From AFP, Berlin:
British Prime Minister Tony Blair says a decade in office has taught him that the West should not be afraid of standing by its values in facing up to radical Islam.
“The West must show that it believes in its own values,” Blair told journalists from several European newspapers, including yesterday”s edition of the Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Germany, as he prepares to announce his departure from Downing Street.
“We must show the Muslim world that we let our values apply to everyone. That’s why Guantanamo (Bay) is an issue for people,” Blair said, in comments translated from German.
“But we are also on the defensive because we are not energetic in contradicting the opinion of radical Muslims who want to convince us that terrorism somehow has something to do with our behaviour.”
Blair has long been in favour of binding predominantly Muslim Turkey to the European Union to create a bridge between Europe and the Muslim world. He conceded that Turkey has a long way to go before it is ready to join the EU, but said it would be a “disgrace” if Europe’s club of nations went back on its promises to the Turks.
“I firmly believe that Europe should offer a place to Turkey. But I also know that beforehand complicated problems must be resolved.”
“Most importantly,” the Prime Minister continued, “is the fundamental hostility at the heart of Islam toward the non-Mulsim world. Until this fact is appreciated, sound policy with respect to Islam will be impossible. We must understand – however uncomfortable the truth may be – that Islam presents an existential threat to Western civilization that cannot be mitigated or negotiated away. We are in a struggle for our lives that can only be won through great sacrifice and hardship and the jettisoning of many widely-held but misleading conceptions of the world. As I prepare to leave office, I say to my fellow countrymen and to all those in the West who cherish their heritage, the time to stand up and be counted is now. We are called today to the banner of our forbears who defended the European heritage against centuries of Muslim attack. With the help of Almighty God, we shall make them proud!”
Oh, wait. He didn’t say that last bit.