Tony Blair: Islam the Standard-Bearer of Tolerance

Mohd Elfie Nieshaem Juferi

We present below a quote from Tony Blair, Prime Minister of United Kingdom, which was published quite recently in Foreign Affairs, January/February 2007.

With regard to his views on the Qur’an and the religion of Islam, it is obvious that the deen has a proven track-record of religious tolerance unparalleled in world history and is conceded by historians in the likes of De Lacy O Leary and Thomas W. Arnold. Unlike Christianity — in brief, a barbaric and intolerant religion which only appeal is that it is coated in Roman paganistic rituals — calling for the destruction of religious communities different from its own (and which was exemplified in the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition and even today in Iraq and Afghanistan), Islam brought its shining light to world civilizations, setting an unprecedented example of religious tolerance and prosperity.

The quote is as follows. Highlighted emphasis is our own.

To me, the most remarkable thing about the Koran is how progressive it is. I write with great humility as a member of another faith. As an outsider, the Koran strikes me as a reforming book, trying to return Judaism and Christianity to their origins, much as reformers attempted to do with the Christian church centuries later. The Koran is inclusive. It extols science and knowledge and abhors superstition. It is practical and far ahead of its time in attitudes toward marriage, women, and governance.

Under its guidance, the spread of Islam and its dominance over previously Christian or pagan lands were breathtaking. Over centuries, Islam founded an empire and led the world in discovery, art, and culture. The standard-bearers of tolerance in the early Middle Ages were far more likely to be found in Muslim lands than in Christian ones.1

It would be interesting, of course, to see the Christian missionaries scrambling to reply to this statement by Tony Blair. For more elaboration on the relation between Islam and other religions, see this article as well.

And only God knows best! bismika-tombstone Tony Blair: Islam the Standard-Bearer of Tolerance

Footnotes

  1. Foreign Affairs, January/February 2007 []

4 Comments

  1. How do you like this quote taken from the same article and stated just before the quote you have taken: “The roots of the current wave of global terrorism and extremism are deep. They reach down through decades of alienation, victimhood, and political oppression in the Arab and Muslim world. Yet such terrorism is not and never has been inevitable.”

    The way you are summarising Tony Blairs article on “A Battle for Global Values”, how you are using a short quote for your apparently apologetic interests in the name of “Muslim responses to anti-Islam polemic” as well as the distorted title you choose (not at all what TB said in the sentence you have taken your title from) should make the reader very suspicious.

    Such methods, the moment they are discovered, usually turn out to become agruments against the stated intentions of the writer to search and reveal truth.

  2. What is terrorism exactly? The Canadian Winston Dictionary defines terrorism as follows;

    “…to fill with great alarm and fear; reduce to a state of terror; to govern by methods which arouse terror…”

    We have seen throughout history many examples of terrorists and terrorism, for instance, the Crusades, the Inquisition, the New England Witch Hunts, Lenin, Stalin, Pol Pot, Mussolini, Adolf Hitler, the IRA, the Ku Klux Klan, Timothy McVeigh, David Korresh and Milosovich, just to name a few. The evil actions of those mentioned speak for themselves, with the crimes they perpetrated against humanity. Sadly, today, terrorism continues at a feverish pace, with no end in sight. Another sad fact is that the word “Terrorism” has somehow become synonymous with the word “Muslim”. The religion of Islam is being presented by certain media and religious groups as a religion of war and violence. The term “Islamic Fundamentalists” seems to be the in vogue catch phrase when it comes to describing the actions of a misguided few. However, when one examines the true meaning of the word “Fundamentalist”, you will realize that the Fundamentals of Islam do not conform to the actions of terrorists. Quite the contrary, Islam is a religion whose fundamental teachings pertain to peace and understanding and it is these True Qur’anic teachings that I wish to explore here, Insha’Allah(God Willing). It is sad to think that whenever a crime is committed by a Muslim, the religion of Islam is put on trial. If we were to follow that analogy, and considering that, with the exception of Lenin, Stalin and Pol Pot, all the above mentioned individuals and groups were Christian or from a Christian background, is it right to blame all Christians and the religion of Christianity for the crimes committed by these terrorists? And considering that the fathers of communism were all Jewish or of a Jewish background, would it be proper and fair to blame all Jews and the religion of Judaism for the evils of communism? No, it is not right and just the same, to blame all Muslims and the religion of Islam for the crimes committed by terrorists is equally wrong

  3. Jabberwolf you are as thick as two short planks. Of the many erroneous statements you made against Islam, this I found to be the most ignorant: “Islam has never been tolerant in history and today shows no sign of it”
    Let’s see what the Encarta Encyclopedia 2007 CD has to say:

    The Muslim rulers did not force their religion on the Palestinians, and more than a century passed before the majority converted to Islam. The remaining Christians and Jews were considered “People of the Book.” They were allowed autonomous control in their communities and guaranteed security and freedom of worship. Such tolerance (with few exceptions) was rare in the history of religion. Most Palestinians also adopted Arabic and Islamic culture. Palestine benefited from the empire’s trade and from its religious significance during the first Muslim dynasty, the Umayyads of Damascus. When power shifted to Baghd?d with the Abbasids in 750, Palestine became neglected. It suffered unrest and successive domination by Seljuks, Fatimids, and European Crusaders (see Caliphate; Crusades). It shared, however, in the glory of Muslim civilization, when the Muslim world enjoyed a golden age of science, art, philosophy, and literature. Muslims preserved Greek learning and broke new ground in several fields, all of which later contributed to the Renaissance in Europe. Like the rest of the empire, however, Palestine under the Mamluks gradually stagnated and declined.
    Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2007. © 1993-2006 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

    Another interesting finding of Gordon D. Newby who said in his book, “A Concise Encyclopedia of Islam”: As the different version of Islamic practice spread first throughout the Mediterranean world and then beyond, to South Asia, to Africa, and to South East Asia, they brough a new model for living grounded in the Quran and the Sunnah of Muhammad”. he continues, “It brought a worldwide network of trade in commodities and ideas that made the Islamic life attractive wherever it went. Even in the earliest period, when Muslims were conquering the ancient empires, Islam’s succession at conversion was through attraction rather than coercion”

  4. Islam has a prooven track record of Tolerance?
    So they invations of Europe -mass murders, Spanish visogoths violently kicked out, India where millions upon millions were murdered of the centuries for not believeing the same as Muslims.
    It’s funny where Muslims conveniently forget history. If you doubt any of what I said please look it up, as many muslims simply refuse to do. I will give you a head start, please look up the name “Aurangzeb”.

    [Admin: Your little lying polemic has been refuted here. Go back and learn more.]

    Compared today, in Western countries, where religions of all faiths have equal protection and may wear PUBLICALLY their religious customs, in ISLAMIC countries, this is forbidden. That is unless its Islamic, then its permitted. Again this is in Turkey, Indonesia, Yemen, and other backward Islamic nations. Western nations live in peace where religions do not give one citizen more status over another. This is not the case where Islam is prevelent in government in Islamic countries.

    Yes Tony Blair shows tolerance, torwards the intolerant ISLAM. Islam has never been tolerant in history and today shows no sign of it. And allowing people to live under rule as second class citizens compared to Muslims, is not tolerance… its a tax base from which Muslim rulers collect extortion!

    [Admin: Then you should stop paying that INCOME TAX to your government.]

    As for Christmas being “pagan” I would suggest Muslims to look where the HAJJ came from. It was custom long before ISLAM, not related to Abraham, and part of a very clear pagan base.
    At lease christians know, and face truth that Christmas was a merge of customs. lol, no one thinks Santa Claus is God, he just represents a gesture of good faith torwards others.

    [Admin: Nonsense. You could not even get your facts right about Aurangzeb, and you want to teach us about our own religion? Please.]

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