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When I visited Canada in early 2007, my one-week trip coincided with a flurry of media stories about potential or actual cultural conflict, mainly involving Muslims (Hérouxville resolution, whether hijab-wearing footballers could play on school teams and so on). As the editor of a London-based current affairs monthly – Prospect magazine – which has published a fair amount about such conflicts in Britain, this made me feel on familiar territory. In fact, I was in Canada because the High Commission in London had kindly sent me to talk to people about the state of Canadian multiculturalism. The timing was good – people were talking about little else.

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