A unified national culture implies a proudly-held sovereign nation, does it not? An unfettered sovereignty has, however, gone the way of the ‘dodo’ bird (non-existent). Having created their nations based on consanguinity (blood or genes), a shared culture (included a language), and a defined territory, European colonialism ran rampant in splitting trial boundaries all over the globe. This was in order to protect their respective spheres of interest.
Then the creation of the U.N. and its hydra-headed agencies (with their non-legally binding Conventions), and followed by trade agreements, a bonding unified national culture has to survive as best as it can. That is the external reality.
There can also be (will be?) home-grown blemishes on a national culture. In Australia, the ‘founding fathers’ permitted (predominantly) Irish Roman Catholics to establish and control their own schools. I have been told reliably that school children daily manifested that chasm representing sectarian religious prejudice. Even at the end of the twentieth century, I heard comments displaying this bilateral disdain from retirees.
A more recent blemish has come from some Islamicist immigrants (how were they selected?) Unlike most of our Muslim entrants, who adapt to the institutions, behavioural practices, and social mores of the nation they chose to enter, some seek sharia law. Perhaps, as I wrote sardonically in an anthology published by the Multicultural Writers Association of Australia, the proponents of this claim requiring Australia to adapt to the immigrant “miss the sharia law they never had.” Strangely, my article was then mentioned in a Malaysian journal.
As well, does suburban Australia experience strong sand-storms (up to head-height), thereby requiring full body-cover? Should multiculturalism policy be viewed as partly responsible for the claim by some immigrants that they have a right to practise in Australia all the cultural practices they imported from tribally-controlled territories, when such practices are not part of, or anathema to, a Western cultural milieu?
I instance clitoridectomy, child marriages, multiple wives, instant divorce available to the whim of husbands, a ‘walking tent’ on suburban streets, and niqab-wearing drivers of motor cars on busy city streets.
Do the proponents of such cultural practices see themselves as only campers in Australia, rather than adapted and integrated citizens? Will they then reject Western cultural values such as official welfare and other public handouts in order not to taint their cultural autonomy?
The good news is that the great majority of Muslims, like immigrants of other faiths, adapt their behaviour to prevailing practices amongst an evolving population. I observed all this in my role as Chief Ethnic Affairs Officer for the Department of Immigration & Ethnic Affairs in the State of Victoria.
Cultures too evolve! And that happens also in nations whose then cultures are sought by some immigrants to be imposed onto the nation in which they chose to live. An integrated nation represents the future!