In a widely publicised speech Wednesday 23rd April 2014, former UK PM Tony Blair has declared that Western leaders should “elevate the issue of religious extremism to the top of the agenda”.
One could ask: ‘Why address a man who has the blood of over 100, 000 Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan on his hands? Why take seriously a man who called it wrong on Iraq’s WMD and repeatedly retrospectively changes his justification for war? A man who backed two losing horses in Gaddafi and Mubarak? A man who presided over Britain’s policies leading up to the greatest financial crisis of the past 100 years? A man who changed his religion yet did not announce it fearing it would hurt his political career?’
The answer is – he may have repeatedly called it wrong but when he did so it cost the lives of many. Moreover, he says what policy makers on both sides of the Atlantic think, but cannot say for political reasons.
In Blair’s view, the battle of ideas with Islam is now of greater significance than the struggle over Ukraine currently embroiling the European Union, the U.S. and Russia. He sees it as of greater importance than the economic crisis, human rights abuses and regional conflicts involving Japan, China and Western nations more generally. He warned Western leaders they must put aside their differences with Russia over Ukraine to focus on the threat of Islamic extremism saying that powerful nations must “take sides” and back “open-minded” groups. He said they must co-operate with other countries – “in particular, Russia and China” – regardless of “other differences”.
In short, Blair would rather see the West support Putin’s oppression of Muslims within Russia and in the Caucasus, China’s repression in Xinjiang and every monarch and dictator in the Arab world, rather than allow the Muslim world to be liberated from 100 years of subjugation.
The failure of Western interests to secure a new puppet regime for a post-Assad Syria figures highly in Blair’s narrative – telling the BBC ahead of his speech that the West would pay a “very heavy price” for not intervening in Syria (intervention for a puppet regime, not for humanitarian reasons). He said the opportunity to create “an optimistic solution” had been missed with theMiddle East as a whole “in turmoil” because of the conflicts generated by radical Islam. Libya is in “chaos”, he says, “and a mess that is destabilising everywhere around it”, and Syria is an “unmitigated disaster”
Perhaps the most desperate notion of Blair is to misrepresent the turmoil and revolution of the past years as a “very clear and unambiguous struggle (a titanic struggle): between those with a modern view of the Middle East, one of pluralistic societies and open economies, where the attitudes and patterns of globalisation are embraced; and, on the other side, those who want to impose an ideology born out of a belief that there is one proper religion and one proper view of it, and that this view should, exclusively, determine the nature of society and the political economy. We might call this latter perspective an ‘Islamist’ view, though one of the frustrating things about this debate is the inadequacy of the terminology and the tendency for any short hand to be capable of misinterpretation, so that you can appear to elide those who support the Islamist ideology with all Muslims”.
Blair and his like have struggled for many decades to put the right spin on an argument to try and divide the world’s Muslims. From fundamentalists, to violent extremists, to radical Islam, and now Islamists versus his secularly characterised “moderate”, and a new category, the “open minded” – yet he still fails to hide his overt hatred for Islam in his words:
“Consider this absurdity: that we spend billions of dollars on security arrangements and on defence to protect ourselves against the consequences of an ideology that is being advocated in the formal and informal school systems and in civic institutions of the very countries with whom we have intimate security and defence relationships”.
It is of course a great disappointment to Blair that Islam, rather than muscular (violent) liberal secularism is taught in Muslim schools and institutions in Muslim corners of the world, yet hardly surprising.
What Blair does not tell the world is that the Islamic Revival that is occurring across the Muslim world – opposed and attacked by tyrants, dictators and corrupt democrats who all prefer to serve colonial backers – is for the liberation of the people from slavery, tyranny and colonialism. It is for a liberation of the mind from slavery to secular liberal ideas which are being imposed from outside.
By addressing the ‘central importance’ of the Middle East as the site of a large amount of the world’s oil and the site of the Zionist occupation of Palestine, he stated that he does not wish to see the end of the disastrous project started by Lloyd-George, Balfour and others a century ago.
For Muslims, the Khilafah (Caliphate) that Blair so wants to prevent – which existed until the last century of chaos and insecurity – was based upon their Islamic beliefs, is part of their history, and the source of their unity and strength.
Its return is inevitable and will prove Blair wrong yet again, insha’Allah.