10 January 2015
LIKE Al-Qaeda’s audacious attacks on Sept 11, 2001, the raid by suspected militants in Paris on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo will have far-reaching repercussions on multiculturalism. The pursuit of multiculturalism was an attempt by European nations to adjust to the fact that they had become immigrant societies.
Inclusiveness and respect for cultural differences, post-9/11, was replaced by policies, such as language training, that were designed to Europeanise foreign migrants but did little to tackle the economic and social marginalisation of various immigrant groups. The result was increased alienation, coupled with radicalisation of youth on the fringe who identified with a perceived brutalisation of the Islamic world by autocratic and/or sectarian leaders in countries like Iraq, Syria, Egypt and Myanmar. That was, perhaps, Al-Qaeda’s greatest achievement.
Much like 9/11, the attack on Charlie Hebdo was designed to not only brutalise a symbol of Western freedoms and society, but also to reinforce a growing wedge in French society between an indigenous majority and immigrants. Days before the Paris attack, a mayor of a Paris suburb refused to allow a Roma baby girl, who died on Christmas Day, to be buried in the local cemetery, on the grounds that the cemetery had “few available plots” and that “priority is given to those who pay their local taxes”.
…James M. Dorsey is a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at the Nanyang Technological University.
RSIS / Online / Print
Last updated on 12/01/2015