Blair attacks ‘extremist culture’

New Delhi, September 8:

In a clear reference to Islamic seminaries in Pakistan, British Prime Minister Tony Blair has attacked the “teaching of hatred at a very, very early age,” calling it the root of global terrorism.

“When people say to me it’s all down to foreign policy, I point out that the roots of this go very deep. And the roots are found in the teaching of hatred at a very, very early age,” Blair told The Hindustan Times in an interview published today.

“It is not something that suddenly happened on September 11 in New York or even before that. It is something that has grown over a significant period of time. And you can only handle it by tackling the culture and ideology of extremism that breed it,” he said in response to a question about the Pakistani origin of those involved in serial bombings in London on July 7.

Blair, who arrived here on a three-day visit on Friday, added that it was important to support Pakistan in rooting out terrorism.

“We recognised that whatever disputes and differences there are, they are not going to be solved by terrorism. In fact, every single dispute I can think of in the world is made by terrorists whether it is Chechnya, Palestine, Afghanistan or Kashmir,” Blair said. Hailing the emergence of India as one of the major powers in the world, Blair said: “Whatever history we have together, the 21st century relationship between India and Britain is a partnership of equals. India is, frankly going to be one of the major powers of the world in the years to come and it’s important for us to have a modern, sensible relationship.”