Friday, February 18, 2011

Blair's Faith Foundation: Why We Do Interfaith

Tony Blair's glamorous lieutenant Ruth Turner on why we 'do interfaith’

Since she was appointed as the first chief executive of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, Ruth Turner has moved in mysterious ways.

Now, however, she has spoken for the first time about why she and the former prime minister decided to launch the charity together.

“When I started working with Tony Blair on setting up the faith foundation in 2007, we were determined that we’d try to find ways of working with people who didn’t normally 'do interfaith’,” she says, in a reference to Alastair Campbell’s remark to a journalist that Blair would not “do God”.

Turner, who previously worked as Blair’s head of government relations at 10 Downing Street, says: “Too often we put religion in the 'too difficult’ box. I can understand why, but it means so much to such great proportions of the world’s population that no matter how difficult it is to talk about religion, it’s dangerous not to.”

The practising Roman Catholic, 40, was arrested during the “cash for honours” investigation, although she was not charged with any offence. “Interfaith is the antidote to extremism,” she adds. “It’s not some kind of warm, fuzzy sideshow while the conflict rages elsewhere.”

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