“Multiculturalism” has become a suspect term almost everywhere in the world nowadays, and particularly in Europe. People say things like: “I used to be for openness and toleration of difference, but now I see where it’s leading.” But where is it leading?
Almost every reason for toleration’s apparent fall into disrepute concerns Islam. Even simple requests, like that of schoolgirls to wear headscarves in class, are suddenly freighted with immense political significance and treated as issues that must be resolved at the highest level of government. People – and their elected leaders as well -- often have the feeling that such seemingly innocent proposals are in fact part of an ominous “hidden agenda.”
That agenda is “Islam,” which many imagine to include all the terrible things that we can read about in the press every day: the stoning of adulterous women under Sharia law in northern Nigeria, the amputation of thieves’ hands in Saudi Arabia, honor killings of women who refuse arranged marriages in Pakistan (or even northern English cities like Bradford and Manchester), the willingness to justify suicide bombings.