Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has commented in this report:
“I think it is important that we emphasise that this battle is not over – the narrative that Bin Laden represented which is that Islam is in fundamental battle with the west, that it is at war with us, that narrative still exists I’m afraid,” he said.
There is some important truth here. Osama did represent the narrative that “Islam is in fundamental battle with the west” – and this is indeed a narrative that must be countered. But I think it’s worth emphasising that it’s both ends of that narrative that need re-interpretation. It’s not only important to recognise that Osama doesn’t fully represent Islam (although that itself is important); it’s also important to recognise that the world is not made up of the Islamic East on the one hand and “us” in “the west” on the other. Islam, Christianity, and Secularism (among others) all find a home in “the west” – and I can’t help but wonder whether perpetuating the myth of a singular “west” simply serves the perpetuation of the narrative that “it is at war with us.”