Tony Blair calls for Holy War against Islamism
He did not use the phrase ‘Holy War’, but it is difficult to see how otherwise this self-appointed prophet and crusading born-again Roman Catholic believes his words will be interpreted by those ‘religious extremists’ to whom his speech was addressed. The problem he shall find is that the Islamism (‘an extreme and misguided form of Islam’) which has been so designated and formally recognised in the West out of the category-obsessed confines of modernity is what many in the (Middle) East might define as orthodox Islam. Cranmer assures Mr Blair that to declare war against ‘Islamic extremists’ will be interpreted in at least three corners of the Islamic world as a declaration of war against Islam. It is political posturing and crass diplomacy, and hardly a worthy proclamation from a Faith Foundation which purports to prioritise the pursuit of peace.
If Durban II established anything, it was to codify the emerging Islamist ‘New World Order’; to make overt the religio-political objective of imposing non-democratic and illiberal values on the West. According to Flemming Rose, editor of Jyllands-Posten, Denmark's largest-circulation newspaper, the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) member-states are ‘trying to rewrite the rules of human rights and international law in a way that undermines the values of liberty enshrined in the Western canon – including the US Bill of Rights, the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights’.
If merely criticising Islam is to be recognised in international law as a form of incitement, there can no longer be freedom of expression.
Tony Blair is a moral interventionist. And that intervention, where necessary, shall be with bombs and bullets. He may not have ‘done God’ while he was prime minister (for fear of being called ‘a nutter’), but by justifying now, from the pulpit of his Faith Foundation, his decisions to invade Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo, is to place his struggle (‘Jihad’) in the religio-political realms of ‘Holy War’. His call for battle to be waged against ‘militant Islam’ in the same fashion to that fought against revolutionary Communism is, at best, dangerous hyperbole, and, at worst, an invitation to ‘militant Islam’ to bring the world to the brink of nuclear war after the fashion of the Cuban Missile Crisis.
No doubt President Ahmadinejad shall revel in playing Khrushchev, to the glory of Allah.
Mr Blair is naïve and foolish, and Cranmer wishes the former prime minister would dispense with his Penguin edition of the Qur’an and consult with serious Islamic scholarship. One becomes wise by keeping company with the wise, and these wise shall not always say what one wishes to hear. To appoint the like-minded to one’s advisory board is folly: Mr Blair shall not grasp the theological genius or the importance of the ecclesiastical and liturgical reforms of Pope Benedict XVI by admitting the Lord Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor to his inner sanctum to attempt to explain them. One grasps religious depths and political complexities by inculturation, not contention; by listening, not by lecturing.
No doubt Mr Blair simply believes that the peacemakers shall indeed be blessed, but he conveniently omits to heed the warning of the fate of those who live by the sword. Yet he says: “Our job is simple: it is to support and partner those Muslims who believe deeply in Islam but also who believe in peaceful co-existence, in taking on and defeating the extremists who don't."
Our job is simple?
The man must spend his evenings meditating upon ‘Islam for Idiots’ and his morning devotional must be drawn from ‘Catholicism for Cretins’. If this task be ‘simple’, he must begin by defining what he means by ‘believe deeply in Islam’ (as distinguished from merely believing in Islam, for the ‘deeply’ is ominous), and then examining the nature of the justice of a ‘peaceful co-existence’ in which the kuffar are merely tolerated whilst being eradicated by stealth, but always through the path of peace which lies at the heart of the salaam of Islam.
Mr Blairs ‘doctrine of international community’ may be drawn from the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, but Mr Blair is no Augustine of Hippo or Thomas Aquinas. What became known as the ‘Just War Theory’ is complex, nuanced and profoundly moral: Mr Blair’s crusade is facile, simplistic and relativistic. He sounds increasingly like a divinely-appointed Luke Skywalker against the satatic Islamist forces of Darth Vader. We are no longer in an era in which war is waged against nation states, or even one in which war is formally declared. There is not one movement with an identifiable command and control, but a complex web of politically mutually-exclusive jihadists all linked by religious ideology. If, as Mr Blair says, military intervention is justified not only when a nation's interests are directly engaged but also where there exists a humanitarian crisis or gross oppression of a civilian population, who is to decide the threshold of acceptability of this oppression?
He says: “I still believe that those who oppress and brutalise their citizens are better put out of power than kept in it.”
If it is the oppression of humanity which justifies intervention in Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan, why does it not for Zimbabwe, North Korea or Iran?
If one is to avoid the perception of being at war with Islam, one ought at least to apply one's international doctrine of 'hard power' consistently, lest one be perceived by the