Blair calls for religious tolerance in globalised world

GREATER understanding between faiths is needed to ensure a peaceful future in an increasingly globalised world, former prime minister Tony Blair said last night.

Mr Blair discussed the work of his faith foundation with an audience of about 1,000 people in London.

He said: "The world we live in today is a world of globalisation where people have been pushed together and forced to live alongside each other.

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"The question is, can we construct in that world an era of peaceful co-existence, or do people start to identify themselves as of one race or faith or culture as against the other one?

"The aim of the foundation is to try to bring greater understanding between all our different faiths."

Mr Blair said his foundation's work was based around "programmes of practical action", including one in which children from around the world spoke to each other on the internet.

He said a failure to recognise the benefits of diversity could lead to an "uncertain and possibly violent future".

Mr Blair was the guest speaker at the GG2 Leadership & Diversity Awards at the Grosvenor House hotel in Park Lane.

Asked whether he missed life in No10, he said he did not, but added that people were much more polite to former prime ministers.

He said he missed many of the people involved in politics, but the sight of his parliamentary private secretary, who helped him prepare for Prime Minister's Questions, could still leave him depressed.

The awards, run by the Asian Media & Marketing Group, are dubbed the "ethnic Oscars" and recognise the role of ethnic and religious minorities in Britain.