We Did not Cause Extremism; Only Caught Up in it- Tony Blair

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Unless we get to the root of extremism, we’re not going to defeat it. To see why this is happening, you’ve got to go back several decades and you’ve got to see how this has grown. You’ve got to see things like the significance of the Iranian revolution in 1979. The storming of Mecca in 1980. You’ve got to realise how the populations of these countries have grown: 50 years ago, Egypt had 30 million people. It has 100 million people today. The roots of this are a toxic mixture of bad politics, an abuse of religion that has grown over a long period of time and is now a global phenomenon.

We also need to look at education systems around the world. Take for example Northern Nigeria, where Boko Haram do their recruiting. There are millions of young kids educated to a view of the world that is poisonous towards those that are different. Look at Bangladesh. Then you go around the education systems in the Middle East and young people, in young populations, are being taught a view of the world that is contrary to the way the world can exist today and contrary to peaceful coexistence.

So we’re never going to defeat this unless we realise this isn’t a problem we have caused, it’s a problem we got caught up in. The roots are this ideology that is within Islam, but today we have allies within Islam who can help us defeat it, who will stand with us and be our allies in this fight.

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