In his autobiography, the much-maligned Tony Blair wrote that after 9/11 he thought the problem was only with a small number of crazies who had nothing to do with real Islam. But over time he came to understand that he was mistaken. He realised that the terrorist threat had the deepest roots in the most profound crisis of the Islamic world, which was in turn producing the most terrible fruits in ours.
And since 9/11 (before actually, but we were not looking) it has only taken a cursory glance at the daily news from the Islamic world, story after story, relentless and appalling, to confirm Blair’s argument; each new and shocking low has proven to be only another bloody station on the way to behaviour that has frankly departed from any human norms.
Yet the ‘small number of crazies’ idea just will not die. ‘There are a handful of wicked fanatics against the rest of us,’ argued Jonathan Freedland, in an otherwise astute piece of writing in the Guardian after the murder last week of 17 people in Paris.