As most people will now know, Tommy Robinson tweeted his approval of a piece written by the former Prime Minister,Tony Blair, in which he criticised Islam. Robinson said that there is indeed a ‘problem with Islam’ and that what Blair now says ‘confirms everything we say’.
Predictably Tony Blair didn’t like this pollution of his public image. After all Tony Blair is all about public image. Thus Blair swiftly distanced himself from the EDL.
Blair’s ‘office’ said:
"You obviously haven't read the article properly - there is nothing in common with what you have to say."
Even if this is false and Robinson had read the article ‘properly’, Blair would still have needed to claim otherwise. Any connection to the EDL is of course an abomination to these people.
Interestingly Blair, or his office, didn’t say exactly how Robinson (or the EDL) had got the article ‘all wrong’. Nonetheless image, not truth, is what has always matters to Tony Blair (as well as his office).
Despite all that, I think it was a bad mistake for Robinson to have accused Blair of fuelling divides within communities because of his foreign policy in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is what Robinson actually said:
"u invaded Islamic countries #war criminal then when Muslims react and get hostile it's against us in towns like Luton.”
Put simply, I disagree with Tommy Robinson on this one - or at least partly. Robinson is effectively ‘buying into the narrative’ (as academics and Leftists put it) of Muslims and Islamists. On one hand, Robinson is stressing the culpability of Islam itself. On the other hand, he seems to be blaming our intervention in Iraq (as well as Afghanistan?) for what happened to Lee Rigby. But that can’t be true.
European and American Islamoterrorism predates the intervention in Afghanistan (2001) and the war in Iraq (2003). There were Islamic bombings in Europe and America in both the 1980s and 1990s. For example, the World Trade Centre was bombed in 1993 and in Washington, in 1977, Muslims carried out a siege and then killed people partly because of a film about Muhammad which was being shown in that city. Many other Islamic terror-plots have been foiled since the 1980s – very many! Indeed the 9/11 attack obviously predates our intervention in Afghanistan anyway.
The Islamic jihad is itself 1,400 years old. In terms of 20th century Islamic terrorism alone, and in terms of just one Islamic group, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood - its campaign of bombings, assassinations and instigated riots date back to the late 1920s.
Sure, Iraq may not have helped. The problem is, if it weren’t for Iraq in 2003 and Afghanistan, these young male Islamists would still find something to prove their jihadist and Islamic credentials. They may cite Palestine and Israel. Or perhaps the banning of the burka in France. Or, even more disturbingly, the former rule of Islam in India and indeed in Spain. (In fact very Muslims do want to reconquer both Spain and India ‘for Islam’!)
Above and beyond all this is the fact that no UK troops, or American ones for that matter, are in Iraq today. The final British troops left in May 2009 (four years ago). And the last American troops left Iraq in 2011. Today Iraq has a Shia government… unless what was done to Lee Rigby was retrospective punishment or retribution for 2003. In that case, when Muslims talk about India and Spain as ‘Islamic lands’, they too are justified in demanding retrospective justice and retribution. After all, they were thrown out of these lands – even though they had conquered them in the first place!
On the issue of Tony Blair.
Of course Blair is going to distance himself from the EDL. Even if what he said about the ‘problem within Islam’ was word for word what the EDL says, he would still try to distance himself.
Like Blair, certain politicians, councillors, newspaper journalists, etc. are finally tackling issues (such as Muslim radicalisation, Muslim grooming, etc.) which were systematically ignored until the EDL and other groups/individuals started to bring them to their attention. Then they realised that they could no longer ignore such things. Yet despite all that they still insist on accusing people of being ‘far right’ and ‘bigoted’ because of their criticism of Islam and of Muslims (as Muslims). This means that only now it is right and correct to be critical. It’s also only acceptable to be critical if you're one of them and if you criticise in the way they criticise. In other words, these slow learners (when it comes to Islam) want to set the entire agenda when it comes to criticism of Islam and Muslims. Anyone who does so outside that agenda, or independently of the established political parties and newspapers, will still be treated with contempt. And yet most of these people still know next to nothing about Islam, its history and the massive and systematic persecution of non-Muslims by Muslims throughout the world.