Tony Blair calls for greater focus on prevention strategy in fight against terrorism

Former prime minister says international community needs to reform education globally in order to root out religious prejudice

Thursday 13 September 2018 01:14
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Blair will use a speech in Washington DC to call for a rebalancing of counter-extremism efforts
Blair will use a speech in Washington DC to call for a rebalancing of counter-extremism efforts

A “security only” approach to fighting terrorism will fail unless a more complex strategy is used to deal with any threats, Tony Blair has said.

The former prime minister said more emphasis was needed on soft power and prevention initiations.

The Tony Blair Institute for Global Change launched a “global extremism monitor” which would be a “yearly tracker of global Islamist activity”.

Mr Blair will use a speech in Washington DC to call for a rebalancing of counter-extremism efforts so there is more concentration on prevention.

He said the international community needed to reform education globally in order to root out religious prejudice, and invest in fragile states where violent groups can flourish.

In a forward for the report, Mr Blair said: “Security measures will be vital. But security alone will never be enough. It will only slow the violence.

“Presently, the world collectively spends hundreds of billions of dollars every year on additional security in airports, protection and counterterrorism.

“It spends a small fraction of that on soft power measures that tackle the underlying ideology.

“A security-only approach is important to address public concerns, but ultimately it will never succeed.

“Security must be complemented by other measures, not just at a state level, but also multilaterally.”

The study states that the UK spends only 1 per cent of its anti-terrorism budget on “countering the ideology driving Islamist violence”.

The extremism monitor found that in 2017 there were 121 groups across the world “adhering to the same ideology”.

The report states that last year at least 84,023 people in 66 countries were killed due to violent Islamist extremism.

Extremists accounted for 57 per cent (48,164) of those killed, 26 per cent (21,923) were civilians, 12 per cent (10,337) were security personnel, and 4 per cent (3,307) non-state actors, like vigilantes.

The identities of 292 of those killed could not be affirmed.

The largest number of deaths, 34,853, occurred in Syria, and across the globe Muslims were the most frequent victims of Islamist violence.

In total there were 7,841 attacks in 48 countries in 2017, and related countermeasures in 66 countries.

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