We present as follows a quote from Tony Blair, Prime Minister of United Kingdom, which was published quite recently in Foreign Affairs, January/February 2007. With regard to his views on the Qur’an and the religion of Islam, it is obvious that the deen has a proven track-record of religious tolerance unparalleled in world history and is conceded by historians in the likes of De Lacy O Leary and Thomas W. Arnold. Unlike Christianity — in brief, a barbaric and intolerant religion which only appeal is that it is coated in Roman paganistic rituals — calling for the destruction of religious communities different from its own (and which was exemplified in the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition and even today in Iraq and Afghanistan), Islam brought its shining light to world civilizations, setting an unprecedented example of religious tolerance and prosperity.
The quote is as follows. Highlighted emphasis is our own.
- To me, the most remarkable thing about the Koran is how progressive it is. I write with great humility as a member of another faith. As an outsider, the Koran strikes me as a reforming book, trying to return Judaism and Christianity to their origins, much as reformers attempted to do with the Christian church centuries later. The Koran is inclusive. It extols science and knowledge and abhors superstition. It is practical and far ahead of its time in attitudes toward marriage, women, and governance.
Under its guidance, the spread of Islam and its dominance over previously Christian or pagan lands were breathtaking. Over centuries, Islam founded an empire and led the world in discovery, art, and culture. The standard-bearers of tolerance in the early Middle Ages were far more likely to be found in Muslim lands than in Christian ones.
It would be interesting, of course, to see the Christian missionaries scrambling to reply to this statement by Tony Blair. For more elaboration on the relation between Islam and other religions, see our article: Islam and Other Religions as well.
And only God knows best!