Central to the beliefs of the committed multi-culturalist is the notion that no one culture can be superior to another. All are to be equally valued, cherished, celebrated, etc. At the same time, most multi-culturalists will agree with the rest of us that there are such things as universal rights and values, that is to say, rights to which everyone is entitled. Here is where it's possible to have a little bit of fun.
Over drinks with a friend and colleague who is, shall we say, a bit to my left in political thought, I posed this question to him: Do you believe it's possible for one culture to be superior to another? Not just to believe it's superior, but to actually and objectively be superior? His answer was a quick, emphatic and unequivocal "no".
I then asked him if he believed in universal values, rights to which all human beings were entitled. He quickly answered "yes", then saw the trap. He gave a sort of queasy smile and said, "See, now you've worked me into a corner."
Indeed I had. If one believes, for example, that all people have the right to worship or not worship as they see fit and that women have the same rights as men, how can one believe that Saudi culture is equal to Western cultures? The straight answer is that you can't, at least not without being a hypocrite. Kind of makes that "rich tapestry of interwoven cultures" nonsense look a little threadbare, doesn't it?
Of course, there was no way he was going to climb down from his "all cultures are equal" hobby horse, but at the same time he wasn't about to argue against the notion of certain rights being applicable to all people. So in the interests of continued friendship I let him off the hook by changing the subject. But we'll get back to it, I'm sure.