Tony Blair called for global education reforms to teach understanding and respect of different cultures and religions, in a recent interview on CNN.
The key points of the interview are as follows:
1. "Provocation" cannot transfer itself as a justication for killing innocent people.
“I think we’ve got to be really careful here. I personally don’t think it’s very sensible to insult someone, irrespective of whether it’s their faith you’re insulting, or their deeply cherished beliefs, or their country or family. I don’t think it’s very sensible to do that. And whether it’s wise to do it therefore, in any given situation, is always a question. But I do also think we’ve got to be very clear that nothing justifies going and killing innocent people. So whether you think it’s sensible for the cartoon to be published or not is one thing, but where we’ve got to stand together, absolutely clearly together, is in saying there is absolutely no justification for the killing of those people. So I entirely understand what Pope Francis is saying – and I agree with it in the sense that it’s never wise to insult people when there’s no need to do that – but in this context and this moment, I think we’ve got to be absolutely clear here there’s no concept of what I would call in inverted commas “provocation” that can transfer itself, in any shape or form, as a justification for killing completely innocent people. Lots of people do things I don’t like – and I don’t agree with. That doesn’t mean I have a right to kill them.”
2. Global education policy needs to be changed.
“I know that we can’t reach all the schools and all the kids in the world. What I’m trying to do is make a point about global policy, in order to change global policy. And here’s what I’d like to see: round the world today, millions of young people – millions of them – in Northern Nigeria, Pakistan, parts of the Middle East, parts of the Far East, Central Asia, across a whole belt of Africa, millions of them are being educated to a view of the world that is exclusivist, that is narrow-minded towards those who are different, and often religiously intolerant and prejudice. What you incubate in your schools system then comes to be a problem for us.”
3. Leaders in countries where this ideology is being incubated understand the problem.
“They know this is a problem. They know they need to confront it. They need the weight of the international community coming behind them and saying: this is an obligation. This is not a problem with Islam itself; Islam itself is a peaceful, harmonious religion. The sensible thing to realise is you’re not stigmatising all Muslims by saying there is a problem within Islam with a section of Muslim opinion. You’re actually saying what many Muslims themselves know. And we need to be at their side and helping them, because in the end, they will have to sort this out. You’re not going to help them by pretending it doesn’t exist, because they know it exists.”