May 2009 - Issue 422

It was all about equality and respect – values few would have a problem with. So just when did multiculturalism become a dirty word? Was it about the same time as the ideas of respecting difference and embracing diversity began to be overtaken in the public mind by shrill religious fundamentalism and hectoring traditionalists?

This month’s NI sees a vibrant selection of contributors tackling these questions: British and Canadian cultural commentators Yasmin Alibhai-Brown and Haroon Siddiqui; Indian journalist Shoma Chaudhury who has met the country’s leading hate-mongers; and the Mauritian novelist Lindsey Collen, who looks behind her island nation’s image as a multicultural haven.

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