Excerpts of Speech by
Prime Minister Tony Blair

(not reported in the US media)

When we act to bring to account those that committed the atrocity of 11 September, we do so, not out of bloodlust. We do so because it is just. We do not act against Islam. The true followers of Islam are our brothers and sisters in this struggle. Bin Laden is no more obedient to the proper teaching of the Koran than those Crusaders of the 12th Century who pillaged and murdered, represented the teaching of the Gospel.

It is time the West confronted its ignorance of Islam. Jews, Muslims and Christians are all children of Abraham.

This is the moment to bring the faiths closer together in understanding of our common values and heritage, a source of unity and strength. It is time also for parts of Islam to confront prejudice against America and not only Islam but parts of western societies too.

America has its faults as a society, as we have ours. But I think of the Union of America born out of the defeat of slavery. I think of its Constitution, with its inalienable rights granted to every citizen still a model for the world. I think of a black man, born in poverty, who became Chief of their Armed Forces and is now Secretary of State Colin Powell and I wonder frankly whether such a thing could have happened here.

I think of the Statue of Liberty and how many refugees, migrants and the impoverished passed its light and felt that if not for them, for their children, a new world could indeed be theirs.

I think of a country where people who do well, don't have questions asked about their accent, their class, their beginnings but have admiration for what they have done and the success they've achieved.

I think of those New Yorkers I met, still in shock, but resolute; the fire fighters and police, mourning their comrades but still head held high.

I think of all this and I reflect: yes, America has its faults, but it is a free country, a democracy, it is our ally and some of the reaction to 11 September betrays a hatred of America that shames those that feel it.

So I believe this is a fight for freedom. And I want to make it a fight for justice too. Justice not only to punish the guilty. But justice to bring those same values of democracy and freedom to people round the world.

And I mean: freedom, not only in the narrow sense of personal liberty but in the broader sense of each individual having the economic and social freedom to develop their potential to the full. That is what community means, founded on the equal worth of all.

The starving, the wretched, the dispossessed, the ignorant, those living in want and squalor from the deserts of Northern Africa to the slums of Gaza, to the mountain ranges of Afghanistan: they too are our cause.

This is a moment to seize.

The Kaleidoscope has been shaken. The pieces are in flux. Soon they will settle again. Before they do, let us re-order this world around us.

Today, humankind has the science and technology to destroy itself or to provide prosperity to all. Yet science can't make that choice for us.

Only the moral power of a world acting as a community, can. "By the strength of our common endeavour we achieve more together than we can alone".

For those people who lost their lives on 11 September and those that mourn them; now is the time for the strength to build that community. Let that be their memorial.”




Full speech by Prime Minister Tony Blair
www.labour.org.uk


 

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