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Last Updated: Tuesday, 22 November 2005, 10:51 GMT
English 'should reclaim identity'
Dr John Sentamu
Dr Sentamu says he has a passion for the English culture
Multiculturalism has left the English embarrassed about celebrating their true national identity, Britain's first black archbishop has said.

Dr John Sentamu, who will be enthroned as Archbishop of York next week, said a failure to rediscover English culture would fuel greater political extremism.

"England is the culture I have lived in, I have loved," the Ugandan-born cleric told The Times newspaper.

He called for the English to properly mark St George's Day on 23 April.

"I speak as a foreigner really," he told the newspaper.

"The English are somehow embarrassed about some of the good things they have done.

Multiculturalism has seemed to imply, wrongly for me, 'Let other cultures be allowed to express themselves but do not let the majority culture at all tell us its glories, its struggles, its joys, its pains
Dr John Sentamu

"They have done some terrible things but not all the Empire was a bad idea."

Born in Uganda, Dr Sentamu said he would not be where he was today were it not for the British Empire and the English teachers and missionaries who worked in Africa.

"Because the Empire is gone, there is almost a sense in which there is not a big idea that drives this nation," he went on.

Dr John Sentamu and Archbishop Rowan Williams
Dr Sentamu said he would work "in partnership" with Dr Williams

"What is it to be English? It is a very serious question. When you ask a lot of people in this country they are very vague.

"Multiculturalism has seemed to imply, wrongly for me, 'Let other cultures be allowed to express themselves but do not let the majority culture at all tell us its glories, its struggles, its joys, its pains'".

Dr Sentamu, who fled Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in 1974, praised English culture, saying it had given the world parliamentary democracy.

"It is a place that has allowed reason to be at the heart of all these things, that has allowed genuine dissent without resort to violence, that has allowed the fantastic music that we experience in our culture," he said.

Dr Sentamu is due to be enthroned at York Minster next Wednesday as the second most powerful clergyman in the Church of England after the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams.




SEE ALSO:
Hate mail sent to new archbishop
21 Oct 05 |  North Yorkshire
New Archbishop of York appointed
17 Jun 05 |  England


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