or need to. America is not a melting pot of multiculturalsim but more of a pot boiling over with racism. Racism is constantly talked about here on television and other medeia. Undoubtedly, it can be said it is a country obsessed with race. If Americans disagree with that then they are living in the most affluent areas of the nation and don't travel throughout the country. Very sad but multiculturalism does not work here.

    = = = = = = = =

    You obviously live in the real world - unlike our earlier poster. Well said!

    The difficult thing I really found in the US was that I toured it as a very scruffy student in new cars - stopped several times by police - told at gunpoint to "get out of the car and assume the position" Directly they found we were English invited us home!!! Extremely warm people ready to shoot us!! In the UK the police would have been far more polite but would have NEVER invited us home!! :-)

  • Comment number 60.

    Of course multiculturalism can work, if decent people of goodwill and tolerance want it to work. If the peevish, self-regarding misanthropes who contribute to Have Your Say are typical of the country as a whole, though, it doesn't stand a chance.

  • Comment number 61.

    Im surprised it has taken this long for the right wing to rise up and denounce multiculturalism so publicly,and unsurprisingly they are getting growing support,
    multiculturalism does not work,how can it when the migrants do not recognise the adopted countries cultures or laws and want to change every thing to how it was back home.
    this in my opinion is just the start of a movement of nationalism that will sweep Europe
    (does this sound familiar)
    multiculturalism is just another thing to add to the list that brown and nu-labour got so very wrong

  • Comment number 62.

    Multiculturanism has never worked in Australia despite of been trumpeted by some politicians

  • Comment number 63.

    America has perhaps demonstrated how a multicultural society MIGHT work; any immigrant to the USA has to fulfil certain criteria - the upshot of which is that the immigrant has to learn how America works as a system, and to swear an oath of allegiance to the USA. This at least establishes some basic ground rules. The ghettoes which exist in the USA are also testament to the tribal leanings of humanity, so perhaps ultimately a multiculturasl society is just that?
    As for the UK, successive governments and the omnipresent establishment have used immigration as a weapon against we indiginous people. Lowly-paid jobs are subsidised so that an immigrant can afford to take a job that a native Brit cannot. Despite assurances to the contrary, preference IS given to the immigrants when it comes to housing. Lastly, it is the ghetto mentality which sees these people prosper here when a Brit cannot. They help each other, pool their resources and buy shops, houses etc., etc. as a co-operative. We Brits are still figuring out whether we should speak to our next door neighbours.

  • Comment number 64.

    Multiculturalism can work. Where there is a problem the host culture -- be that German or British -- is largely to blame. I can look to my own family as an example. I am a New Zealander with a Frisian father and Anglo-Irish mother, and my extended include Maori, Samoans, Dutch, English, Croats, et. al. living in NZ, the Netherlands, the UK and Australia.

    People who don't believe multiculturalism can work mostly seem to live in homogenous one-culture families and have a personal bias against diversity.

  • Comment number 65.

    its very interesting that all the replies from american citizens tend to agree with the effectiveness of multiculturalism and are blaming european nations for living in the past, whilst citizens of european nations largely believe that multiculturalism has 'utterly failed'.

    the reason is simple. america is a nation built on multiculturalism. the indigenous people were 'pushed aside' and the newcomers brought their own cultures, customs and way of life with them.

    a similar situation to the 'new found land' is now happening across europe and the indigenous peoples of europe should quite rightly voice their concerns, starting with their leaders: well done merkel!!

    i would like to add that i myself am an immigrant.

  • Comment number 66.

    37. At 08:38am on 17 Oct 2010, Daisy Chained wrote:

    To answer truthfully you have to believe there is such a thing as multiculturalism, and it is not just a buzz word that has slipped into the culture called 'humanity'.

    Human beings have lived together regardless of ethnicity or culture for millions of years. Once upon a time we didn't make a dogs dinner out of it.

    = = = = = =

    Sorry Actually untrue - that's the major reason we've had wars - and the Homo Sapiens were not around millions of years ago

  • Comment number 67.

    Does multiculturalism work? NO!

    Do I feel better among a multitude of different nationalities? No, I just feel anxious in case I do or say anything racist!

  • Comment number 68.

    When I left my home country Germany some 30 years ago, I was looking for a new environment and maybe some adventure. I ended up in Singapore, a tiny island that offers great living conditions. I adopted to that new environment, culture, traditions, many official languages and a colorful mix of different races and religions. I integrated myself into this multi cultural society without hesitation or difficulties. I made this tiny nation my home country for some 18 years, without regret.

    Moving on from S.E.- Asia to Australia is another story altogether. Again, new environment, "almost" different language (is it English?) and completely different people. Living down under for more then 12 years has turned me into Australian (with a little German accent, of course). Anyhow, moving to other countries requires to adapt to the new country's basics such as language, traditions and life style. I do not expect my new home country to adapt to my upbringing, culture and traditions.

    Having said that, I have noticed that many immigrants who chose Germany as their new home country have failed to put in adequate efforts to integrate into that society. Rather common appears to me their flat refusal to learn the German language. Ok, I have to admit by own experience that the German language is not an easy language to learn. But no immigrant can expect that they will get away with their mother tongue in a country where communication is done mostly in German. This will create a barrier and will leave those without adequate language skills in the isolation of their respective minority group.

    Over the past couple of years I have come across an increased number of vicious crimes carried out by immigrants. Many of these crimes were committed by young teenagers who don't speak their host country's language. And they all carry the same signature: brutality at its worst.

    I understand that there have been numerous cases in German public life where immigrants are openly addressing German blonde girls as whores. Teachers are commonly called slut and so on. Violence in German schools couldn't be worse. A society where German pupils are afraid to walk to school or leave the class room during recess. People are generally afraid of public transport because of fears they might stumble across a bunch of boys with arabic speaking background.

    I do not think that this is a healthy condition to live in and raise children. Germans are afraid in their own country and they kept their voices in the past extremely low in order not to offend a.) the immigrants and b.) the rest of the world.

    Any other country would have dealt with this problem long time ago. Just imagine what would happen if an immigrant in Singapore would call a teacher slut, a Chinese girl whore or wield a knife in a public transport? I know exactly what would happen and I can assure everyone that nobody would give a damn. That's why the country is extremely safe for everybody. Unlike Germany and many of her neighboring countries.

  • Comment number 69.

    I argue that Muticulturalism did not work in Europe because the roots of racism are deeply embedded in the host societies, making the multiculturalist/orientalist policies are deeply patronising. Integration rules wont work if the host society (and policy makers)do not not revise their perception on the foreign communities.

  • Comment number 70.

    Those who cite the American melting pot as proof of the desirability of multiculturalism should perhaps ask the Native American tribes whether they think that mass immigration was beneficial for their peoples.

  • Comment number 71.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 72.

    We don't want immigration limits, we don't want immigration quotas; we want the most damaging aspect of social engineering in the UK since the end of WW2 completely reversed. Multiculturalism has been a complete and unmitigated disaster and destroyed everything that was once great about these islands. It's only spinless, misguided wishy-washy liberal hypocrites who think it is has in any way been a 'success'. The first generation of immigrants were content to accept it was predominatly white Christian country and they would need to abide by that reality for the chance of better life. Unfortunately as their numbers and influence grew and they've realised how the chattering classes are falling over themselves to abandon our heritage they've become more vocal and insistent about imposing their culture and religions on the existing established ones.

    And just because you can buy a pre-packaged curry in the supermarket doesn't count it as a success. It hasn't and the sooner we start to unpick and reverse this disaster can't come soon enough.

  • Comment number 73.

    Multiculture can work, but if we're being honest there are certain cultures that are not going to integrate and are causing us security and social problems as a result.

    Constant vigilance by our security services is the reason why we're not seeing a regular bloodbath on our streets like 7/7.

    I just don't know why Europe thought it would be a good idea to allow immigration of backward cultures that don't suit our way of life. The left wing has a lot to answer for.

    Countries like Sweden have seen all sorts of problems. The last Jew was recently ethnically cleansed from Malmo which has been taken over by Muslim immigrants and now has no-go areas even for the Swedes.

  • Comment number 74.

    No it does not work and will never work. I also think that many migrants to this country should have been screened much more carefully, in my view we have imported a lot of trouble.

  • Comment number 75.

    What can work is uniculturalism, as practised in France. Multiculturalism stresses the differences and tells us to live with them. Uniculturalism accepts that there are differences but attempts to give us all a common culture that we can share. It does not always work because not everyone buys into it, but, as an ideal, it has more to recommend it.

  • Comment number 76.

    Multi-culturalism works in affluent city areas (and other surprising pockets of society) because the people there have inter-dependent lives. Elsewhere it fosters division and problems (almost everywhere). Most MPs are blind to basic human psychology, so they won't understand this.

  • Comment number 77.

    I can't see the point of individuals leaving their country of birth and emigrating, presumably for a better life, and then attempting to change the new country into a replica of their birthplace. If their original home was so satisfactory, and they have no desire to integrate with the indigenous population, they should return to their birthplaces instead of whinging and demanding that the indigenous populations adapt to suit them.

  • Comment number 78.

    Multiculturalism, does it work? Well we are British living in South Africa. We have adopted a daughter from a different nation and race, my adult daughter has married someone from a different nation, my adult son has married someone from a different nation and race. People, mainly white people, struggle with this, so yes it works for us, within our family, and no it hasn't yet worked in society, but has it really been tried? We sit in our camps throwing rocks at each other telling ourselves it hasn't worked. We happen to be part of a multicultural church with leaders from different nationalities and races, and I would say we are working towards non-racism, where the colour of your skin is seen as irrelevant. We are all on a journey, it seems Europe is going into reverse but none of us are yet to arrive! Please put your rocks down.

  • Comment number 79.

    Multiculturalism has utterly failed in the UK as well.

    Immigrants have generally failed to integrate as they have preferred to live in ghettoes and we have allowed it, indeed encouraged it. Been to Southall or Wembley recently?

    How can you have an integrated society when you have idiots insisting that we celebrate diversity? We should be celebrating Britishness, rather than being obliged to be feel guilty about our heritage.

    We are sitting on a powder keg.

  • Comment number 80.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 81.

    Ms. Merkel, who has up to now been a rare voice of reason in this debate, is completely wide of the mark on this. "Multicultural society" is simply the reality. I live as a foreigner and a Jew in Germany and have comfortable relationships with German and foreign colleagues and friends. My daughter's best friend has a Turkish father and a German mother. Of course there are areas where foreigners and Germans both haven't done enough to make the cohabitation, which is a fact of 21st century life, succed. But when Ms Merkel says "absolutely, absolutely failed" she ignores the successes of the last years, simply in order to make her party more votable for people who don't want to accept the reality or are too shortsighted to recognize it.

  • Comment number 82.

    Multi-Culti was an ill illusion of romantic politicians.
    it lead just us to getoization of megcities.
    the relaistic way of co-exsistance is Integration either volunterly or per Law.

    otherwise we go down all together.

  • Comment number 83.


    German comments about integrating and learning the language really only apply to people coming from Eastern Europe or muslim countries in the south. Although I have a degree in German and work with the language on a daily basis, I often find it hard to convince locals to speak to me in the local language. Many English-speaking professionals work in Germany for years without needing to learn a word of Germans, and in fact locals value the chance to speak English. However Germans are a lot more reticent to use English as a lingua franca to aid communication with Arabs working in kitchens, for example.

    I also find baffled incomprehension from almost all Germans if I say that I like German folk music. Ironically, the one time I did find a folk-singing group in Altena, the singing was being led by a West African.

    Germany seems to be moving away from the multi-cultural ideal in highly confused and ill-defined direction.

  • Comment number 84.

    Does multiculturalism work? Go ahead and ask my (still married) parents. Go ahead and ask all the thousands of other people who are the products of interracial families. Don't worry, we won't bite. Or report you to the authorities for that matter (we're still legal, at least in every US state outside of Arizona).

  • Comment number 85.

    The evidence that multiculturalism has succeeded is hard to see, but it is there

    It doesn't make headlines in right wing newspapers.

    It is present in the millions of tiny interactions that take place between people of differing cultures all around the world every day. It is present in the ever increasing tolerance of difference, in the way we learn from each other. They from us, us from them.

    The development and blossoming of culture, arts, music etc as people get together and remember that there is more that unites us than divides us.

    One particularly crude example is: Take a look at your cd/record/mp3 collection and work out how much has emerged at the intersection of cultures.

    London is a better place as a result of multiculturalism because (the majority of) its people have embraced difference and found something to love, not something to fear, in the new.

    Try not to look for the cheap easy answers. signs of happiness are always harder to see than signs of sadness, but if you look, they are there.

  • Comment number 86.

    It hasn't worked in either modern Britain or Germany, and true multiculturalism never worked in the British Empire either. The British were colonial masters and don't let's forget it. We have plenty to be ashamed of in that sense, as well as things to fondly remember.
    You might make a claim for multiculturalism existing to a limited extent in Britain until not long after WW2, in the sense that at least the distinctive Scots and Welsh Celtic cultures were broadly recognised - even celebrated, across Great Britain. But even that was (and still is) not strong enough to eradicate independence politics and religous differences, especially with Ireland.
    So if it takes hundreds of years even to make incomplete progress with true multiculturalism in the little British Isles, how can we expect success with completely different cultures from the other continents and is it sensible to try to do it in the first place?
    Anyway, what's wrong with people wanting to live (as the vast majority of them across the world want to do) within a culturally homogeneous and stable society of which they feel a full member?

  • Comment number 87.

    In an earlier post, David Gussie wrote:

    "Being an American I can't help but say multiculturalism works."
    I'mn not sure where David lives but having lived in the US for 50 years I can absolutely say it does not work! In the mid-90's a black man was dragged literally to pieces behind a pickup truck in Texas by a group of whites. We have a history of race riots, countless incidents like the
    Rodney King incident, and now an explosive situation along the US-Mexico border - precisely because of a cultural backlash to a growing Hispanic influence on American culture (regardless of the political rhetoric of having a "safe border.").
    I believe that history will prove that "multi-culturalism", the way it is trying to be forced in places like USA, is an abstraction and fabrication of our desires and destined to fail.
    I think that it is interesting that everyone identifies themselves as being from somewhere where there was no other origin. People in the US could live here for 10 generations and still say "my family comes from Germany" or "I'm Irish"..... Even blacks, who have been here for many, many generations, even hundreds of years, still call themselves "African American's", not "Americans!".
    I believe that over enough time, everyone (all races and ethnic groups) will end up back from where they all started. We can see it happening right not - either through revolution, demographics or politics, the indigenous population of any given land will ultimately take over and rule. We can see this in South AFrica, India (getting the British out), colonial states gaining their freedom in Africa and Latin America, and the rapid rise in Hispanic population in the US. It'll take some time, maybe hundreds of years, but we'll all end up back where we started. Only then, on a global scale, will "multi-culturalism" exist. People need unique identity within an identifiable group and place.

  • Comment number 88.

    Any comparison with the USA is flawed - the US is mono-cultural as the sense of being American overrides the disparate cultural roots of its inhabitants. Therefore the USA and the new states of the world are intergrational rather than multi-cultural.

    There is no such thing as a multi-cultural society. Society is defined by its culture, so the best you can hope for is separate societies that happen to live with one another, a state of affairs that cannot continue indefinitely with significant social challenges. Merkel was right to say what we have all been thinking.

  • Comment number 89.

    Hello to all my fellow bloggers, readers and world citizens,

    The topic of multiculturalism is a very sensitive, divisive, and biased topic. If you put this question to 6 billion people of the world you will get very different and bizarre answers. We have to balance out all the possibilities before finding a correct answer to this problem. Let us first agree that there are so many religions than required, there are so many cults, there are so many hidden dark secrets of so many people that it makes totally impossible to come to any solid and widely acceptable common agreement on the success or failure of multiculturalism. What is correct for one person can be wrong for a second person and the third person does not have anything to do with it.

    What Mrs. Merkel said "multiculturalism is an utter failure in Germany". What I get from this is that she is not pinpointing any one religion or group of people, but she conveys that no matter what the state does to simplify the integration of foreigners in the society or no matter how much resources are granted, and help is provided to a group of people, the total integration remains a remote possibility. My take on this is that no matter how much money you throw or try to hand shake with some people. All is in vain. You cannot make one do what he or she does not want to do. I live in Canada and came from India. I see a clash of cultures day and night at my kid school, at work, in supermarkets, at leisure centers, at local gatherings. For example, whenever there is the national anthem of Canada in school, some group of Muslim kids does not stand up citing that it is against their religion or islam does not allow them to stand up for the respect of the country they live in. My query is where then is the multiculturalism? Foreigners come to countries for economic benefits, and they fail to comply with local traditions and cultures. What happens to multiculturalism then? I say that the concept of multiculturalism is an eye wash and a wasteful tragedy. It results in wastage of time, energy, and money. As long as people are sandwiched in their narrow religious cocoon, the dream of integration will remain unfulfilled. All that money and resources wasted on propagating the idea of multiculturalism should be diverted to better education, research and policing.

    In some countries, the concept of multiculturalism is used to collect votes. That what is happening in Canada today, whenever there is an inauguration of some religious centers like temples, gurudwaras, or mosque, our politicians come to show their face and give an impression of solidarity with the minorities and some photo up. After the inauguration, I do not know any politician steering his vehicle again towards that religious place any more.

    What is cooking here? I sense that the multiculturalism has become a tool for politicians to play a political game to increase their vote game by pleasing minorities without getting any kind of concession from them. I fully agree with Mrs. Merkel that we should stop reciting the poem of multicultura and come out of hibernation in the real world. This concept is a way to vague and illusionary world. We should stop pampering minorities for the sake of increasing vote bank without some kind of concession from them in return. Unless and until, the minorities are not ready to give up their stubborn attitude and embrace their new country and culture, no one should be lectured about this flop concept of multiculturalism. Multiculturalism -- the notion that everyone is actually the same and will fit right in -- is palpably absurd. It disrespects the new person, his history, his reality, his personality. Bringing in unlimited numbers of people disrespects the society into which they are coming -- no society can absorb that many totally different people. Witness Europe and Islam. Witness California and its overwhelming Hispanic numbers. This becomes, then, no melting pot, but a boiling pot and a roiling sea of inassimilable numbers that leads to the breakdown and anomie of society.

    I end my comment with a famous quote of Galileo Galilei

    "You cannot teach a man anything; you can only help him find it within himself."

  • Comment number 90.

    I suppose I was naive a couple of decades ago to think that `multicultural´ meant immigrants maintaining something of their home culture while being part of their new country (I am English and still eat Marmite though living in Germany). In practice it seems to have meant different cultures living side-by-side with no common ground. This, of course, is doomed to fail.

    Frau Merkel, representing Germany, is not in a position to talk about multiculturalism with authority as Germany until recently made no attempts to aid integration of immigrants.

  • Comment number 91.

    As Homo sapiens it is entirely our choice- should we go forward or head backward. Should we come together or fall apart......

  • Comment number 92.

    When humans imigrate ( by mere common sense ) they should adapt the best they can to their new home's culture, language, rules and behaviour. I guess we all may feel that our way of looking at life and behaving may be the best, same as our religion and customs. We may even feel that the rest of te people should follow them or learn from them. My ancestors come from 3 different parts of the world, I speak 4 languages and study other cultures ( the ones I feel attracted to ). When I go to a new place I like to breathe and feel that place's soul, culture and customs. An Excellent for Merkel !, she loves and wants to protect her country's identity.

  • Comment number 93.

    To those people saying this is racism:

    It is no good saying that racism causes problems (wars) and so we must stop racism!

    This is naive. Racism in Germany prior to WW2 is given as an excuse to feel good about the forces of 'good' winning against the forces of evil. However, the racism did not simply 'appear', it was a symptom of the treatment German people felt they were getting from Europe (treaty of Vers.) and perceived bad treatment from other communities within Germany, who were perceived as taking advantage. Hitler skillfully whipped this up. But racism was not the 'cause'. We forget now that the majority of German people felt extremely hard-done-by prior to WW2, and could take no more.

    So.. when the conditions for racism exist, then we have problems. A multi-cultural society is perfect for fostering these conditions, and will create division, bad felling, and racism. If you want to stop racism, then you have to get society right. You cannot create a breeding ground for racism and then blame those people who become racists because of it. People must feel that a society is fair.

    Hence we need a more sensible model, and should be brave enough to admit that multi-culturalism is not right. That is not racist, it is the opposite.

  • Comment number 94.

    I am an American and multi-culturalism does not work in the US, either. It is a myth that all groups live together in peace and acceptance here, too. Most of the immigrant population of today has arrived for opportunity only, not to become part of the society. When that happens, there is a disregard for laws and customs of a country. People tend to live in their own enclaves, speak their own language, associate with their own kind, etc. It has gone to such an extreme that even churches have Mass in Spanish and schools send report cards home in other languages. That is going way too far. That is not multi-culturalism. That is more of a salad bowl approach, where people live in layers and are unaffected by others. It is fine to respect your heritage. But if you want to live in a given country, and especially if you become a citizen as my grandparents did nearly 100 years ago, then it is time to move on and love your new country heart and soul. If you can't, then please go where you can.

  • Comment number 95.

    If some of the posters actually left the highly urbanised areas of Britain it is evident to all there is no multiculturism here.

    Where is the integration after generations of immigration? Don't care if you cite the US, Canada, Australia or London as examples where it works - it only works when the locals of all colours say "Little Italy" or "Little whatever" to define the ghettos the immigrants have confined themselves to.
    I agree with Merkel, it doesn't work because human beings don't work that way.

  • Comment number 96.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 97.

    I am no racist, I judged people by what they are, individuals and have always been individually rewarded. However, I have recently had to go into a suburb of one of our major towns in England and I have never felt so intimidated in my life! I was spat at and questioned as to why I was out alone (I am female) and told that only whores did not cover their heads. May I point out that I am neither a whore, or ruled by a man, but I am a proud British citizen who had ancestors who fought for the vote and others for our way of life. This is what multiculturism spawns, a lack of respect for the agony that we suffered to arrive at what is very attractive to most immingrants.

  • Comment number 98.

    It depends on which immigrants we are talking about.

    Filipinos assimilate perfectly into our society and are proud of it.

    The Chinese also fit in well. They demand nothing.

    Those groups that give problems can be identified simply by the level of demands they make on our system - they want their laws introduced into English law, they want to import their own values and traditions to the UK and change our way of life.

    The other problem is overcroweding in the UK - we have no room for more.


  • Comment number 99.

    @SystemF
    I have jewish friends happily living in Malmo, Sweden.
    There are indeed problems associated with immigration in Malmo, but the problems are that the Govt has dumped tens of thousands of refugees and immigrants there without due consideration to the impact on schools, hospitals etc. This can hardly be blamed on multiculturalism or the immigrants themselves who are ready, willing and able to make a contribution to Swedish society but are thwarted by the government's inaction and unpreparedness as well as the hostility of a part of the swedish population that are hell bent on their rejection. WHo can blame an immigrant for hanging out with his/her own crowd when they get abused every time they venture out into the host society.

  • Comment number 100.

    The very word multiculturalism suggests harmony. A word much used by politicians who refused to see the real effects of mass immigration. The British have historically never been too tolerant of foreigners who wish to settle here. To allow an open door immigration policy with, in many cases, the newcomers demands are put above those of the citizen population has been distastrous. Thus we have the mess the country is in today. Multiculturalsim does not work, this country as others is culturally divided. Only the politicians refuse to accept this fact.

 

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