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Blair Seeks Global Conference on Islamic Extremism

Tony Blair, right, is shown at headquarters of London Ambulance Services
British Prime Minister Tony Blair told parliament he is considering hosting an international meeting aimed at exploring ways of combating Islamic extremism.

Tony Blair says he thinks an international conference aimed at tackling Islamic extremism would be useful and he would be willing to host such a gathering.

He made the statement during Prime Minister's Question Time in the House of Commons.

Mr. Blair told his fellow politicians that he had spoken recently to Pakistan's president, General Pervez Musharraf about dealing in particular with religious schools, known as madrassas, that in some cases preach what he called dangerous extremism.

"The roots of this go very, very deep and they are not always to be found in our own country, but to be found in other countries as well," he noted. "And we are also looking at the possibility of holding a conference which would bring together some of the main countries who are both: areas of concern and who have been closely involved in these issues in order to try and take concerted action right across the world to try and root out this type of extremist teaching."

One of the four London bombers, Shahzad Tanweer from the English city of Leeds, is thought by security officials in Pakistan to have spent a few days at a religious school in Lahore, where some militant groups have clandestine operations.

Mr. Blair added that 26 countries had been attacked by al-Qaida or groups sympathetic to it and he felt that because of this, there is a large amount of support and understanding in the world about the problem and a sharing of ideas would be mutually beneficial.