A contribution to British society

1st September 1995 at 01:00
Your correspondent W. Owen Cole (TES, August 4) criticises Dr Nick Tate's absence of respect for Oriental cultures and speaks of their contribution to the "mix which is British".

I must confess that neither am I impressed by what I have seen of the cultures of the ethnic minorities.

From time to time, I have read how our society has been "enriched" by these Oriental cultures, but I have not yet seen any evidence of this, although there is ample opportunity in our towns and cities for seeing how the Asians live.

Indian food is certainly popular now, but Hindu art, drama, music, literature, or architecture?

What impact have these made upon us?

And when did you last read a novel by a Muslim author, see an exhibition of paintings by a Muslim artist or attend a concert of Islamic music?

The Ayatollah Khomeini thought that music made the brain "inactive and frivolous", so there is unlikely to be an Iranian Mozart or Bach.

As for fashion, the sari is a hopelessly impractical (albeit colourful) garment for everyday use, and few fashion-conscious women would want to wear the chador or the shalwar kameez.

Have arranged marriages taken on, or extended families living together? No.

Has the Islamic attitude to women influenced us?

Well, I do not see British wives walking dutifully behind their husbands in the street, or taking a back seat in family decision making, so just how have Oriental cultures "enriched" our society?

Perhaps someone can tell me.

MICHAEL GROVES

4 Leyburn Grove Shipley West Yorkshire

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