Chief Rabbi: multiculturalism has 'had its day'

By Zoe Winograd, August 19, 2013
British Prime Minister David Cameron and Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

British Prime Minister David Cameron and Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks has said that multi-culturalism in the UK has “had its day” and has criticised the government for not doing enough to encourage marriage.

In an interview with The Times, he said that multiculturalism had caused "segregation and inward-looking communities.

The chief rabbi, who retires next month after 22 years at his post, likened multicultural society to empty hotel. He said: "It doesn't belong to anyone, we've each got our own room and so long as we don't disturb the neighbours we can do whatever we like.”

Lord Sacks acknowledged that the Islamic communities may have more trouble assimilating. "We've had 26 centuries of experience which most Muslims haven't," he said, "The norm was for Muslims to live under a Muslim jurisdiction and the norm since the destruction of the first temple was for Jews to live under a non-Jewish jurisdiction."

Lord Sacks said that Prime Minister David Cameron should do more to support mothers at home and offer tax incentives to mar ried couples . "I think the government has not done enough," he said.

"[The government] should certainly recognise marriage in the tax system, it should certainly give more support to mothers who stay at home or for childcare provision," he said.

It is believed Lord Sacks’ comments may reignite ministerial debates on the topic. Chancellor George Osborne has already guaranteed a tax break for married couples despite the opposition within the coalition.

Last updated: 11:47am, August 19 2013