A Swedish Writer Is Unimpressed By Tony Blair's Break With Multiculturalism
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Re James Fulford's Blog Post Tony Blair Declares Multiculturalism Over

From Michael Ståhlberg, Tyresö, Sweden

The Daily Telegraph interprets the speech by Tony Blair on multiculturalism and integration as a sharp break with previous policies. [Has Blair seen the multiculturalism light?, Daily Telegraph, December 9, 2006]. But I find several problems with that interpretation:

  1. Blair appears to praise affirmative action measures for minorities and infringements on free speech, in the name of fighting intolerance among Muslims by cracking down equally on Islamophobia among whites, causing uncertainty about what's allowed by law to utter on sensitive subjects.
  2. His government made a serious attack on free speech by trying to outlaw religious jokes that could offend Muslims. The measure was defeated in the parliament (in the House of Lords, I think) after a campaign spearheaded by comedians Rowan Atkinson and Stephen Fry.
  3. He paints an untrue division between a small fringe of Muslim extremists and the vast majority of supposedly moderate Muslims. That beautiful picture is contradicted by a poll published in the Daily Telegraph, showing that 40 percent of British Muslims favor shar'ia laws above British law.
  4. Blair praises the Tories for not "playing the race card". He says that that doesn't include discussing rules for immigration. But does that license extend to proposing drastic cuts in immigration or is such at proposal viewed as "playing the race card"?
  5. Blair's own Iraq policy has contributed more than anything to put British citizens at risk when it comes Islamic terrorism.
  6. Of course, to the eternal shame of the Tories, they stood behind Blair when he helped Uncle Sam invade Iraq and alienate the majority of the world's Muslims, which is probably why the Telegraph ignores it.

Neocons everywhere, Sweden no exception, will of course ignore all the points I've made above and give their full, hypocritical assent to every word in the speech.

P.S. "Inciting hatred" is a crime nowadays. Now what exactly how do you avoid "inciting hatred"? If you point out that 40% of Britain's Muslims in a poll this year wanted shar'ia laws in Britain, you most certainly incite negative feelings toward almost half the British Muslim population. Inciting negative feelings toward such a large group could reasonably be called "inciting hatred". What else can it mean? Which raises the question: can you feel safe from prosecution if you mention this broad support for shar'ia laws?

Is there a risk that a citizen of another country within the EU can be extradited to Britain, should a prosecutor there deem his/her mentioning it to be incitement to hatred?

Thanks to the European arrest warrant, it's possible for a citizen of another country within the EU to be extradited to your country for what is a crime in your country but not in the other country.

P.P.S. See Shari'a Swim in the UK, from the Brussels Journal.

James Fulford writes: I wrote that "You can read the full text of the speech and find much to disagree with." Michael Ståhlberg has done a good job of pointing out what there is to disagree with. The speech still shows progress.

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