Religious Radicalism in a Multicultural World

'Tosin Adeoti
2 min readFeb 17, 2024

I recently learned that one of the most fundamentally religious individuals I know has relocated to Ireland.

This prompted me to contemplate one of the challenges Western nations face: how to mitigate religious extremism, particularly in an era where multiculturalism and tolerance are celebrated.

This brought to mind the events of September 2022 in Leicester, England, which resulted in injuries to 25 police officers and the arrest of at least 47 people.

The conflict primarily involved Hindus and Muslims of predominantly Indian descent. The Hindus marched into a “Muslim area,” chanting slogans such as “Jai Shree Ram” (“Victory to Lord Rama”), in response to what they perceived as anti-Hindu attacks in previous weeks. This phrase, used by militants in India, is a rallying cry for campaigns of intimidation and violence against minorities, particularly Muslims.

A skirmish ensued, with several individuals seen bleeding and chaos spilling over into local businesses. The following day, a crowd of Muslim men attempted their own march, shouting “Allahu Akbar” in front of a line of police. The disorder spread to other cities before being contained, leaving many police officers injured and protesters nursing their wounds.

Why Leicester? Partly due to its multiculturalism. With a population of around 370,000, Leicester boasts a diverse demographic — 23.5% Muslim, 17.9% Hindu, with the majority having Indian heritage. The city, described as “super-diverse” by sociologists, became one of the first British cities with a non-white majority after the 2021 census.

Another aspect that surprised many was the reactions of governments and diplomats to the incident. The Indian High Commission in London released a strongly worded statement condemning “violence against the Indian community in Leicester and the vandalism of premises and symbols of Hindu religion.” Pakistan, in response, issued its own statement condemning the “systematic campaign of violence and intimidation against Muslims in the area.”

Back in India, demonstrations were held under the banner “UK Save Hindus,” and Indian newspapers reported on “communal clashes” in the UK, with the hashtag #HindusUnderAttack trending on Twitter. India’s foreign affairs minister even raised the issue with the UK government.

Multiculturalism undoubtedly has its benefits, but it also brings a diversity of beliefs that may threaten the unity of peoples who sought a better life in their new countries.

Ultimately, the strategies adopted by Western nations, including Germany, Denmark, and Canada, where such religious conflicts have arisen in recent times, in harnessing the positives of multiculturalism while addressing its challenges will shape their future.

I wish Ireland the best of luck in managing the latest religious fanatic they have welcomed.

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