Muslim Students in Indonesia Grill Blair on Policies

March 31, 2006

Source: The Times,,2704-2111915,00.html

On March 31, 2006 The Times reported, "Indonesian schoolchildren gave Tony Blair a lesson about the vast scale of his mission to bridge the gulf between Islam and the West yesterday. On a one-day visit to the world’s largest Muslim nation, both to mark its move from dictatorship to democracy and to show his support for the voice of 'moderate Islam', the Prime Minister learnt in a Jakarta classroom that the next generation of Muslims are just as suspicious as their elders of the motives of America and the West. After talks with President Yudhoyono, Mr Blair went to the Pondok Pesantren Darunnajah, an Islamic boarding school twinned with the Holy Family School in Keighley, West Yorkshire. He was given an enthusiastic welcome by pupils as he witnessed displays of martial arts and dancing and heard the girls’ school band serenade him with John Lennon’s Imagine. But during a question and answer session he came face to face with the matters that preoccupy young Muslims when they told him in straightforward language about their concerns over their 'brothers and sisters' in Iraq and Palestine."