Blair says teach religious respect

Published: Wednesday 15th October 2014 by The News Editor

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A charter requiring education systems across the world to teach religious respect is urgently needed, otherwise military action against extremist groups will “count for nothing”, Tony Blair has warned.

The former prime minister, in an essay for the BBC, said while force is required to defeat organisations like Islamic State (IS), the underlying causes of extremism must be confronted through education.

As well as stopping the “scourge” of groups like Boko Haram, who abducted more than 200 schoolgirls in Nigeria six months ago, Mr Blair said world leaders must “uproot the thinking of the extremists, not simply disrupt their actions”.

He called for a worldwide agreement on teaching the younger generation to respect all religions, saying the rise of extremist groups is a “perversion of faith that has been growing unchecked”.

He said: “We need at the G20, or some other appropriate forum, as soon as we can, to raise this issue as a matter of urgent global importance and work on a common charter to be accepted by all nations, and endorsed by the UN, which makes it a common obligation to ensure that throughout our education systems, we’re committed to teaching the virtue of religious respect.”

Mr Blair, who heads the Tony Blair Faith Foundation aiming to work against religious prejudice, said defeated extremist groups will simply be replaced by new ones which continue to spread their violent ideology if the root causes are not tackled.

“In order to fight a warped and worsening ideology in the long term we need to recognise that education is a security issue,” he said.

He added that he was not calling for an end to religious schools, but an emphasis on the importance of respect and towards people of other faiths.

Published: Wednesday 15th October 2014 by The News Editor

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