Hugh Fitzgerald: The Confusions of Tony Blair, Part II

Recognizing that something’s wrong with Islam is an advance. Assuming it can be made right smacks of Pollyanna. Tony Blair has said that the educational systems in countries where [Muslim] extremism had taken hold must be overhauled.

And just how will this be done?

“We’ve got to use our negotiating power and might with these countries to say, “You’re going to have to reform the education systems that are educating millions of young people day in and day out to a view of the world that’s narrow-minded, bigoted and hostile to those who are different.”

Now why didn’t the rest of us think of that?

This dreamy belief that any Muslim country or people would change its teachings about Islam, because some Infidels consider those teachings “narrow minded, bigoted, and hostile to those who are different” shows a deep miscomprehension of Islam and of Muslims. If Blair thinks pressure from Infidels will force the likes of Saudi Arabia to rewrite its textbooks (which, unsurprisingly, contain the more rigid, Salafi version of Islam, that Salafists believe to properly reflect the time of Muhammad and the two generations of “pious ancestors” that followed him), he misunderstands the hold that Islam has over such adherents. He has only to look at the reports on Western attempts to have the Saudis overhaul their textbooks, to discover how many hopeful tales of Saudi compliance were not supported by what Western investigators subsequently found in the teaching materials that are used not only in Saudi Arabia but all around the Muslim world, and in mosques in the West, where Saudi money, for mosques, for madrasas, for payment of clerics’ salaries, calls the ideological tune.

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