(CNSNews.com) – Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said that religious freedom is necessary to help ensure “peace, prosperity, and security,” while speaking at the U.S. State Department’s Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom on July 17 in Washington, D.C.
“Religious freedom is a great cause, but vastly understated in its importance,” said Blair. “It is, of course, a moral cause, but the freedom to worship according to conscience and belief is also of deep relevance to peace, prosperity and security.”
“The consequence [of religious persecution],” he continued, “is more than the harm to the persecuted, serious though that is: the fact is, that all modern, successful, developed nations adhere to the principle of religious freedom, and they do also to the principle of the rule of law.”
“These principles are not incidental to their success, but integral,” said Blair. “The more tolerant a society, the more successful the economy.”
“We are at the beginning of a fourth industrial revolution which will alter radically how we live, work, and think, but it will all -- this change -- will all tend to shrink the world’s boundaries,” he said. “Educated people will prosper, the open-minded will flourish, and an essential component of success will be the ability to traverse the contours of faith and culture with ease.”
As examples of disputes between the extreme and the religiously tolerant, Blair pointed to the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict and war-torn African nations as chief exhibits of such violence occurring across the over 60 countries that experienced acts of terrorism last year.
There have been over 3,000 Israelis and Palestinians killed in acts of Palestinian violence from 1948-1999.
In adition, the Somali-based terrorist organization Al-Shabaab is one of the deadliest African terrorist organizations, killing 1,457 in 2017, 588 of which were murdered in a hotel explosion in Mogadishu.