Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Thursday, December 13th, 2018

Bringing Different Cultures Closer!

Globalization, frequent movement of the people across the continents and modern and efficient ways of communications and transportation have brought human beings together, but they have not been able to bring them closer. The different cultures and communities that live together not always result into a multicultural society with rich traditions and tolerance for one another. Often, it has been observed that different people have come in confrontation with one another and they have given rise to disorder and disturbances.
This can be found in today’s European society. Though many of them have achieved a considerable stability and development, and some of them claim to be multicultural societies with different people living together in peace and tranquility, there are evident problems of alienation within certain communities. Currently, the immigrants, mostly Muslims, are thought to be suffering from the same. Few among them have even created serious problems for some of the countries, as they have not been able to own those cultures and have strived to show their hatred through violent means.
Some of the current attacks in European countries, particularly in Paris and now in Belgium, show how some of the extremist Muslims, who claim to belong to Islamic State (IS), behave in the societies that they had opted to live in because of feeling of insecurity in their own countries.
This has also raised serious questions for the flow of refugees in European countries and their acceptability. Few thinkers believe that the refugees may pose serious threats to European countries and may push them towards instability and insecurity. However, this issue has been pulled to its extreme by involving the question of the flow of the refugees. There are only few terrorists who penetrate along with the refugees. This has to do with the concerned governments and authorities; they have to be ready for such attacks as today the whole world is facing the issue of terrorism, not some of the European countries alone.
This issue can also be discussed within the broader perspective of multiculturalism and globalization. The concept of multiculturalism has not been able to implement itself thoroughly in the world. The multiculturalism has not been able to form a global ethics or a global code of conduct. It has been lost somewhere in cultural relativism. The cultures or the negatives in the cultures are accepted with the claims of cultural relativism. If the same inclination towards cultural relativism is maintained it would be very difficult for today’s world to form common values, laws or systems, which are very necessary to avoid clashes among the cultures and civilizations. Unfortunately, our today’s world is moving right towards the same kind of clashes.
On the other hand this is going to strengthen the phenomenon of ethnocentrism. As the concept of ethnocentrism says that it is judging another culture solely by the values and standards of one’s own culture, the ethnocentric individual will judge other groups relative to his or her own particular ethnic group or culture, especially with concern to language, behavior, customs, and religion. These ethnic distinctions and subdivisions serve to define each ethnicity’s unique cultural identity. Ethnocentrism may be overt or subtle, and while it is considered a natural proclivity of human psychology, it has developed a generally negative connotation.
Anthropological studies reveal that People born into a particular culture that grow up absorbing the values and behaviors of the culture will develop a worldview that considers their culture to be the norm. If people then experience other cultures that have different values and normal behaviors, they will find that the thought patterns appropriate to their birth culture and the meanings their birth culture attaches to behaviors are not appropriate for the new cultures. However, since people are accustomed to their birth culture, it can be difficult for them to see the behaviors of people from a different culture from the viewpoint of that culture rather than from their own.
It is really fine that the different cultures in the world sustain their identity and even be proud of their historical and cultural backgrounds but they are never entitled to subjugate and devalue others cultures and values. Nonetheless, when there is the discussion of a multicultural society, there are some necessary safeguards against ethnocentrism and cultural relativism. In a multicultural society, there is a requirement of common values that do not harass human beings and violate their rights, even if the same is suggested in a particular culture.
The developed countries of the world today experience a process of multiculturalism, wherein they are facing the problems generated by extreme ethnocentrism and cultural relativism.
However, none should substitute multiculturalism as it is the evolution human beings have made in their social lives. Definitely, it is time consuming and yet there is a long way to go to achieve it. For the time being states marked with multiculturalism have to introduce hard and fast rules and vigilant checks against any sort of attempt to strengthen violation of it. However, the developed nations of the world must never strive to go against it, not because the deprived nations benefit from it but because it is favorable for all the human beings. Further, this will prove them more evolved.