The practice of faith is based on various dogmatic teaching and beliefs that bring people together. Religions, such as Christianity, Islam, Hindu, and Buddha command a significant following across various cultures. Beller illustrates that religious conspiracy and fundamentalism contribute to militarism (1). According to Beller, prayers, teachings, and beliefs across various cultural continuums have a higher correlation with wars witnessed across various jurisdictions (1). Accordingly, the author questions the link between the current militarism perpetuated through conspiracy and religious fundamentalism with teachings and dogmatic practices of the faith. Religious extremism has seen various armed conflicts and heinous acts perpetuated on innocent citizens. Although faith based traditions, beliefs, and practices are presented using well-developed principles, the connotations to fundamentalism that leads to conflict should be managed to reduce global wars.
Is Religion a Predictor of War and Crimes of justice?
Teachings of faith are expected to be firm inscriptions of morality and social justice in the community. Beller questions whether teachings of faith are founded on morality and societal inclusion or on punitive approaches high on non-tolerant ideologies (1). It is difficult to ascertain whether sporadic suicide attacks is used to punish innocent citizens who hold variant dogmatic following from the attackers or is just a sectional model used by illegal movement to advance war on innocent people (Beller 1; According to Esposito, illegal activities are committed through religion, but spiritual leaders’ are often swift to exonerate the practices of faith from such crimes please give an example give by the author concerning WTC(6). According to Esposito, when people discuss about faith, deliberations are restricted on their founding principles or ideals and distinguish them from activities, or realities of other followers (6).Whereas Judeo-Christian beliefs are sensitized to respect opinion of others, they may act as cover-up for heinous crimes contrary to what Islam belifs (Esposito 6). The teaching of various faiths should symbolize practices of believers and faith groups should be accountable to their followers.
Understanding the variances between the teachings of faith and the practices of believers is significant to manage the war perpetuated by religion. Actions of believers have substantial correlations with the entire teachings and practices of faith (Esposito 6). Esposito argues that if Christians or Buddhists participated in bombing the 2011 Twin towers, the responsibility would not be attributed to their religion. He further explains that “the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzak Rabin by a Jewish fundamentalist was not attributed to something in mainstream Judaism; nor was the clergy sex abuse scandal attributed to the heart of Catholicism” (Esposito 6). Esposito declares that just as the heinous crimes orchestrated by Christians and Buddhists are labeled as acts from fanatics, extremist or religious fundamentalists, similar position should be taken to Muslims who commit violence and participate in terrorism (6). The question in this school of thought is whether it is possible to create a distinct between religious clerics who participate in illegal crimes or warfare and the faith they represent, since administratively the two variables appear completely intertwined.
The catholic cleric sex abuse has been a subject of discussion for several decades. Sex crimes and Catholism have become a common theme in intra religious discussions due to pedophilia and other forms of abuse perpetuated by clerics (Esposito 6). Accordingly, Islam has also faced similar labeling based on terrorism and other economic crimes (Esposito 6). However, the approach of Pope Francis to defrock ex-cardinal Theodore McCarricks his priesthood rights is a measure that can manage the issue (Harlan par 1). Theodore McCarricks was a powerful power broker and archbishop of Washington but accused of several sex abuse to children. The statement from the Catholic Church found McCarrick guilty of two charges of “soliciting sex during confession and committing “sins” with minors and adults “with the aggravating factor of the abuse of power” (Harlan par 3). If such efforts are applied across all religious platforms, fundamentalism and war crimes committed by members of various faiths can be managed.
Majority of States in the United States (U.S) regard Islam as a religion that is pro war, religious activism, and terrorism. Whereas several citizens in the U.S. accept Islam as a religion, majority are skeptical to accept Muslims as citizens due to various negative publicity from columnists, television, and other public media platforms with large audiences (Esposito 20). The Muslim religion is illustrated as a threat to European and American people, especially when analyzed from the values and principles of tolerance, pluralism, and civil liberty (Esposito 20). However, although the catholic leadership has taken responsibility of crimes committed and made pledges for their resolution, the muslim leadership should follow suit. Religions must rebuke acts of violence and war crimes by fundamentalists and accept responsibility and manage the negative activities committed in the name of religion. Such actions will limit the use of religion for illegal activities and properly label perpetrators as criminals.
Politics plays a significant role in creating an enabling environment for religious practices to succeed. Vlas elucidates that religious thrives in an atmosphere of politicization of belief and practices of faith (299). For instance, when Mazen Asbahi, was attacked for serving on the board of the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT), he resigned as coordinator of President Obama campaign team, which links an influence of politics on religion (Esposito 20). It is significant that practices such as religious insurgency, fundamentalism, and terrorism committed from the perspectives of the Islam faith are managed as a model to delink heinous practices from religion just as the catholic faith has demonstrated.
Secularizing Religion Through Sociocultural Idealism
The Islam faith faces significant attacks from western social and political ideologies. Majority of U.S. citizens reagrds Muslims as foreigners and Islam as a foreign culture (Esposito 23). The actions of Muslims such as wearing of the hijab, removing of shoes during worship, and prayering on Fridays, including the sporadic construction of mosques are considered a secular and non-westernized practice (Esposito 23). Esposito avers that major discussions about Muslims faith border around the abolishment of corresponding cultures to gain acceptance in the American or European philosophies (23). Hence, Islam faces challenges of acceptance, whichtriggers religious fundamentalism (Esposito 23). The activities of September 11, the collapse of the Oslo peace process, the war in majority of Middle East countries, and the several sporadic terrorist attacks in the world organized and committed by Muslims may reinforce the belief that Islam is an inherently violent religion (Omar 67). Although several Muslims directly oppose this perspective, Omar indicates that the economic and sociopolitical environments under which Islam is associated with is extremely violent and even Muslims agree that Islam religion allows and legitimizes the use of violence under certain circumstances (Omar 67). However, according to various aspects mentioned above,Islam is linked to extremism, terrorism, and general war, both from a people’s perceptual approach and with the dogmatic teaching of Islam.
Muslims in western nations face significant identity crisis. For example, both westerners and Muslims struggle to answer whether their identity is American Muslims or Muslims in America or if they belong to European Muslim or or Muslsims who live in Europe (Esposito 23). The identity crises for Muslims should be managed to limit the consequential effects, which may result to violence and wars. The fragmentations in religion have contributed to religious violence and intolerance. According to Esposito, the split witnessed in Islam to various factional groups, such as Zaydi, Ismaili, and Ithna Ashari brought various beliefs and ideology that changed the approaches to beliefs and practices of faith (53). Whereas the five principles beliefs and practices of the Islam are Zakat, Saum, Ashahadah, salat, and hajas (“Lecture Notes 3”), interpretations of the practice is influenced from the perceptions of the spiritual rulers. Notably, Esposito asserts that Islamic reforms have developed reasonable infrastructure that resonates with the modern day generations (94). For example, changes of the approaches for devotion to God and traditional laws guiding inheritance, divorce, marriage, and contracts are done in conformity with the current modern cultural practices (Esposito 95). Such changes, also witnessed across the Judeo-Christian practices have the potential to change perception of believers (Esposito 95) Thus, managing faith based content for public consumption is important to correct systemic flaws that evidence the need for violence between groups with contrasting ideological positions.
Religion and Abuse of Right as Pathways for War
Societal cohesion and peace are principles that exemplify faith and religious practice. Basedau illustrates that teachings and practices of Christianity and Islam do not promote radicalization and they are always in favor of peace (6). However, blends of sociopolitical cultures within countries are main causes of religious fundamentalism and war. As such, poor rights infrastructure, such as weak governance, corruption, lack of socioeconomic programs lead to vulnerability and increase the possibility of radicalization (Basedau 6). Esposito acknowledges that unless political liberation is attained, radicalization, terrorism, and political instability will continue (155). Terrorist thrive through a culture of dishonest practices, which is forbidden by main teachings of faith to perform crimes against the people or a majority government (Therefore, enhancing cohesions among people and promotngpolitical liberation are tools that will reducewar and radicalization.
Observation of rights including women right in the society has the potential to limit religious wars. It is important that future prospects of war are managed comprehensively. For example, Esposito explains that when American women were asked, “What do you admire least about the Muslim or Islamic world?’’ among the top responses is ‘‘gender inequality,’’ associated with veiling, female segregation, illiteracy, and powerlessness” (150). Accordingly, when women rights are enhanced within religious practices, possibility of conflict are reduced. For instance, majority of baptists, evangelicals, and catholic faiths do not believe women can be priests, similar to the practice in Islam that limits women from attending congregational prayers and or become imams (Esposito 150). Therefore,when the world observe women rights and freedoms, including other interrelated practices, occurrence of possible violence are reduced.
Clerics may interpret beliefs and practices of faith to suit follower’s situations. In an effort to resonate religion with peoples’ beliefs, ministers have advanced teachings that lead to war and radicalization. Religious fundamentalistsinterpret scripture in a way that dissolution the attainment of global peace. Therefore, to enhance peace and co-existence, it is important that all faiths take responsibility of heinous acts committed by their members. The move by the Catholic Church to suspend clerics found culpable of crimes is a significant approach that other faiths, such a Islam and Jews should undertake to rid the world of serial killers masquerading as fighting holy warfare. Faith is a convener of people and illustrator of global harmony due to the uniform practices. Therefore, to advance faith-based beliefs and practices that promote deaths, fundamentalism and an appetite for chaos is against several global cultures thus cannot be accepted as sincere religious practices. Governments and religious leaders should address extremism, radicalization and crimes perpetuated by various faiths and ensure the protection of the innocent lives often killed due to religions wars and terrorism is achieved.
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Harlan, Chico. “Ex-cardinal McCarrick Defrocked by Vatican for Sexual Abuse” The Washington Post. 2019, www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/ex-cardinal-mccarrick-defrocked-by-vatican-for-sexual-abuse/2019/02/16/0aa365d4-2e2c-11e9-8ad3-9a5b113ecd3c_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.2152dd2db6c6 Accessed 4 March 2019.
Omar, A. Rashied. “Islam and Violence Revisited.” Journal of Ecumenical Studies, vol. 52, no. 1, 2017, pp. 67-78. www.researchgate.net/profile/Rashied_Omar/publication/316923697_Islam_and_Violence_Revisited/links/59198847aca2722d7cfdccf4/Islam-and-Violence-Revisited.pdf. Accessed 4 March 2019.
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Vlas, Natalia. “Is religion Inherently Violent? Religion as a Threat and Promise for the Global Security.” Politics and Religion Journal, vol. 4, no. 2, 2017, pp. 297-314. politicsandreligionjournal.com/index.php/prj/article/download/134/136 Accessed 4 March 2019.