In a recent speech at the Bloomberg offices in London, Tony Blair revealed his proposed blueprint for the New World Order – providing support to oppressive dictatorships in the Middle East to save the West from Islamic extremism.
The West has been encouraged to take sides against an ideology that could destabilise world peace in years to come. It seems that Blair feels that tackling this problem requires validating the oppressive actions of dictatorships similar to that of Egypt’s new military leader al-Sisi, thereby miraculously defending ourselves against the threat of extremists. Arun Kundnani, author of ‘The Muslims are Coming!’, remarked on Blair’s speech – he summarised Tony Blair’s thought process and subsequent solution as ‘hopelessly simplistic’. Tony Blair has unwittingly grouped people into two groups – you are either with us or against us. This is rather reminiscent of his partner in war crimes from across the pond, George Bush Jr.
The recent horrific abductions of school girls in Nigeria by the militant group Boko Haram have proven that where many of the factors that Blair claims lead to extremism are non-existent, the ideology still seems to have flourished and garnered support. Eminent religious leaders of the community need to speak out against such groups to expose their ignorance of God and His revelation and clarify these groups’ understanding of the sources that they claim to follow. The mere existence of groups such as Boko Haram should have led the Nigerian government to highlight the threat of their extremist ideology a long time ago, and address the issue before it became prominent. It seems that religious leaders have overlooked the rise in reactionary-literalist interpretations of Islam and their dangers as well as failing to assert a very simple solution and put it into action – teaching people their religion.
What is equally worrying, however, is the relative silence amidst the rise of militant Israeli Jews attacking Palestinians who are apparently occupying land that was promised to them by God. In Burma, the rise of militant Buddhism where the monk Wirathu (callously named Bura’s ‘bin Laden’) inspired hoards of Buddhist monks to ravage Muslim Burmese villages has resulted in the murder of 200 people in one village in just one of many disturbing encounters. The trouble with religion-based extremism is that it takes various forms and shapes. At times it can take the form of whole countries; Israel is a prime example – Boko Haram is terrorising innocents unjustly in the same way the Crusaders did in the name of God. The irony lies in one single commonality between all of these groups; their ungodly actions have nothing to do with any of their respective scriptures, regardless of the sloganeering they use to justify their claims on scripture.
Instead of working to harmonise the relationships between religious groups, Tony Blair’s proposal will simply fuel further hate and vengeance. Once the Chilcot enquiry is published at the end of this year, it is possible the only people listening to his new plans will be his fellow partners in crime.