Former Prime Minister Tony Blair has warned that support for Islamic State runs “deep into parts of Muslim societies” and that unless Britain did more to combat the threat, it faced terror attacks “worse than Paris”.
Speaking at the Library of Congress in Washington DC, Mr Blair welcomed Britain’s decision to start air strikes against Islamic State in Syria and called for Europe to tackle “the threat at our door”.
Mr Blair said: “Of course a large majority of Muslims completely reject Daesh-like jihadism and the terrorism which comes with it.
“However, in many Muslim countries large numbers also believe that the CIA or Jews were behind 9/11. Clerics who proclaim that non-believers and apostates must be killed or call for jihad against Jews have Twitter followings running into millions.
“The ideology has deep roots. We have to reach right the way down and uproot it.”
The Daily Mail says Mr Blair praised the British parliament’s decision to back airstrikes in Syria, saying that Europe must take the lead in combating Islamic State, although the West must use more than just force.
“We have to educate our own citizens and those now coming to our countries on what our values and way of life mean, why they matter to us and why we will defend them to the last.”
He called for a plan of “active engagement”, including supporting clerics and academics who criticise extremism, as well as encouraging greater diplomacy among nations in the region.
“This is a battle we will win,” he said. “There is no doubt in my mind of that. From one corner of the world to the other, the overwhelming majority of people want to live in harmony and peace.
“The Islamist fanatics will never kill the spirit of our civilisation. They will be defeated. We will endure.”
Britain has already launched seven precision-guided Paveway bombs against Islamic State oil fields in Syria since Wednesday’s vote.