IT'S TIME to stop protecting aspects of any culture that abuses human rights, a leading broadcaster told a Huddersfield audience.
And it was time the diverse communities of the UK started agreeing shared and common values, said Yasmin Alibhai-Brown at a public lecture attended by more than 100 people at the University of Huddersfield.
Known for her outspoken views, the Ugandan-Asian columnist and documentary film producer said that traditional notions of multicultural diversity and some forms of anti- racism had had their day and were now becoming part of the problem.
Rather than encouraging acceptance and tolerance of different cultures, they often served to entrench unacceptable views and behaviour within both the ethnic minority and white majority communities.
"We need to stop respecting culture - that's the most provocative thing I'm going to say tonight," she said.
"There are wonderful things in every culture but all of us have things we need to get rid of.
"We need to look long and hard at our own cultures and be prepared to ditch those aspects that are unacceptable or which lead to abuses of human rights.
"I love English culture - I am married to an Englishman - but there are aspects of it which are abhorrent - the growing `yob culture', for instance, and aspects of our behaviour abroad.
"Equally, there are aspects of my own Muslim and East African Asian culture that I would be happy to see the back of."
Khalid Hussain of the Kirklees Race Relations Council called for tougher legislation to protect the various faith communities.
He warned that the UK had not developed a `psychological framework' for dealing with issues of race and diversity even though `physical frameworks' were often in place.
Yasmin and Khalid were joined by Professor Jim McAuley, a sociologist from the University of Huddersfield for a question-and-answer session chaired by the University's vice-chancellor, Prof John Tarrant.