Al-Hujurat (The Chambers) - Chapter 49: Verse 13
"O humanity! We [God] have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another. Verily, the most honourable of you in the sight of God is the one who is most righteous. Verily, God knows and is aware of all."
For Muslims the concept of multiculturalism is hardly new, for the core values of Muslim faith and lifestyle are inherently and historically multicultural. The Quran frequently addresses this reality in verses such as this one.
This verse emphasizes that all people have a natural ability to know each other, suggesting a universal tendency towards multiculturalism by stressing its importance to all humanity. The phrase made you into nations and tribes affirms the essence of a multicultural society. And in the best of situations multiculturalism can achieve its potential to deliver information and knowledge to diverse citizens in a manner that is always sensitive to their religious and cultural backgrounds, while sharing the attributes of others.
The message of the verse aptly conveys the concept of knowing others - including others unlike ourselves - and understanding them as a foundation for engagement; this consequently nurtures the growth and progress of individuals and the societies in which they live. Addressing the fact of religious diversity, the same verse also points out that by first understanding, appreciating, and respecting our similarities, we can grow naturally to embrace one another's differences as well.
"Canadian Islam: Belonging and Loyalty" - Zijad Delic, pp. 89, 90