Tony Blair has launched an attack on the “problem within Islam” in the wake of the killing of Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich at the hands of Islamist extremists.
The former Prime Minister said the ideology that inspired the act of terror that shocked Britain last month is “profound and dangerous”.
“There is not a problem with Islam,” he wrote. “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 will be horrified at Lee Rigby’s murder.
“But there is a problem within Islam – from the adherents of an ideology that is a strain within Islam. And we have to put it on the table and be honest about it.”
He said that while there are radical activists in other religions, the Islamic strain is “not the province of a few extremists”.
“It has at its heart a view about religion and about the interaction between religion and politics that is not compatible with pluralistic, liberal, open-minded societies,” he said.
For many years there has been a spectrum of Muslim belief in this country ranging from unobtrusive Islamic observance to terrorist totalitarianism. The “problem” is that young British Muslims, some of them converts, are even now being propelled towards the terrorist end of the spectrum by preachers who embedded themselves here under the government of Tony Blair.