Thursday, April 24, 2014
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The Trouble Within Islam

LONDON – There is only one view of the murder of the British soldier Lee Rigby on a south London street three weeks ago: horrific.

But there are two views of its significance. One is that it was an act by crazy people, motivated in this case by a perverted notion of Islam, but of no broader significance. Crazy people do crazy things, so don’t overreact. The other view is that the ideology that inspired the murder of Rigby is profoundly dangerous.

I am of the latter view. Of course, we shouldn’t overreact. We didn’t after the July 7, 2005, attacks on London’s public-transport system. But we did act. And we were right to do so. Our security services’ actions undoubtedly prevented other serious attacks. The “Prevent” program in local communities was sensible.

The government’s new measures seem reasonable and proportionate as well. But we are deluding ourselves if we believe that we can protect the United Kingdom simply by what we do at home. The ideology is out there. It is not diminishing.

Consider the Middle East. Syria now is in a state of accelerating disintegration. President Bashar al-Assad is brutally pulverizing entire communities that are hostile to his regime. At least 80,000 people have died, there are almost 1.5 million refugees, and the number of internally displaced persons has risen above four million. Many in the region believe that Assad’s aim is to cleanse the Sunni from the areas dominated by his regime and form a separate state around Lebanon. There would then be a de facto Sunni state in the rest of Syria, cut off from the country’s wealth and access to the sea.

The Syrian opposition comprises many groups. But the fighters associated with the Al Qaeda-affiliated group Jabhat al-Nusra are generating growing support – including arms and money from outside the country.

Assad is using chemical weapons on a limited but deadly scale. Some of the stockpiles are in fiercely contested areas.

The West’s overwhelming desire to stay out of it is completely understandable. But we must also understand that we are at the beginning of this tragedy. Its capacity to destabilize the region is clear. Jordan is behaving with exemplary courage, but there is a limit to the number of refugees that it can reasonably be expected to absorb. Lebanon is now fragile, as Iran pushes Hezbollah into the battle. Al Qaeda is again trying to cause carnage in Iraq, while Iran continues its meddling there.

Meanwhile, in Egypt and across North Africa, Muslim Brotherhood parties are in power, but the contradiction between their ideology and their ability to run modern economies has fueled growing instability and pressure from more extreme groups.

Then there is the Iranian regime, still intent on getting a nuclear weapon, and still exporting terror and instability. In Sub-Saharan Africa, Nigeria is facing gruesome terror attacks. In Mali, France fought a tough battle to prevent extremists from overrunning the country.

Then there is Pakistan – and Yemen. Farther east, a border war between Burma and Bangladesh is simmering. And recent events in Bangladesh itself, or in the Muslim-majority Mindanao region of the Philippines, extend the list further.

In many of the most severely affected areas, one other thing is apparent: a rapidly growing population. The median age in the Middle East is in the mid-20s. In Nigeria, it is 19. In Gaza, where Hamas holds power, a quarter of the population is under five.

When I return to Jerusalem soon, it will be my 100th visit to the Middle East since leaving office, working to build a Palestinian state. I see first-hand what is happening in this region.

So I understand the desire to look at this world and explain it by reference to local grievances, economic alienation, and, of course, “crazy people.” But can we really find no common thread, nothing that connects the dots of conflict, no sense of an ideology driving or at least exacerbating it all?

There is not a problem with Islam. For those of us who have studied it, there is no doubt about its true and peaceful nature. There is not a problem with Muslims in general. Most in Britain are horrified at Rigby’s murder.

But there is a problem within Islam, and we have to put it on the table and be honest about it. There are, of course, Christian extremists and Jewish, Buddhist, and Hindu ones. But I am afraid that the problematic strain within Islam is not the province of a few extremists. It has at its heart a view of religion – and of the relationship between religion and politics – that is not compatible with pluralistic, liberal, open-minded societies. At the extreme end of the spectrum are terrorists, but the worldview goes deeper and wider than it is comfortable for us to admit. So, by and large, we don’t admit it.

This has two effects. First, those who hold extreme views believe that we are weak, and that gives them strength. Second, those Muslims – and the good news is that there are many – who know the problem exists, and want to do something about it, lose heart.

Throughout the Middle East and beyond, a struggle is playing out. On one side, there are Islamists and their exclusivist and reactionary worldview. They comprise a significant minority, loud and well organized. On the other side are the modern minded, those who hated the old oppression by corrupt dictators and despise the new oppression by religious fanatics. They are potentially the majority; unfortunately, they are badly organized.

The seeds of future fanaticism and terror – possibly even major conflict – are being sown. Our task is to help sow the seeds of reconciliation and peace. But clearing the ground for peace is not always peaceful.

The long and hard conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq have made Western powers wary of foreign intervention. But we should never forget why these conflicts were long and hard: we allowed failed states to come into being.

Saddam Hussein was responsible for two major wars, in which hundreds of thousands died, many by chemical weapons. He killed similar numbers of his own people. The Taliban grew out of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan and turned the country into a training ground for terror. Once these regimes were removed, both countries began to struggle against the same forces promoting violence and terror in the name of religion everywhere.

Not every engagement need be military, and not every military engagement must involve troops. But disengaging from this struggle won’t bring us peace.

Neither will security alone. While revolutionary communism was resisted by resoluteness on security, it was ultimately defeated by a better idea: freedom. The same can be done here. The better idea is a modern view of religion and its place in society and politics – a model based on respect and equality among people of different faiths. Religion may have a voice in the political system, but it must not govern it.

We have to start with children, here and abroad. That is why I established a foundation whose specific purpose is to educate children of different faiths around the world to learn about each other and live with each other. We are now in 20 countries, and the programs work. But it is a drop in the ocean compared with the flood of intolerance taught to so many.

Now, more than ever, we have to be strong, and we have to be strategic.

Copyright: Project Syndicate/Mail on Sunday, 2013.

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  1. Commentedlachlan anderson

    i agree with Julie Kaveshnikov in that all religions have aspects which might appear distasteful from Christianity to Islam even to Buddhism. Each of these religions is at a different stage in its evolution of prevalence in an increasingly modern world.

  2. CommentedJohn Rhodes

    How quick we are to forget our own history. All ideologies, whether it's Chivalry, Christianity, Islam, or any other, share the potential to be used as a justification for atrocity by the vengeful, bitter, or greedy among their adherents. Islam will survive this period in history, just like Christianity survived the Inquisition. Or the KKK, for that matter.

    Now, as for the former PM, with all due respect, this entire article is just propaganda, beating the drum for military action in Syria. Remember what I said about this being a problem in all ideologies? Tony Blair's tone hasn't changed in over a decade. He already helped sell one misguided war, and now he's taking the sales floor again as the Ronald McDonald of Imperial Tyranny. All in the name of Freedom and Democracy.

  3. CommentedDaniel Gurevich

    Oh please! When was the last time Christians rioted over, say, a cartoon that made fun of Christ? Where are the Moses cartoon riots that left people dead. Dead! Just for a cartoon. Wake up.

    There *is* a problem with Islam. It is and always has been a grouping about power. To all appearances it is a religion complete with religious practice. But inwardly it has no vision. There is no revelation in Islam. Not one thing in it is original. It is all stolen from Christianity and Judaism. If a religion is a cultus without revelation, Islam is a religion. If not, it's not.

  4. CommentedE Gore

    Brilliant material from the former Prime Minister. It's all pretty good until he tells us he's on his way to Israel to instruct them to create another Islamic state.

    Then it all falls apart.

    And Mr. Blair is revealed to be a hypocrite. Tony, Israel knows how to handle Muslims a hell of lot better than your country ever will.

  5. CommentedTony Flynn

    If Assad falls I fear the minority's in Syria will be drove out or killed. These are Sunni extremists who will In force there strict understanding of Islam lad. In Iraq we can see what the Sunni extremists are doing why inflict this on the Syrian people?

  6. CommentedRalph Musgrave

    Staggering hypocrisy by Tony Blair. When in power he allowed limitless numbers of Muslims into the UK. Now he tells us what most of knew then and what he’s only just realized, namely that Islam or significant aspects of it are “profoundly dangerous”. He should disappear off to Siberia and dye of shame.

  7. CommentedShihab Khan

    After reading this article one wonders whether Tony Blair is trying to revive is dead career upon the growing tide of Islamophobia among the British.

    He mentions almost all of the major Muslim countries overlooking the blood on the hands of the British and USA for supporting despotic dictators to protect Western Capitalist Corporate Interests.

    He has carefully tied Political Islam with woolwich-like unfortunate & evil incidents and extremism, blatantly overlooking the foreign policy of Western Countries as a plausible cause for the growing anti-western sentiment among the Muslims.

    Michael Scheuer, the ex CIA analyst and the one to head the OBL in the 90s, notes that contrary to the 'they hate our freedom' narrative of contemporary political developments, he found Muslims families in admiration of the West for their accomplishments and contributions. But its hard to get away with any dinner table conversation without hearing questions like, "Why do Bush and Blair support Mubarak?"

    The assumption that secular-liberal-capitalist model of democracy is the only acceptable version of governance is misleading. Even more dangerous is the assumption that all other forms of governance (eg Islamic Democracy) are inherently evil.

    If you will bring Democracy to the table in Muslim countries, you will find a growing role of Islam in it. It is a fact, but what's unjustified is tying this with the killings in woolwich.

    Blair didn't lead his nation into war with Iraq to fight 'evil' political Islam. It was as much about giving support to his loyal friends in the washinghton to protect their corporate (Oil) interests as it was about providing an economic shock treatment to the people of Iraq and make it a model capitalist economy for the neighbouring countries to follow.

    The problem is within liberalism which makes it illiberal when it comes to Political Islam.

    The problem is within such dishonest politicians who provide gross oversimplification of problems to deceptively mislead their people.

    The problem is within laissez-faire capitalism which desperately needs the Muslim world's resources for its survival. Everyone knows that nationalization of resources would probably be the core agenda should political Islam come into power. Also, we know how were the people of the Southern Cone were rewarded for asking for a better living through nationalization of natural resources.

    The world is no longer blind Mr Blair.

  8. CommentedJohn de Bresser

    Tony Blair makes several correct observations regarding Islam and in explaining the existence of many Islam-based hotspots in the world:
    • Yes, the ideology that inspired the murder of Rigby is profoundly dangerous; it is out there and it is not diminishing
    • Yes, the problematic strain within Islam has at its heart a view of religion and politics that is not compatible with pluralistic, liberal open-minded societies
    • Yes, the better idea is a modern view of religion and its place in society and politics – a model based on respect and equality among people of different faiths. Religion may have a voice in the political system, but it must not govern it.

    However, Mr. Blair fails to understand why the dangerous ideological version of Islam has been and still is rapidly expanding throughout the world. His solution to educate (Moslem) children in the different faiths around to world is naïve; its shows lack of understanding of the core features of Islam. Waiting until those children have grown up is not only far too late, it also is not going to work.

    There are at least two features within Islam that lead to conservative reactionary and often extremist behavior of Islamic groups: firstly, the Koran does not allow any form of critique, diversion and positioning into a historical context. Doing so, either by Moslems or non-Moslems frames one to be an enemy of Islam for which there is only one fate: compulsory death!. The ideological restriction of any form of reflection about the relevance of the content of the Koran for current society, explains why there is hardly any organized discussion about it among (moderate) Moslems. Not even in a relatively liberal Islamic country like Indonesia, a reflection about the implications of literally interpreting a text put together more than 2000 years ago, takes place. The Koran is a “closed ideology” with a literally content that is unsuitable for a modern, diversified society. It is also for this reason that Islam has never known a Reformation like in the case of Christianity. So as long as moderate Islamists do not organize themselves, overcome their fear and stand up to modernize the interpretation of the Koran so that these fit pluralistic, democratic and modern thinking, the world will have to face the impact of the extreme Islamists.

    The other reason within Islam why the extremists will continue to have the upper-hand is that Islam is a non-institutionalized religion. It does not have the overall guidance (and control) of a central authority such as Catholics have from Rome. Every (mostly lowly educated) imam can preach whatever he wants and in this way ignites the often lowly educated crowds into extreme behavior and jihad. It would require an institutionalization of Islam, something which is impossible by definition.

    The democratic, pluralistic world is still largely naïve in understanding the forces of extreme Islam. The investments in Iraq, Afghanistan, Mali, Pakistan, etc. will, despite the apparent democratic structures that are being established, only temporize the impact of extreme Islamist forces. These even further fuel extreme Islamist thinking. I suggest Mr. Blair to use his position and wealth to support the modern, liberal Islamic fractions who hate the oppression of the religious fanatics but fear the implications of standing up. Enabling those groups to bring the content of the Koran into mainstream modern society would be a track with more immediate impact on world peace than letting the future generation solve the problems the world is facing with Islam extremism.

  9. CommentedBasit Abdul

    For all this is the product of Western politics, Islam or Muslims have nothing to do with it. It's you who attack & then call the retaliation by the oppressed as "terrorism" As Former US President jimmy Carter puts it : "We sent Marines into Lebanon and you only have to go to Lebanon, to Syria or to Jordan to witness first-hand the intense hatred among many people for the United States because we bombed and shelled and unmercifully killed totally innocent villagers -- women and children and farmers and housewives -- in those villages around Beirut. ... As a result of that ... we became kind of a Satan in the minds of those who are deeply resentful. That is what precipitated the taking of our hostages and that is what has precipitated some of the terrorist attacks."{New York Times, March 26, 1989, p.16}

  10. CommentedSana I

    Islam means submission to the will of God and obedience to His law, and not just submission.
    Killing anyone is strictly prohibited in Islam. Islam give practical and perfect solutions to lead a life. It is us, who make it difficult to live by it.
    In general if someone violates a law, nobody says that there is something wrong in the law or rules but definitely the person is wrong. In the same way if someone kills or terrorize anybody, it doesn't mean there is any problem in Islam but the problem lies in the person.
    One more example, if few students fail in class we don't say that the whole class has failed. Similarly, if few so called Muslims have done anything bad , it doesn't mean the whole Muslim community is into it. When here, in few comments people have so many different views how come whole community will have same views.

  11. CommentedLeo Arouet

    We said: Houston have a old problem: "El islam extremo es perjudicial para su propia gente como para los extranjeros. It is necessary to restrain..."

  12. CommentedWaleed Addas

    Extremists are everywhere but what exacerbated the situation is your invasion of Iraq, which made the Gini come out and ushered in the current regional and also world instability.

  13. Portrait of Keith Roberts

    CommentedKeith Roberts

    I would be interested to know what Mr. Blair thinks about the possibility and desirability of Syria breaking up into Sunni, Shia, and Kurdish states, federated or not.

  14. CommentedShafiqa Begum

    to ''Lee Kus " , you definately dont know Islam well enough to be passing comments like that. Furthermore, if Islam was based on merely obsession with oil and violence, it would not be the fastest growing religion in the world. The word Islam itself means peace, by the way.

    1. CommentedJonathan Kniss

      "if Islam was based on merely obsession with oil and violence, it would not be the fastest growing religion in the world"

      Growth due to high birth rates and the fact that leaving Islam is punishable by death.

      "The word Islam itself means peace, by the way."

      Actually, no. Islam means submission, not peace, and these two words do not mean the same thing.

  15. CommentedPhilipp Zeissig

    The "flood of intolerance taught to so many" is taught by madrassas funded by Saudi oil money. Saudi funded madrassas teach the radical wahabi / salafist form of Suni Islam which almost all violent islamic terrorist in the recent past follow. The best way to prevent this brainwashing is to stop the money going to these and that means reducing the demand on oil thus lowering the price/barrel.

    1. CommentedKHALID RAHIM

      I totally agree and have been pointing out to family and friends,even strangers in Pakistan our dilemma is Saudi Arabia. up until 1980 we lived a harmonious life with no sectarian violence, let non-Muslims live peacefully. When we decided to fight Uncle Sam's proxy war in Afghanistan and allowed the Saudis to take control of our education curriculum for their vested interest as part of Neocon Agenda to establish the New World Order. We have been in state of turmoil.

  16. CommentedTanya Myoko

    "For those of us who have studied it, there is no doubt about its true and peaceful nature."

    Bullplop. I have studied it, there is no doubt about it's true and barbaric nature.

    1. CommentedJulie Kaveshnikov

      Actually, you are wrong. I have studied it as well. In the Old Testament (so this counts for both the Jewish and Christian religion), there are passages that suggest a woman should be stoned to death for cheating on her husband. Just like we interpret the Bible today to apply to our modern lives, Islam can be interpreted the same way. There are indeed passages that promote violence in the Qu'ran, but there are many more promoting peace and harmony. I myself am agnostic, but I have studied practically every religion as well as the philosophy of those religions, and in almost every religion people are given the right to protect themselves.

      Yes, Islam is used for violence more than any other religion, this is undeniable. Just like the Jews, Romans, etc. blended religion and politics the Middle East developed Islam as an all encompassing religion, the fact that I do not choose to follow Islam or live under Islamic law does not mean that people who do are barbarians. Whenever disputes occur, adding a theology to back your opinions undoubtedly gives you a better platform to stand on when voicing why your particular point of view is right. This is how extremism is born, and unless Middle East exploitation stops I fear we will see a lot more of this violence.

      The autocratic regimes and the Western countries that purchase their resources while turning a blind eye to the humanitarian problems no doubt has a big impact on why they have such animosity towards the west. With the Arab spring, the people seem to have had enough, and we have to choose to be on the right side of history or face alienating the Middle East again and this time it may not be so easy to undermine their democracies.

  17. CommentedSuhail Patel

    I find it both amusing yet also somewhat dismaying that Blair should harbour such views. I suspect their is an element of that well practised deception of his within these words.

    I completely reject your claim that sometimes violence is sometimes necessary.

  18. Commentedkurt murgo

    Anytime an administration kills innocent people, it must be condemned. George Bush is a joke in most of America, if not a criminal and the US media has condemned him and Cheney.What concerns me is the paucity of condemnation from the non extremist Islamic community. If killing innocent people is wrong, than I would like to hear more from the Muslim community. It is too silent.

  19. CommentedAlmir Colan

    So Mr Blair's solution to fix this strain within Islam is very simple; Islam should not be practiced outside of the mosques' walls... Interesting, considering Mr Blair referred to the role of his Christian faith in his decision to go to war in Iraq... and said in a BBC interview, "In the end, there is a judgement... and if you believe in God, it's made by God as well." and, "The only way you can take a decision like that is to do the right thing according to your conscience."

    Funny, Tony Blair was criticised for this comment by some, as politicians making "references to deity"??? Undercover religious fantastic, maybe??

    Also, in an interview with Third Way Magazine he said, "In a sense, it was a rediscovery of religion as something living... I began to see it's social relevance. I began to make sense of the world" - loots of religious references for someone so 'secular'...

    So, while there is a problem within Islam for Mr Blair who should rather restrict Islam as a ritual (as opposed to whole way of life), it is ok for him to make a judgement (to go to war, peace etc...) based on his Christian faith, his conscienceness, where religion is something living that makes sense of the world...

    How convenient Mr Blair... especially from a PM who's own country prided itself as "the empire on which the sun never sets"... I guess it is much harder to exploit people, divide and conquer (as intended, in this article, is one of those strategies) when their conscienceness and religious feelings are in sync with national interests, and don't want to sell their soul to the devil. It is actually this (secular, but highly 'religious' and militant) strain within "pluralistic, liberal, open-minded societies" that is conducting mass killings... so, the spotlight should be focused where it belongs - wholesale terrorism... But nice attempt at rewriting history and positioning future leader-sheep of these poor enslaved nations to take your lead into the next inferno...

    Sorry, I wont be enrolling my kids in your madrasa...

  20. CommentedSakar Ghad

    Tony got one thing right which is there is a common thread between all the Moslem places he has mentioned from Myanmar and Philippines to Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria and that is they have all been attacked and savagely so. This is a fact and not a claim. And they have not all been attacked by western forces, the villains sometimes were Russian, non-western Christians, Jews, Buddhists, or simply secular dictators such as Assad and Saddam.

    Communities that become savagely attacked harden and yes some of them do go crazy. We have all seen the genesis of it in America itself after Sept 11, but also in Eastern Europe and Russia where racist skinheads groups go on rampage.

    What is needed is more justice and less power games.

  21. CommentedASM BELAL

    "Farther east, a border war between Burma and Bangladesh is simmering. And recent events in Bangladesh itself, or in the Muslim-majority Mindanao region of the Philippines, extend the list further".

    Mr. Blair's notion of Burma-Bangladesh war is misleading. It expresses his ignorance of this region. Bangladesh has problems with Burma, but not to the extent to involve in war. Talking speculatively about a non-existent phenomenon could help complicate the relations between the countries. War happens, but daily consciousness of it among citizens which is most often constituted by policy makers and independent thinkers is dangerous. It is irony that, educated people who claim substantial cutting-edge knowledge sometimes turn nothingness into beingness. Mr. Blair has made such an attempt. I doubt the capacity of people who are obsessed with problems and paranoid about solutions.

    Moreover, While pointing finger at any problems, a causal explanation is reasonably expected. Mr. Blair's cause of the problem in the Muslim world is imagined and constructed. Looking at skin disease on the surface may mislead us, because the appearance of disease on the skin is the result of serious health problems inside, that is caused by not only gene but also foods or medicines the patient takes. Many of the problems that Muslim world face today stem from the policies of the western countries. Mr. Blair mentioned Saddam killed people; it could be more convincing if he mentioned what he and Bush did in Iraq war, a war based on false consciousness. Who define failed state? The great danger lies in solely defining state in western perspective. By war Blair claimed Iraq and Afghanistan state came into being. I say more problem is simmering in this world if some powerful countries keep dictating other non-western countries how they run the state, what intensity of faith they should adopt. Many western writers are sceptical of ethical foundation of "right or wrong", but they are quite sure that some non-western societies are totally wrong. And that is quite bizarre.

  22. CommentedKen Presting

    Mr. Blair describes a program which seems constructive enough, so it's hard to get too upset with his argument. But his thesis is fundamentally bizarre. From an American perspective, one must expect that Mr. Blair will soon be appearing with Michele Bachman as she leaves our Congress to begin her third career. Danger within Islam, indeed. How long until we read a Protocol of certain Elders...

    However widely experienced Mr. Blair may be, a conclusion of this nature cannot be given the slightest credence without investigation by the most rigorous sociological methods, and debated extensively.

    Mr. Blair himself has cited only the most obvious alternatives to a religious explanation of violent fanaticism. Tribal cultures, drug money, grinding poverty, disillusioned recruits from Western states. If Mr. Blair is concerned to provide prophylactic lessons in civilized acceptance to Islamic populations, he might consider siting some of his institutions in London or Boston.

    It is unfortunate that someone of his experience would expend no attention whatsoever to the legacy of colonial imperialism in south Asia, the middle East, and north Africa. Can none of us acknowledge any legitimate political grievance in these regions? Most especially, Iran? Not to mention Pakistan. Or Palestine.

    If Mr. Blair wants to win Muslim hearts and minds, I for one wish him all the best. I consider him a fine advocate and example of Western democracy. But his sociological hypothesis that Islamic extremism has a religious explanation is unwarranted, on the publicly available evidence.

  23. CommentedHissam Kamal

    Well said.

    To add, if I may, simplification through "us and them" labeling is not helping the issue.

    The alleged greater propensity for harm within Islam is questionable..witness the last 100-150 years (or even last 5 years) and the harm to the environment, human rights and values and economic injustice exhibited in many non-Muslim societies on an extremely large scale resulting in much permanent spiritual, mental and physical damage and fatality carried out in both home (non-Muslim) countries and in Muslim countries by non-Muslims.

    Of course, during this same period, to use some of Blair's own words "...and the good news is that there are many" who have benefited from progress over this same period.

    So whilst lamenting the loss of balance and perspective Blair himself is guilty through this article (by singling out a particular belief) and in previously, as noted by Mr O'Callaghan.

    The consequences of a loss of balance or perspective within Islam or any ideology within the developing-world framework has thankfully been less than those in the developed world, but that is not to say that the trend should not be reversed and this is something that may be highlighted by someone in Blair's position.

    For example, in Islam, one must balance "Unity in Creator" with "unity in creation", noting that man must love God, fellow-man and fellow creation (nature). The finite nature of this world must be balanced with accountability and punishment, which in of itself is counterbalanced with infinite love and mercy.

  24. CommentedMoctar Aboubacar

    There are, we learn from Mr. Blair, people who have a certain view of religion, politics, power and society that is incompatible with "pluralistic, liberal, open-minded societies".

    All well and good. This in and of itself, though, is not a problem within Islam, it is a problem within structures that allow for a spillover of religion into politics, religion into power. That is the problem he is really getting at, or should be).

    But the problem within Islam? To me it's simply a problem _of_ Islam, just as it is a problem of Christianity and all the others. The degree and the scope of religions' more malign manifestations (bombs, hate speech et al.) are just products of the social and political structures that house them.

    So half agreed, really.

    1. CommentedHissam Kamal

      Well said.

      To add, if I may, simplification through "us and them" labeling is not helping the issue.

      This greater propensity and harm within Islam is questionable..witness the last 100-150 years and the harm to the environment, human rights and values and economic injustice exhibited in many non-Muslim societies on an extremely large scale resulting in much permanent spiritual, mental and physical damage and fatality carried out in both home (non-Muslim) countries and in Muslim countries by non-Muslims.

      Of course, during this same period, to use some of Blair's own words "...and the good news is that there are many" who have benefited from progress over this same period.

      So whilst lamenting the loss of balance and perspective Blair himself is guilty through this article (by singling out a particular belief) and in previously, as noted by Mr O'Callaghan.

      The consequences of a loss of balance or perspective within Islam or any ideology within the developing-world framework has thankfully been less than those in the developed world, but that is not to say that the trend should not be reversed and this is something that may be highlighted by someone in Blair's position.

      For example, in Islam, one must balance "Unity in Creator" with "unity in creation", noting that man must love God, fellow-man and fellow creation (nature). The finite nature of this world must be balanced with accountability and punishment, which in of itself is counterbalanced with infinite love and mercy.


    2. CommentedHissam Kamal

      Well said.

      To add, if I may, simplification through "us and them" labeling is not helping the issue.

      This greater propensity and harm within Islam is questionable..witness the last 100-150 years and the harm to the environment, human rights and values and economic injustice exhibited in many non-Muslim societies on an extremely large scale resulting in much permanent spiritual, mental and physical damage and fatality carried out in both home (non-Muslim) countries and in Muslim countries by non-Muslims.

      Of course, during this same period, to use some of Blair's own words "...and the good news is that there are many" who have benefited from progress over this same period.

      So whilst lamenting the loss of balance and perspective Blair himself is guilty through this article (by singling out a particular belief) and in previously, as noted by Mr O'Callaghan.

      The consequences of a loss of balance or perspective within Islam or any ideology within the developing-world framework has thankfully been less than those in the developed world, but that is not to say that the trend should not be reversed and this is something that may be highlighted by someone in Blair's position.

      For example, in Islam, one must balance "Unity in Creator" with "unity in creation", noting that man must love God, fellow-man and fellow creation (nature). The finite nature of this world must be balanced with accountability and punishment, which in of itself is counterbalanced with infinite love and mercy.


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