Let’s Talk: Has the multiculturalism experiment officially failed?

An Australian political scientist has claimed that “multiculturalism has never been more assailed by the reality of its failings”. Jennifer
New Zealand

An Australian political scientist has claimed that “multiculturalism has never been more assailed by the reality of its failings”. Jennifer Oriel has pointed towards huge challenges facing Europe, and given everyday Australians lots to think about.

Yesterday, ten Europeans were killed in Turkey by a suicide bomber. The perpetrator was of Syrian origin and appears to have been a clandestine ISIS member. Meanwhile, New Year’s Eve allegedly saw scores of women in Germany become victims of sexual assault, at the hands of asylum-seekers and illegal immigrants.

For political scientists like Jennifer Oriel, this rising tide of violence proves that multiculturalism is unachievable. “Europe ushered in 2015 by opening borders”, she said. “The mass violence on New Year’s Eve committed by asylum-seekers welcomed through open borders has shattered the dream”.

Jennifer Oriel has accused Western politicians of naively believing that all immigrants can assimilate into our culture. She believes politicians too often say, “open the borders and they will come, offer social democracy and they will ­integrate, teach Enlightenment and liberalism will flourish”.

Unfortunately reality seems to be quite the opposite. Jennifer Oriel says anyone who discusses their concerns about multiculturalism is quickly branded as racist. “To be for multiculturalism means being pro-diversity, an advocate of open society, and fashionably cosmopolitan where it matters”, explains Ms Oriel.

“To question multiculturalism is to cast oneself down into the pit of modern society, somewhere between Mussolini’s ghost and the tobacco-chewing rednecks of the (historical) South. When public debate is framed in such extreme terms, there is little room for reality and the vital checks it offers to runaway idealism”.

Ms Oriel believes that politicians need to be more realistic in their approach to multiculturalism: “The mass violence committed by asylum-seekers and illegal immigrants on New Year’s Eve should provoke a more rational approach to cultural diversity and security policy across the West”.

“Only a few months ago, (European) leaders were defending open border policy as the zenith of multiculturalism”, said Ms Oriel. “Blinded by faith, they ignored reality as Islamists made their way into Europe, unleashing jihadism against its citizens”.

With Europe in crisis, Australians might be well-advised to weigh up multiculturalism as an ongoing policy. Jennifer Oriel says, “political leaders must reckon with reality if cultural (diversity) is to survive”.

Do you agree with this political scientist’s viewpoints? Do you think that multiculturalism has failed in Europe? Can Australia keep this idea alive?