Extremist religion is at root of 21st-century wars, says Tony Blair


Tony Blair has reignited debate about the west’s response to terrorism with a call on governments to recognise that religious extremism has become the biggest source of conflict around the world.

Referring to wars and violent confrontations from Syria to Nigeria and the Philippines, Blair, writing in the Observer, argues that “there is one thing self-evidently in common: the acts of terrorism are perpetrated by people motivated by an abuse of religion. It is a perversion of faith.”

Identifying religious extremism as an ever more dangerous phenomenon, the spread of which is easier in an online age, he says: “The battles of this century are less likely to be the product of extreme political ideology, like those of the 20th century – but they could easily be fought around the questions of cultural or religious difference.”


Here is the editorial:

Religious difference, not ideology, will fuel this century’s epic battles

The last weeks have seen a ghastly roll call of terror attacks in the obvious places: Syria, Libya, Iraq and Lebanon, as well as Egypt, Yemen, Tunisia and Pakistan. Also suffering are places where we have only in recent years seen such violence: Nigeria, and in many parts of central Africa, in Russia and across central Asia, and in Burma, Thailand and the Philippines. We can either see all of these acts of killing as separate – produced by various political contexts – or we can start to see the clear common theme and start to produce a genuine global strategy to deal with it.

The fact is that, though of course there are individual grievances or reasons for the violence in each country, there is one thing self-evidently in common: the acts of terrorism are perpetrated by people motivated by an abuse of religion. It is a perversion of faith. But there is no doubt that those who commit the violence often do so by reference to their faith and the sectarian nature of the conflict is a sectarianism based on religion. There is no doubt either that this phenomenon is growing, not abating.

We have to be prepared to take the security measures necessary for our immediate protection. Since 9/11, the cost of those measures, and their burden, has been huge. However, security action alone, even military action, will not deal with the root cause. This extremism comes from a source. It is not innate. It is taught. It is taught sometimes in the formal education system; sometimes in the informal religious schools; sometimes in places of worship and it is promoted by a vast network of internet communications.

Read the rest:


Extremist religion? The Amish?


This is certainly not true of Buddhism, Christianity, Taoism, Confucianism or Judaism. It is not the case for Hinduism either, although there has been enough ugly incidents with Hindu nationalism so that the idea might ring a bell.

That leaves the one obvious religion where this kind of statement by Tony Blair carries some weight.

It is rather ironic that Islam in the article cannot even be called out by name until it is pointed out that Muslims in some cases are the victims of the violence against them.


Sri Lankan Tamils would like a word with you (Buddhist monks urged on government brutality)

The Indian government regarding Nagaland would like a word with you (terrorism by Baptists),

Philosophy not religion

Is a philosophy, not a religion

The girls who got splashed with acid by Hasidic Jews would like a word with you, as would the Palestinians being attacked by fanatic settlers in the West Bank such as Bat Ayin

Sikhs would like a word with you

Tokyo subway sarin gas victims would like to talk to you about Aum Shinrikyo

I think it is unfair to judge Islam based on* less than one hundredth of one percent* of its members


YANGON, Myanmar — Myanmar’s government denied Friday that security forces and a Buddhist mob attacked Muslims in an isolated, strife-torn corner of the country this week. A rights group said more than a dozen people may have been killed and that hundreds of people have fled their homes.

The United States and Britain called on the government to investigate and to hold those responsible accountable.


Everyone deserves to live in peace.


Sad, but true. And didn’t Buddhists pull some tricks in South Vietnam as well?

The Indian government regarding Nagaland would like a word with you (terrorism by Baptists)

Let’s not forget the abominable Joseph Kony, his “Lord’s Resistance Army”, and the American Evangelicals who act as his apologists.

Is a philosophy, not a religion

One could argue that the Confucian ethos survives, albeit in distorted form, in the excesses of Chinese Communism (which is quite different from Soviet communism.)

The girls who got splashed with acid by Hasidic Jews would like a word with you, as would the Palestinians being attacked by fanatic settlers in the West Bank such as Bat Ayin

The former is despicable extremism, but is unlikely to lead to any wars; the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a much more complex issue in which Muslims are the primary aggressors.

Sikhs would like a word with you

As well as those affected by the Malegaon blasts (a Hindu extremist group was found guilty), Christians in Orissa, vandalized churches in Karnataka, Muslims in Gujarat - whoever claimed Hinduism = tolerance clearly hasn’t lived in some parts of India. Hindu-Muslim conflict still exists (recent riots in Muzaffarnagar, for example) and has the potential to escalate to a civil war, particularly if a divisive national leader comes to power.

Tokyo subway sarin gas victims would like to talk to you about Aum Shinrikyo

Again, a horrendous act, but unlikely to escalate into a war.

I think it is unfair to judge Islam based on* less than one hundredth of one percent* of its members

I agree with you, but it’s a reality that Islam (or at least its current avatar) is responsible for actual wars and genocides, which none of the other religions come even vaguely close to.

HOWEVER: If you count secularism as a religion and abortion as genocide, then Islam comes a distant second.


Small potatoes.
Hardly anything to get alarmed about.
If scary Baptists are the worse that the twenty first century has to offer us, I think that we have very little to worry about.

Tony Blair wasn’t judging Islam though.
It was all he could do to even say the word. If he was any more fervent in raising the alarm bells, he would have had to have blamed it all on a Coptic internet film maker.


Of course, and there are several others in India, Anders Behring Breivik called himself a Christian crusader,

Confucianism still isn’t a religion. “Communism with Chinese characteristics” bears a striking resemblance to Lenin’s New Economic Policy only done much better.

Actually things like Bat Ayin are somewhat seperate as those extremists feel the Israeli government isn’t doing enough to drive the Palestinians out of the West Bank. Eden Natan-Zada was explicitly condemned by (Israeli) Prime Minister Ariel Sharon as a Jewish terrorist.

And then of course there are the Maoists in India

I was pointing out that Shintoist were very much capable of terrorism.

A hundred thousand non-Christians were cleansed in Manipur alone. Christianity’s hands are hardly clean in the last twenty years let alone prior to that.

Christians have had their fair share of genocide in the recent past: Herero and Nama genocide, Circassian genocide, Chechen genocide, Holocaust, the Ustaše, Srebrenica genocide…

Ethnically cleansing a hundred thousand people is pretty bad.


All the ‘small potatoes’ you served me never dealt with ethnically cleansing a hundred thousand people.


“Whatever makes you float your boat” as they say. Facts tell us that there is a large army of terrorists who claim to be performing their acts of religion when they chop off the head of a deemed enemy by screaming AliAkhbar (sp)! I don’t think they have hidden their light under a bushel. The name they give to their religion is Islam - anyone wish to deny this? How many of them are there? Too many! The propaganda that all is well and peaceful in their mosques has been pedaled ad infinitum. They prefer to store their weapons in locations of prayer or behind the bodies of women and children. (they have high civilized standards if you care to subscribe) Tony Blair is correct and can drop the “politically correct” language - the cat is out of the bag!


Many conflicts around the world are misinterpreted as being the result of religious zealousness, just because the people fighting them tend to be of differing religious backgrounds, even though religion isn’t even the point of contention. Others are tit-for-tat conflicts with barbarous acts of terrorism committed by Christians who then cry persecution when there is a response to that action while the horrific acts they commit are painted as “small potatoes” by their apologists. I hardly think the people of Uganda consider the kidnapping of 25,000 children for use as sex slaves and child soldiers by the Lord’s Resistance Army to be “small potatoes.”


I never replied that it was.
Pay attention.


The Islamists are the only religionists that have a well developed theology with claims to be the correct understanding of an ancient religion. They have a global mandate, and have believers ready, able and willing to strike from any number of countries.
They are the only violent religionists that are capable of winning elections in several countries. They have taken over countries, in both Shia and Sunni form in Iran and in Saudi Arabia respectively, with the corrupt Saudi kings making a deal with them in 1979 giving them free reign over the public morality.
They have come to power through elections as well in no less than Turkey, and have shown themselves to be sophisticated in economic matters there and capable of restraint when it comes to violence.

100 special forces from America were sufficient to knock the head off the the drug addled “religious” army that sprung out of the corruption and anarchy of Uganda, like rats out of a dump site. The whole of the American army, allied with major countries across the globe have not been able to stop the Islamists from rising up time and again in Iraq, and Afghanistan after ten years is pretty much the same bust.

The name of the religion, that which Blair cannot even name, and like minded leftist reflexively defend, is the only religion for which a case can be made that this is the threat of the next century.

Likely though, even this problem is turning out to be self-correcting, with this threat devouring itself like so many cannibal rats on an abandoned luxury liner.:slight_smile:


Islamists weren’t a problem until the US obliterated Iraq’s government. Islamists were a problem in Afghanistan because the US cut and ran after helping get the Soviets out. Noticing a pattern here?


Even if your analysis is simplistic, I do see that you are in basic agreement with Grottos contention that Islamists indeed are a problem.:thumbsup:


Ah, no.
*]7–8 April 1980 – Misgav Am hostage crisis in Misgav Am, Israel. 3 dead, 11 injured
*]27 July 1980 – Antwerp, Belgium. Syrian Palestinian Said Al Nasr threw two hand grenades into a group of Jewish children waiting for a bus. 1 dead, 20 injured.
*]29 August 1981 – 1981 Vienna synagogue attack in Vienna, Austria, was attacked by Palestinian gunmen. 2 dead, 30 wounded
*]11 November 1982 – First Tyre headquarters bombings in Tyre, Lebanon, 102 dead, 28 injured
*]18 April 1983 – The April 1983 U.S. Embassy bombing, Beirut, Lebanon by theIslamic Jihad Organization, 63 dead, 120 injured
*]23 October 1983 – 1983 Beirut barracks bombing by the Islamic Jihad Organization, that killed 241 U.S. marines, 58 French paratroopers and 6 civilians at the US and French barracks in Beirut and injured 75.
*]2 November 1983 – Second Tyre headquarters bombings in Tyre, Lebanon. 60 dead, 40 injured
*]14 June 1985 – TWA Flight 847 was an international Trans World Airlines flight, which was hijacked by members of Hezbollahand Islamic Jihad. 1 dead.
*]7 July 1989 – Tel Aviv Jerusalem bus 405 suicide attack, near Kiryat Yearim. 16 dead
*]26 February 1993 – World Trade Center bombing, in New York City. 6 killed.
*]13 March 1993 – 1993 Bombay bombings.Mumbai, India. 257 dead, 713 injured.
*]6 April 1994 – Afula Bus suicide bombing, Afula. 8 dead
*]13 April 1994 – Hadera bus station suicide bombing, Hadera. 5 dead
*]16 April 1993 – Mehola Junction bombing, Mehola junction, West Bank. 1 dead
*]28 July 1994 – Buenos Aires, Argentina. Vehicle suicide bombing attack against AMIA building, the local Jewish community representation. 85 dead, more than 300 injured.
*]19 October 1994 – Dizengoff Street bus bombing, Tel Aviv. 22 dead
*]11 November 1994 – Netzarim Junction bicycle bombing, Netzarim. 3 dead
*]24 December 1994 – Air France Flight 8969 hijacking in Algiers by 3 members of Armed Islamic Group of Algeria and another terrorist. 7 killed including 4 hijackers.
*]22 January 1995 – Beit Lid massacre, Beit Lid Junction. 21 dead
*]9 April 1995 – Kfar Darom bus attack, Vicinity of Kfar Darom, Gaza Strip. 8 dead
*]24 July 1995 – Ramat Gan bus 20 bombing, Ramat Gan. 6 dead
*]21 August 1995 – Ramat Eshkol bus bombing, Jerusalem. 4 dead
*]25 February and 3 March 1996 – Jaffa Road bus bombings, Jerusalem. 45 dead, 55 injured
*]March 4, 1996 – Dizengoff Center suicide bombing, Tel Aviv. 13 dead
[/LIST]One could go on, but you get the idea


The secular West has engaged in a deliberate unilateral act of ‘spiritual disarmament’ for the last 20 - 30 years.

At the very time when we face extreme religious ideology, our public squares are full of vacuous, inane, post-modernisms spouted by atheists who don’t understand that extreme Islam is created by (bad) theology. And that in this particular “contest of ideas”, the only thing which will make a lasting difference is theology with a higher IQ.


I was specifically talking about Iraq and Afghanistan. The Israel-Palestine is an ethnic conflict.


Iraq invaded Kuwait (after a 10 year war with Iran) and threatened to invade Saudi Arabia. Kuwait and Saudi Arabia asked for US help, so we sent troops to Saudi Arabia and kicked Iraq out of Kuwait. Then Islamic terrorists attacked the World Trade Center, twice once in 1993 and again in 2001 before we decided to strike back.

I suppose that’s an ethic conflict as well?


The only problem that I have with this focus on extremist religion is that government authorities could easily label orthodox and faithful Catholics as religious extremists if they wanted to even though we definitely do not engage in terrorism. After all, the Catholic Church strongly condemns terrorism and rightly so. And yes, I know that there have been Catholic terrorists in the past. However, I do not think that those Catholics who take their faith seriously would commit an act of terrorism because of the fact that the Catholic Church so strongly condemns terrorism. But then again, I am probably wrong on this.

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