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Tony Blair's speech on the Caliphate


In the first of three speeches outlining his vision for British Foreign Policy, Tony Blair reiterated his view that, "terrorism will not be defeated until its ideas, the poison that warps the minds of its adherents, are confronted, head-on, in their essence, at their core."

He first referred to this "ideology of the terrorists" as he calls it, after the 7/7 bombings last year in his infamous "evil ideology" speech. This speech linked the establishment of a Caliphate that the majority of the Muslim world want to see re-established, as part of an "evil ideology" the ideology of the terrorists.

Blurring the lines between mainstream Islamic ideas such as the Caliphate and its non-violent work, with terrorism, has become Blair's main policy since 7/7 culminating in the Terrorism Act 2006. Interestingly, in his latest speech, he attempts to make a distinction between the past Caliphate that was "leading the world in discovery, art and culture", and the vision Muslims have for the future Caliphate that he refers to as "pre-feudal".

Blair said, "But as an outsider, the Koran strikes me as a reforming book, trying to return Judaism and Christianity to their origins, rather as reformers attempted with the Christian Church centuries later. It is inclusive. It extols science and knowledge and abhors superstition. It is practical and way ahead of its time in attitudes to marriage, women and governance.

Under its guidance, the spread of Islam and its dominance over previously Christian or pagan lands was breathtaking. Over centuries it founded an Empire, leading 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."

Although he praises the past Caliphate as tolerant and breathtaking, he means this in the context of the early Middle Ages. Since the Qur'an in his view is a reforming book and way of ahead of its time in attitudes to governance, he is making the case that Islamic Democracy rather than an Islamic Caliphate is the way forward for the Muslim World. The past Caliphate was fine for that era but cannot be applied in modern times. This can be seen from his speech when he said, "It should be our task to empower and support those in favour of uniting Islam and democracy, everywhere."

Opposition to the Caliphate has been at the core of Britain's Foreign Policy for centuries. Lord Curzon the British Foreign Secretary in 1924 said, "We must put an end to anything which brings about any Islamic unity between the sons of the Muslims. As we have already succeeded in finishing off the Caliphate, so we must ensure that there will never arise again unity for the Muslims, whether it be intellectual or cultural unity."

Tony Blair's speech should be viewed in this context, and is no different to that of Lord Curzon in its underlying message. This is why Blair maligned the vision of a future Caliphate by saying, "their concept of governance pre-feudal; their positions on women and other faiths, reactionary and regressive".

"Islam's concept of governance" enshrines: the rule of law, representative government, accountability by the people through an independent judiciary and the principle of representative consultation.

Its "position on women and other faiths" is that it's a government built upon a concept of citizenship regardless of ethnicity, gender or creed and is totally opposed to the oppression of any religious or ethnic grouping. All of this is established by the Holy Qur'an, a book in the words of Tony Blair that "is practical and way ahead of its time in attitudes to marriage, women and governance."

After the destruction of the Caliphate by Britain in 1924, the Muslim world in Blair's words, "found themselves caught between colonisation, nascent nationalism, political oppression and religious radicalism. Muslims began to see the sorry state of Muslim countries as symptomatic of the sorry state of Islam."

The continuing instability, wars, poverty and tyrant dictators that are plaguing the Muslim world are a direct result of the loss of the Caliphate to govern people's affairs. When any country loses its system of government it will be plunged in to chaos and anarchy. Iraq is a prime example of this. What happened to Iraq in 2003 is what happened to the entire Muslim world in 1924.

Only by the re-establishment of the Caliphate will this continuing instability in the Muslim world finally come to an end.

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