He warns that the struggle against a violent Islamist minority symbolised by the 9/11 attack on the US a decade ago is ongoing and unresolved. He fears that the West misunderstands how to wage this struggle -- that it requires both fortitude and an embracing attitude towards faith and religion.
"For example, the fastest growing part of the world for Christianity is China. You've got major evangelical movements starting in Latin America and obviously you've got the expansion of Islam; there will be a doubling of the Arab population over the next 30 years. So religious faith is important and it's growing. Yet at the same time globalization is throwing everyone together."
This leads Blair to his intellectual conclusion and current career preoccupation. "The issue is this: if faith is becoming a badge of identity and it says: 'I am what I am in opposition to you', then that's when religion is dangerous. If, on the other hand, faith becomes a humanizing and civilizing set of values it can play an important role in making globalization work."
A powerful trend in Islam has been the pushing aside of moderate clerics and thinkers and the embrace of hardline dogma. Blair warns that across Europe there is a "strong reaction" to Islamization and "some of that finds its way into appalling extremism and sectarianism. He attributes the high profile of immigration in many European elections to the depth of tensions over Islam, religion and culture. "I would say that all over Europe this is an issue," Blair says.
He hammers the need to manage the rise of religious faith and the consequences of its mismanagement with the risk of resulting violence. "There is a real risk," he says. "And I think it is the most substantial risk we face."
"The threat we saw that culminated on 9/11 is still with us. It is still claiming thousands of lives every year. But more importantly it is causing great tensions within the Arab world and the Middle East and also between Islam and the West. I think it is unresolved. The key to resolving it is, in fact, openly and clearly to provide means by which peoples of different faiths come together and interact with one another."
For Blair, the West must be prepared to fight for its values and deploy hard power when required. These values of "sensible, decent democracy" are the same values that most Muslims want for their own societies.
Asked about the key to successful integration, Blair says: "To insist on diversity but also to insist upon a common space, common values and common practices.