In recent years diversity in developed liberal democracies has deeply increased. Indeed, in European countries, as in America or in Australia many migrants came to work. Whereas the first migration movements happened within Western countries (e.g. many Italians and Poles came to France to work in the mines), new migrants arriving from the 1950s were mainly from other continents, generally coming from former colonies of Western countries. Contrary to the first wave of migrants, those one are marked by very different cultures, way of life and religion. For example, Great Britain welcomed Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs coming from its former colonies, India and Pakistan. As a result, developed liberal democracies had to find political responses to address this diversity and in particular the religious diversity. Each country adopted its own model and strategy. In this context, the discourse of multiculturalism has focused the intention of many politicians. As Radtke notices, multiculturalism is a diffused concept that has traveled the world over from its North American origins in Canada and the United States in the early 1970s, to Western and eventually Eastern Europe, and to Australia and India (Radtke, 2001).
[...] However, this model put serious limits to the plain expression of religious diversity, since this can only be expressed in the private sphere. As a result a purely assimilationist state should not be recommended to deal with religious diversity. Multiculturalism is distinct from the assimilationist model because it decouples the concepts of nation and state, and openly admits that the state in question is not ethnically homogeneous. Contrary to the assimilationist model, multiculturalism accepts that each individual is able to access state institutions without having to hide or deny his religious identity. [...]
[...] As a result, developed states have to respond to many challenges coming from the diversity (climate of suspicion, intolerance, social cohesion To what extent multiculturalism has been a good way to address religious diversity until the recent years? Multiculturalism an adequate address to the issue of religious diversity A. Origin, definition and goals of multiculturalism Multiculturalism, both as an ideology and as a political and educational program has arisen in North America in the 1980s. It took different forms in the US and in Canada. [...]
[...] Kymlicka underlines the importance of having ‘intercultural citizen' to achieve an effective social cohesion in developed countries. What is an intercultural citizen, what sorts of beliefs, habits and virtues would an intercultural citizen possess and use when dealing with diversity? From Kymlicka point of view, the first point is that the intercultural citizens have to accept the three rules of what is for him a multicultural state: the acceptance that the state belongs equally to all citizens, the acceptance that minorities can access to state institutions and act as full and equal citizens in political life, without having to hide or deny their ethno cultural identity and that recognition of eventual historic injustices that was done to minority/non-dominant groups by older policies of assimilation and exclusion. [...]
[...] Necessity of local active policies to deal with diversity What has been deeply criticised in multiculturalism was a laissez- faire approach which led to the prescription for a de facto apartheid (Community Cohesion p. 9-12). Important is also to work at a shared conception of nationhood by adopting local active policies recognizing religious diversity but also promoting ‘social mixity' (from the French expression ‘mixité sociale' which underlines the necessity for people from diverse communities to mix together, to know each other and decrease the fears of each other). [...]
[...] Nevertheless, it is clear that if the institutions of the liberal developed democracies have really progressed in the recognition of religion diversity, progress at the level of the lived experience of inter-group relations remained to be achieved. Indeed as Kymlicka explains: The state has made itself accessible to all citizens, and affirms the important contribution that each group makes to the larger society. But from the point of view of individuals, the presence of other groups is rarely experienced as enriching. [...]
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