Blair Praises the “Authentic Voices” of Islam

By Jane Perlez LONDON: As part of his series of farewells, Prime Minister Tony Blair on Monday addressed a government-organized conference on Islam and declared that the “authentic voices” of the religion should be given a stage over the voices of extremism. Blair, who has said he will take a special interest in interfaith affairs when he leaves office at the end of the month, said that the true meaning of Islam had been hijacked by extremists. “The voices of extremism are no more representative of Islam than the use, in times gone by, of torture – to force conversion to Christianity – represents the true teaching of Christ,” he said. Muslim leaders from Egypt, Indonesia, Bosnia, Western Europe and the United States joined a carefully selected group of British Muslims at Lancaster House in London for a two-day program that was organized by the government in conjunction with Cambridge University.