One of the biggest buzzwords of the twenty-first century is “multiculturalism.” It actually defines one’s tolerance level for other cultures– the trait of a good, compliant postmodern citizen. The more we tolerate other cultures, the better! In essence, there is nothing wrong with such an approach. I grew-up in France where I had Arab, Vietnamese and African friends all throughout my childhood, and nobody thought anything of it . In the 60s and 70s, various cultures were kept in the home and/or respective places of worship, and adherence to a country’s laws were the norm when outside the home and/or communal life. That was what we can call successful multiculturalism. Those days are long gone!
To an extent, various cultures are still able to truly co-exist within the same country. Yet there is a dominant culture, or more accurately a dominant “ideology” that doesn’t play well with others, and that is the Muslim ideology. I say ideology because there is not doubt in the mind of those who look at Islam, that it is much more than a religion. It is an ideology that includes a religion, a financial system, a legal system and much more. In other words, Islam is a way of life! We all have the right to choose which way we want to go through life and if one wants to do it as a Muslim, it is their personal choice. I happen to have chosen a different path that includes Judeo/Christian ethics and a belief system based on the teachings of the Bible (Old and New Testament.)
I like my way of life as a disciple of Yeshua and I wish that more people would adhere to it and be as blessed as I am, yet I would never impose it on anyone because it would then instantly become legalism. My Jewish people have been the victims of legalism for centuries. Forced conversions, forced baptism and other Christian dogmatic indoctrinations have driven a wedge between Christians and Jews and led to a plethora of bloody massacres over the ages. People should always be given a choice not an order when it comes to culture, customs and beliefs. After all this is why the United Nations came up with the “Declaration Universelle des Droits de l’homme.” in 1948 (Universal Declaration of Human Rights.)
In Article 2 of the UDHR, we read “Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.” When this is applied properly, we have multiculturalism at its best. It protects world citizens wherever they come from and wherever they live. But in the last few decades, these principles have been abused and used against the very people who tried so hard to uphold them. What more? Under the very eyes of modern Western countries that once were thriving democracies. The ideology of Islam taken to its radical fringes is very far from what people try so hard to call the “Religion of Peace.” It demands multiculturalism in a world still willing to provide it, but is it really in the name of tolerance, co-existence and mutual acceptance?
Many European countries that once promoted free speech, freedom of religion and freedom of the press, are self-inflicting a series of restrictions in the hope that they will appease the ire of radical Islam. Western civilization’s self-inflicted multiculturalism has failed greatly and is leading only to one thing; a rigid brand of “monoculturalism.” In many cases including in the United-States, people either do not understand Sharia Law or fear reprisals for speaking negatively about it. In a 2016 article in the Washington Post, titled “Five myths about sharia”, the reader is told that :
1. Sharia isn’t “Islamic law.”
2. In Muslim countries, Sharia isn’t the law of the land.
3. Sharia isn’t anti-women
4. Sharia doesn’t demand brutal punishments
5. Sharia isn’t about conquest
I find this very hard to believe when the West has been witnessing the treatment of Jews, Christians, women and gays under Sharia. But again, if Muslim communities choose to live by Sharia standards, it is their choice according to the same Article 2 of the UDHR, and they shouldn’t be ostracized, harassed or persecuted for it. Where we are going wrong is when we extend our over-tolerant multiculturalism to let one particular ideology dominate the rest of the world. If we do not rectify our course, I am convinced that our failed multiculturalism will lead to rigid monoculturalism! From what we have seen, Islam isn’t necessarily the path to freedom. In many cases, it looks more like a theocratic dictatorship. Choose Islam if you will, but please do not choose it or any other ideology for me. I have chosen to be a Jew who follows his Messiah (Yeshua of Nazareth), and while I wish more people would investigate his claims and the simple message of salvation (Psalm 16:11; 36:7-10, Genesis 2:17; Ecclesiastes 7:20, Jeremiah 17:9, Ezekiel 18:4, Jeremiah 2:22, Psalm 49:7, Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12, Genesis 15:6, Habakkuk 2:4, Proverbs 28:13). After all, it should still be about personal choices!