An extract from Kenan Malik's From Fatwa to Jihad that delves into the roots of the Asian Youth Movements of the 1970s and 1980s and how they came to be formed.
BBC Radio 4 broadcast a documentary this week by Zaiba Malik on the history of the Asian Youth Movements. For many of us who grew up in 1970s and 1980s, the AYMs were a central feature of our lives.
Kenan Malik analyses how the development of state multiculturalist policies in response to the struggles of asian youth in the 1970s diverted struggles from a politicised class terrain into battles for recognition of cultural identities.
It was February 1989. I was in Bradford, a few weeks after the demonstration on which a copy of Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses had been burnt. I had gone there to interview Sher Azam, president of the Bradford Council of Mosques, and the man who had torched the book. Waiting in the drab building that housed the Bradford Council of Mosques, I heard a familiar voice.
Kenan Malik distinguishes between the positive lived experience of a multicultural society, and multicultural state policies which foster division.
‘Has multiculturalism been good or bad for Britain?’ It’s a question to which the answers have become increasingly polarised in recent years. For some, multiculturalism expresses the essence of a modern, liberal society. For others, it has helped create an anxious, fragmented nation.