From Religious Extremism to European Reform: What Leaders of the Day Say in Davos

The World Economic Forum hosts 2.500 participants from more than 90 countries, including 40 heads of state.

Tony Blair earlier today denied that Western intervention is the root of the recent religious intolerance during a panel discussion under the topic “Religion: A Pretext for Conflict?” in Davos. The former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom was asked by a questioner whether his decision to invade Iraq is a contributing factor to today’s extremism where he supported that it cannot all be blamed to intervention. He brought up the example of Syria where, as he claims, sectarianism is thriving without any Western involvement.

The British Labour Party politician supported that education can stop religion being used to drive conflict. Shaykh Hamza Yusuf Hanson, a US educational activist in Berkeley University who joined the discussion, answered to mr Blair that education is important but there are other reasons, like unemployment in the Middle East, working as driving powers towards extremism. Finally when mr Blair was asked how religion can be used to defuse fear he stated that the best way is to bring people from different religious backgrounds to live together under the common values of liberty and freedom.

The Italian Prime Minister Mattero Renzi addressing the forum on Transformational Leadership stated that for Italy in 2015 the most important priority in terms of structural reform is credibility. He also stressed the importance of a new European direction suggesting that “Europe must stress the importance of growth and public and private investment, not only austerity”.

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