Benjamin Zephaniah drew an analogy of The British to that of a recipe which I think captures London perfectly.
'Add some unity, understanding, and respect for the future, serve with justice, and enjoy.'
London prides itself on its rich cultural heritage, its diversity that enables the coming together of different cultures and communities, an opportunity for people from all backgrounds to share and experience each other's cultures.
However, an issue concerning Islamophobia and the threat of terrorism has come to undermine this belief that communities of different races, religions and ethnicities can come together harmoniously.
According to Nigel Farage,
'multiculturalism has failed Britain, failed France, and in reality failed every country it has been implemented in' and that multiculturalism is a 'political correctness experiment which has backfired on our countries.'
I believe he is wrong. Multiculturalism has and always will be a part of the diasporic London landscape, a benefit to the innovative and economic prospects of this country.
Lord Parekh comments on the benefits of a
'dialogue between different cultures', that it allows 'an enriching access to new visions of the good life.'
He then displaces Farage's comments of multiculturalism being a 'ghettoisation' of communities by saying that
'it is not about shutting oneself up in a communal or cultural ghetto and leading a segregated and self-contained life', but about 'opening up oneself to others and learning from their insights and criticisms and growing as a result into a richer and more tolerant culture.'
Generations upon generations have seen London blossom into this melting pot, contributing to the dialogue of London's history and landscape. Different stories and experiences arisen from festivals, exhibitions and other cultural events have allowed this melting pot to shape its overall identity.
Yet recent events in Paris caused by extremists have led to a fear that can potentially damage the belief that a multicultural London can get along and that fear is Islamophobia.
To counteract this fear, it is important to explore the dialogue of British Muslims and their experiences as a community in London, about a religion that deplores acts of terrorism and the efforts being made to educate young people in the right way.
Sajid Javid, Secretary of State for Culture said:
'Muslim communities face a special burden to help to track down Islamist extremists,'
but this goes for all communities looking to expose extremism and terrorism.
London must look at community programs that dissuade young people away from crime and a radical ideology that has no relation to faith or civilised society.
To be British is to be multicultural and accept inclusion within British society. Furthermore, stronger leadership is needed within communities to undermine extremism and promote change and integration into the wider London community.
London is ever changing, but its identity never changes, it remains the collective of multiple identities which allows the freedom of people to live and practice their beliefs.
As Benjamin Zephaniah said:
'All the ingredients are equally important. Treating one ingredient better than another will leave a bitter unpleasant taste.'