When you consider the fact that religions proclaim themselves to be all about “love”, “kindness”, “charity” and “forgiveness”, it is amazing how much trouble the members of these religions have getting along with one another. Recent news stories:
More than 200 people have been killed in two days of clashes between Christians and Muslims in central Nigeria, the Red Cross said yesterday, during the worst unrest in the country for years.
One thousand Christians were today trapped inside the Coptic Orthodox Church of the Virgin Mary in West Ain Shams,Cairo, after more than twenty thousand Muslims attacked them with stones and butane gas cylinders. The Church’s priest Father Antonious said that the situation is extremely dangerous.
Obama was dogged during the campaign by the allegation that he was a secret Muslim, an Islamic Manchurian candidate. Even some commentators who didn’t accuse him of being a practicing Muslim delved into his childhood in Indonesia in search of evidence that he practiced, however briefly, the faith of his father or stepfather. Obama is a Christian, but Hussein, his middle name, is a common Muslim name. To capitalize on anti-Muslim sentiment, detractors took to calling him “Barack Hussein Obama.” (John McCain, to his credit, denounced a radio host in Ohio who “warmed up” a Republican rally by using all three of Obama’s names.)
Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed said African Union troops would be welcome in Somalia, most of which is under the control of Islamic insurgents. The Ethiopians, by contrast, have been seen by many as a catalyst for violence during their two-year presence here…
The Ethiopian government has long said it wanted to withdraw after stabilizing Somalia. Its opponents say Ethiopia, a mainly Orthodox Christian country with a Muslim minority, was interested mainly in preventing an Islamist regime in the neighboring country.
Saudi Arabia is not the only Islamic nation with problems tolerating other religions. Bahais are persecuted by Iran. Religious intolerance abounds in Iraq. Egypt is grappling with similar issues. Even the Palestinian territories, previously known for strong Christian-Muslim relations, are experiencing a rise in tension.
If, as now seems likely, last week’s terrible events in Mumbai were the work of Islamic terrorists, that’s more bad news for India’s minority Muslim population. Never mind that the perpetrators were probably funded from outside India, in connection with the ongoing conflict over Kashmir. The attacks will feed a powerful stereotype of the violent and untrustworthy Muslim, bent on religious conquest, who can never be a good democratic citizen. Such stereotypes already shadow the lives of Indian Muslims, who make up 13.5% of the population…
The revelation that members of the Hindu right have embraced ethno-religious cleansing should amaze nobody. Since the 1930s, their movement has insisted that India is for Hindus, and that both Muslims and Christians are foreigners who should have second-class status in the nation.
This year, in the eastern state of Orissa, members of the Bajrang Dal have murdered scores of Christians who refused to reconvert to Hinduism. (Most Indian Christians are descendants of converts, often from the lowest Hindu castes.) Peaceful villages have been reduced to ashes; a church-run orphanage was torched; dozens of churches have been destroyed; missionaries and priests have been murdered in cold blood. Thousands have been forced to flee their homes, and at least 30,000 are homeless. The rallying cry: “Kill Christians and destroy their institutions.”
“In my opinion, there are too many Christian-Muslim initiatives. Everybody’s doing it,” he told Reuters in an interview. “One doesn’t know where this will go. That proves there is a great interest, but it sows a bit of confusion.
“There’s a risk of overlapping… It may be the price to pay for all this interest that interreligious dialogue incites.”
Dialogue between Christians and Muslims is nothing new, but the Sept. 11 attacks and sharpened tensions between western and Muslim states have given it a new urgency and sparked concern about a growing gap between the world’s two largest religions.
Muslim leaders are planning to build on the success of Scotland’s only Muslim Scout troop by establishing more across the country…
They will say Muslim prayers instead of Christian ones, and children in their Beaver colony, for those aged six to eight, may colour in pictures of mosques instead of secular buildings. The Beaver and Cub groups are mixed sex, whereas the Scout troops – for those aged 10 to 14 – are single sex for religious reasons.