Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair - Official Facebook Page
CAIRO – 24 October 2017: When asked if the British government will designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization, the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said: “That debate will carry on depending on what they do in individual countries, and it can differ.”
This was during a wide-ranging interview with The National, UAE newspaper, last week at his London offices during which he tackled many issues including the fight against radicalization.
To face radicalism, he noted that Islamic schools and unregulated learning centers should be addressed not just in Muslim-majority countries, but also in Britain and everywhere to promote a commitment to tolerance and root religious prejudice from their systems.
“There are millions of young people who are being educated every day to a view of religion that is wrong and also extreme. You see this in schools were the Muslim Brotherhood and others have a strong grip and if you educate young people to these extreme views, do not be surprised if some of them turn out to become violent."
During the interview, he praised the big change the leaderships of the Emirates, Saudi, Egypt, Jordan, and Bahrain are implementing for promoting open-minded, tolerant and rational societies regarding religious discourse.
“I think there is a great opportunity to build an alliance between open-minded Muslim-majority countries and the West because we have got the same problem, the same challenge," Blair noted.
Focusing on fighting extremism and radicalization on websites, he referred that the way societies face these websites is inadequate as they should divert people from materials on these websites to a more positive material, and not just closing them down.
He said that if any religion is turned into an exclusive politicized ideology, this view of religion would govern the society with a totalitarian ideology, forcing its community to follow a single view of the religion, and causing a huge problem. Consequently, “The politicization of Islam is the root of the problem and it is not something that goes back centuries.”
In Europe, the public is blind to this problem, and if it is not dealt with in the correct way, it will become “anti-Islam - and not anti-Islamism as a political ideology.”
This is because of the bizarre alliance between the Muslim Brotherhood-type groups in the West and left-wing politics that causes the collapse of the political centre as European and American parties turn to the left and right for leadership. Hence, the right party exploits this issue saying that Islam is the problem.
"If dealt with in the correct way, it allows you to say ‘I have my own religious beliefs but when it comes to my citizenship, I am part of the common space’. And that should be true of Muslims, Jews, Christians, Hindus or any other religion."
Regarding the chaos in the region particularly in Iraq and Syria, Iran is trying to push Iraq into a sectarian conflict.
As for Syria, “When Syria erupted in 2011, I argued strongly at the time that you should sit down with Assad and agree on some process of transition," Blair said. "But if you are not going to do that and you are insisting that he goes, then go get him out."