Tony Blair attacks Islam to absolve his wars from any responsibility for the Woolwich killing

Acknowledging no connection with his wars, Blair advocates more war, against Syria and Iran, and portrays opposition to him and his policies in terms of a 'clash of civilisations'.


Humility is supposed to be a Christian virtue, but it is one that has always evaded Tony Blair. Even so it was something of a shock to see his latest venture into print in the Mail on Sunday this week over the question of the Woolwich murder and Islam.

This article, judging by the comments beneath it, was too much for even the Mail’s conservative readers to stomach. Blair’s arrogant and pompous self-justification allows no element of regret for the wars into which he plunged millions of people, or for the instability in much of the Middle East and south Asia that his policies have helped create.

Blair’s thesis is that ‘there is a problem within Islam -- from the adherents of an ideology that is a strain within Islam. And we have to put it on the table and be honest about it.’

He continues, ‘I’m afraid this strain is not the province of a few extremists. It has at its heart a view about religion and about the interaction between religion and politics that is not compatible with pluralistic, liberal, open-minded societies.’

The world of the Middle East according to Blair is divided into two sorts of Muslims:

‘On the one side, there are Islamists who have this exclusivist and reactionary world view. They are a significant minority, loud and well organised. On the other are the modern-minded, those who hated the old oppression by corrupt dictators and who hate the new oppression by religious fanatics.’

To unpack this: Blair is saying that there are fanatical and extremist Muslims, who are driven to commit acts like the murder of Lee Rigby through ideological hatred of ‘western values’, and who are given support and succour from much larger groups of Muslims who really should know better and who should embrace pluralistic and liberal values as exemplified by…Tony Blair.

Except that isn’t how it looks to millions of people. The people of the Middle East and Afghanistan might be forgiven for asking which pluralistic and liberal values brought them the torture at Abu Ghraib, the use of depleted uranium in Iraq, the bombing of women and children in Afghanistan. They might wonder why when they ‘hated the old oppression by corrupt dictators’ they received no backing from the open minded Tony Blair or his fellow warmongers.

They might even wonder whether the spreading of illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank and Jerusalem is not an example of Jewish extremism, the whole Project for the New American century an example of Christian fundamentalism, or the massacres of Muslims Rohinga in Burma an example of Buddhist extremism?

Above all, we are all entitled to wonder just what deficiency in Blair’s mental image of the world allows him to consider that he has anything to contribute on this question? He has launched two major wars that are generally acknowledged to have been failures in their own terms and to have increased the likelihood of terrorism around the world. He lied in order to go to war in Iraq and will be the subject of criticism when the long delayed Chilcot report comes out.

The war was illegal under international law and in any fair society he would now be facing trial at The Hague, not posing as envoy for peace in the Middle East.

Rather than acknowledge any of this Blair’s brass neck leads him to advocate further wars, now against Syria and Iran, and to pose any opposition to him and his policies in terms of a ‘clash of civilisations’.

He talks about ideology driving terrorist attacks, but ignores his own dangerous ideology: the promotion of neo liberal free markets, the support for wars which protect those markets, and the defence of growing levels of inequality and misery caused by these policies.

The wars that he has done so much to promote have fuelled attacks on Muslims and a wave of Islamophobia, recently exacerbated by the events in Woolwich. Blair’s response? To attack Islam as a means of absolving his wars from any connection or responsibility. How much worse can he get?

Source: Stop the War Coalition

Tags: tony-blair

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