This letter appears in today's Leicester Mercury:
Take a long, hard look in the mirror
I was dismayed to read the letter from T Green ("I no longer feel at home in my city", Mailbox, November 22), one of several recent letters and online comments from people jumping on the Clarissa Dickson Wright bandwagon.
Thankfully, I have also seen more sensible letters from Ann Collins and Eddie Sentance, among others, reflecting the true face of Leicester people and the common decency and human compassion that most of us share.
Firstly, in response to T Green, I hate to break it to you, but you appear to be suffering from a bout of xenophobia.
Take two visits with friends to an Indian restaurant and perhaps a place of worship, followed by a long, hard look in the mirror.
If symptoms persist, contact your nearest library and try reading a few good books. Before long, you will discover that humans of different ethnicity are biologically identical and that different cultures – like languages – are not something to be afraid of, but something to be embraced.
You have to make a bit of an effort in order to understand something that's a tad different to what you're used to. Good luck with your recovery!
As for poor Clarissa Dickson Wright, one of the things she said in her widely-reported remarks was that she once got lost in a part of Leicester and none of the Muslim men would talk to her.
Well, to be honest, I'm not Muslim myself but if fox-hunting enthusiast Clarissa Dickson Wright came barrelling towards me on a Leicester side street, I would probably ignore her too.
On a serious note, I did find her comments about Leicester to be both idiotic and exaggerated.
But it was one particular phrase that really caught my attention, where she casually questioned whether or not multi-culturalism works.
Now, of course, I don't have enough column inches here to run through all the reasoned arguments as to why multi-culturalism does work, has worked and will continue to work in the future. (Or for that matter to try to give Clarissa Dickson Wright and all her fans a much-needed education).
But for the sake of brevity I will simply say this: St George was an Arab, the royal family is German, our national dish is Indian and some of our most gifted Olympians are of African descent.
Questioning multi-culturalism is akin to questioning evolution – both are part and parcel of the human story.
The sooner we accept that and move on to creating for ourselves a life of purpose and fulfilment in this increasingly globalised society, the better off we'll be.
Sundip Meghani, Leicester city councillor