Religion and peacebuilding

Authored by: Mohammed Abu-Nimer

Routledge Handbook of Peacebuilding

Print publication date:  January  2013
Online publication date:  February  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415690195
eBook ISBN: 9780203068175
Adobe ISBN: 9781135082130


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The fields of religious peacebuilding in general and interfaith dialogue in particular have grown tremendously in the last two decades. Peacebuilding scholars and practitioners have been advocating for a more central role for religious peacebuilding interventions. The primary argument for such calls is based on the assumption that religious identity is a key influence on protracted conflict dynamics, especially in areas in which political parties have managed to manipulate their community's identity in ways that place their religious differences at the core or center of the conflict. For example, in the case of post-Saddam Iraq, certain Shia, Sunni, and American political leaders have often cited that religious differences between Shia and Sunni are the root causes of this conflict. Thus reframing the conflict from power sharing, center and periphery, rich elites and poor masses into uni-dimensional religious differences between Shia and Sunni has provided international and local civil society groups with the opportunity and opening to begin emphasizing the need for interfaith and intrafaith dialogue programs in post-Saddam Iraq. Such activities were not allowed and did not exist in Iraq prior to the war.

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