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Between Terror and Tolerance

Between Terror and Tolerance: Religious Leaders, Conflict, and Peacemaking

Copyright Date: 2011
Pages: 280
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  • Book Info
    Between Terror and Tolerance
    Book Description:

    Civil war and conflict within countries is the most prevalent threat to peace and security in the opening decades of the twenty-first century. A pivotal factor in the escalation of tensions to open conflict is the role of elites in exacerbating tensions along identity lines by giving the ideological justification, moral reasoning, and call to violence. Between Terror and Tolerance examines the varied roles of religious leaders in societies deeply divided by ethnic, racial, or religious conflict. The chapters in this book explore cases when religious leaders have justified or catalyzed violence along identity lines, and other instances when religious elites have played a critical role in easing tensions or even laying the foundation for peace and reconciliation. This volume features thematic chapters on the linkages between religion, nationalism, and intolerance, transnational intra-faith conflict in the Shi'a-Sunni divide, and country case studies of societal divisions or conflicts in Egypt, Israel and Palestine, Kashmir, Lebanon, Nigeria, Northern Ireland, Sri Lanka, Sudan, and Tajikistan. The concluding chapter explores the findings and their implications for policies and programs of international non-governmental organizations that seek to encourage and enhance the capacity of religious leaders to play a constructive role in conflict resolution.

    eISBN: 978-1-58901-797-9
    Subjects: Political Science, Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Introduction: Religious Leaders, Conflict, and Peacemaking
    (pp. 1-8)

    The horrific, coordinated terror bomb attacks on mass transit targets that rocked London during the morning rush hour of July 7, 2005—killing 52 and injuring more than 770—led to a quick and strategically considered response by the government of then–Prime Minister Tony Blair. With findings from investigations and the bombers’ own videotaped statement that the bombers were British citizens, not al- Qa’ida from abroad, and that the bombings were inspired by radicalized Islamist clerics, Blair’s government moved to expel the most inflammatory religious leaders believed to have preached “glorification” of violence.¹ This instance underscores a common understanding...

  5. CHAPTER 1 Religion, Nationalism, and Intolerance
    (pp. 9-28)

    The end of the Cold War and the collapse of the former Soviet Union reminded the world of the importance of ethnic and religious nationalism, a topic eclipsed in two ways by the Cold War. Countries such as Ukraine, long subjected to Soviet control, started in the late 1980s to mount an independence campaign that was, and still is, strongly colored by religion.¹ Something similar happened in the struggle between Azerbaijan and Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh shortly after the two states gained national independence from the Soviet Union. The Bosnian war, from 1992–95, was the result of the disintegration of...

  6. CHAPTER 2 Religious Leaders, Sectarianism, and the Sunni–Shi’a Divide in Islam
    (pp. 29-48)

    Under what social conditions do Sunni and Shi’a religious leaders justify or catalyze violence along identity lines, and under what social conditions do they lay the foundation for, advocate for, and sometimes mediate peace? These are the overarching questions that this chapter seeks to explore. The relevancy of this inquiry is supported by two objective facts about the contemporary Islamic world that give this topic a pressing new urgency.

    Religion is a key marker of identity today in the Muslim world across the Sunni–Shi’a divide. While this has not always been the case, recent polling confirms that religion trumps...

  7. CHAPTER 3 Between Intolerance and Coexistence: The Vatican, Maronites, and the war in Lebanon
    (pp. 49-68)

    Lebanon is a very interesting and unique case to study the role that religious leaders, both Christian and Muslim, play in conflict escalation and mitigation. Throughout history, religious leaders have played a key role in mobilizing their communities in empowering their followers or inciting them against other groups. The other dimension to underscore is the interconnection that exists between local religious leaders and the transnational network linking to regional and global religious institutions. Most of Lebanon’s major communities are associated with the large Lebanese diaspora living outside the country. The Maronites have been linked to the Vatican and the worldwide...

  8. CHAPTER 4 Globalization, Religion, and Nationalism in Israel and Palestine
    (pp. 69-84)

    As Western neoliberal economic architects were triumphantly remaking local and international politics in their own image after the Cold War, conservative and religious forces were preparing to crack the new edifice of globalization. Neoliberal economists and their proselytes were scarcely able to savor their victory over communism as they rushed to rearm themselves against the perceived dangers of fundamentalism after September 11. Images from the 1990s of “Jihad versus McWorld” or “the clash of civilizations” now seemed like sinister prophecies of an ever more fragile world left to its new laissez-faire destiny. Yet the more uncertain, greedy, and materialistic that...

  9. CHAPTER 5 Egypt and the Legacy of Sectarianism
    (pp. 85-104)

    On January 6, 2010, three Muslim men armed with automatic weapons shot Christian worshipers as they left services celebrating the Orthodox Christmas Eve. Seven people were killed and several others wounded. The assault took place in Nag Hammadi, a city in upper (southern) Egypt, where tensions between the Muslim majority and Coptic Christian minority have long been an issue. Although the Egyptian government downplayed the sectarian motivations—arguing this was simply a criminal act—the attack sparked riots and intercommunal clashes in surrounding areas. It also shocked Christians throughout the country, resurrecting long-standing questions about their status in Egyptian society....

  10. CHAPTER 6 Religion, War, and Peacemaking in Sudan: Shari’a, Identity Politics, and Human Rights
    (pp. 105-122)

    Sudan has attracted global attention for its chronic conflicts, history of repressive rule, and human rights violations. Few African nations are as deeply divided or have experienced as much chronic war and conflict since its independence in 1956. Indeed, decades of war and poor governance have brought the country to the brink, and the South will separate in 2011. However, this oft-mentioned fact fails to mention the nearly permanent state of war and the suppression of rebellion that characterized the prior colonial period, 1898–1956. Notably, the Sudan was the only African region to defeat and expel initial British colonization...

  11. CHAPTER 7 Nigeria’s Religious Leaders in an Age of Radicalism and Neoliberalism
    (pp. 123-144)

    At one level, Nigeria’s religious leaders are not unlike their counterparts across the continent in having to sustain and represent their organizations, speak out on matters of moral import, and decide how they are going to work with, around, or against Africa’s often autocratic political leaders and influential economic elites. But viewed in terms of demographics and strategic importance, the stakes are much higher for those exercising religious leadership in Africa’s most populous nation. Nigeria ranks as one of the world’s largest oil producers; it has developed a reputation as a regional peacekeeper, yet its internal political order is unstable,...

  12. CHAPTER 8 Just Enough to Hate—Not Enough to Love: Religious Leaders in Northern Ireland
    (pp. 145-168)

    Ireland, both North and South, remains one of the most religious countries in Western Europe (Mitchell 2006, 25). When civil war broke out in Northern Ireland in 1968, 95 percent of Catholics went to mass every week, and 45 percent of Protestants attended weekly church—figures far higher than the rest of the mostly Protestant United Kingdom. The figure for Catholic attendance in the Republic of Ireland in the same year was 94 percent. Even today, a survey in 2007 revealed that there are significantly more current regular churchgoers than average in Northern Ireland—the highest at 45 percent than...

  13. CHAPTER 9 Religion, War, and Peace in Tajikistan
    (pp. 169-182)

    Social identities do not arise as a result of conflict between groups, but they do have the potential to become more salient and evolve into mobilized form. They do not cause or initiate conflict, but they become a powerful tool of social mobilization provoked by leaders. As David Little argues in chapter 1 of this book, social identity becomes a tool for the groups “claiming the ‘right to rule’ within a given territory based upon competing conceptions of nationhood.” Thus, social identities should be understood neither as sources nor as consequences of conflict but instead as a form of consciousness...

  14. CHAPTER 10 The Spoiler and the Reconciler: Buddhism and the Peace Process in Sri Lanka
    (pp. 183-200)

    I have occasionally lamented with Sri Lankan Buddhist monks about the manner in which the Sri Lankan sangha (the monastic community) has become a global exemplar. When evidence is presented that no religion is immune to becoming a vehicle for violence, Sri Lanka’s orange-robed monks are pointed to as an example of a militant form of Buddhism. The images presented as evidence—monks burning former peace facilitator Norway’s flag, a monk assassin, throngs of monks disrupting peace rallies—are persuasive. Sri Lanka’s sangha has earned this reputation due to monks who have drawn on Buddhist scripture to define the “national...

  15. CHAPTER 11 Piety and Politics: Religious Leadership and the Conflict in Kashmir
    (pp. 201-226)

    In 1912 the revivalist poet Maqbool Shah Kraalwari published Greeznama, an extended lament about the subversive syncretism of the Kashmiri peasantry:

    They regard the mosque and the temple as equal,

    seeing no difference between muddy puddles and the ocean,

    They know not the sacred, honourable or the respectable (Kraalwari 1912, 5).

    Less than a century ago, the landscape Kraalwari described has disappeared: as the ugly shrine-land conflagration that set the state ablaze in 2008 demonstrated, mass politics in Jammu and Kashmir appears to be driven almost exclusively by questions of religious identity. Yet the fact remains that clerics and religious...

  16. Conclusion From Terror to Tolerance to Coexistence in Deeply Divided Societies
    (pp. 227-240)

    Conflict emanating from “internal” wars—conflicts within states—remains the principal, immediate threat to international peace and security into the opening decades of the twenty-first century. Today’s most violent crises most occur in countries riven by a volatile mix of factors that give rise to violence, often including religious drivers or manifestations of deep social divisions. Indeed, most country-specific conflict assessment instruments in use in the policy arena today are driven by the reality of analyzing intersections between “need, greed, and creed” (Arnson and Zartman 2005). Thus, as this volume shows, religion cannot be fully isolated as a singular “root...

  17. List of Contributors
    (pp. 241-246)
  18. Index
    (pp. 247-270)