Tony Blair & Moderate Islam

Apr 1st, 2006, in News, by

Tony Blair was only prepared to meet with "moderate" Islamic leaders in Indonesia, perhaps preferring to avert his eyes and ears from those who aren't counted in this category.

Blair met with Azyumardi Azra, the rector of the State Islamic University, and Din Syamsuddin, leader of the country's second largest Muslim group Muhammadiyah, among a couple of other moderates. Both men told Blair that the presence of western troops in Iraq was the root of all problems there and that Britain should pull out. Din Syamsuddin is reported to have added later:

He didn't respond specifically to our requests, but hopefully tonight he will wake up and realize our suggestions make good sense.

Great stuff. Din Syamsuddin brings about a road to Damascus like event for Tony Blair and saves the world. Meanwhile those who were locked out of the discussions, because they are regarded as "radicals", such as Fauzan al Anshori of the Mujahadin Council, complained thusly:

The meeting of Blair with Islamic figures is not representative of Islam in Indonesia.

Without involving the groups who are considered terrorists is clear proof that there is a double standard in the English government's democracy.

Fauzan also said there was a hidden agenda in Blair's visit. Prime minister Blair, he said, came to lobby the Indonesian government to push Hamas into recognising Israel, and to make sure Indonesia was still devoted to fighting terrorism.

Blair also visited the Darunnajah Islamic boarding school in South Jakarta and there got berated by some of the students. The school, which the Jakarta Post says "adheres to moderate Islam", allowed six of its students to ask Blair a question, one of them coming up with:

Has Your Excellency ever asked your best friend, Mr. George W. Bush ... to stop the war in Iraq, because I heard that the United Kingdom always helps America defend Iraq though it knows America is completely wrong.

Did Blair come half way around the world to suffer this sort of idiocy?

Radical or moderate, the views of Muslims in Indonesia are often just the same, and western leaders feel some strange need to sit through hearing them.


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