Is religion responsible for the world's violence?

As conflicts rage within Nigeria, Iran, Sudan, Pakistan and on the Bangladesh-Myanmar border, we are reminded of the late Samuel Huntington's observation about the world's "bloody borders."

BY: Rob Kerby, Senior Editor

 

Just a few days ago, a car loaded with explosives attempted to get access to the First Evangelical Church Winning All in Kaduna, Nigeria. However, the suicide bomber’s car with a military uniform folded on the back seat was turned away at a barricade.

Burning cars and blown-out windows after the blasts

As he drove away, the massive bomb exploded outside a hotel opposite the church. At last count 39 people were dead, 125 wounded, many of them taxi drivers parked at the hotel. The massive explosion blew in the windows of the nearby All Nations Christian Assembly Church. But more than 200 children attending Sunday school at the targeted First Evangelical Church Winning All escaped injury – “by the grace of God,” church leaders told Nigeria’s Sun newspaper.

Moments later, another suicide bomber hit Christ the King Catholic Church building in nearby Zaria, killing another 12. A third attack struck the Shalom Church in Kaduna City, killing 10.

A car burns at the site of the first explosion

By the end of the week, 138 Nigerian Christians had been killed in subsequent attacks. Boko Haram, a Muslim terrorist group, took credit and bragged that more attacks would follow.

“In the past, every time they make threats they go ahead and do it,”said Jonathan Racho of the advocacy group International Christian Concern, “so we have every reason to believe that this is not a rhetorical statement – and we urge the Nigerian government to take this very seriously and take action.”

One of the car bombs explodes

Boko Haram has been responsible for more than 620 Nigerian deaths this year alone, according to the Associated Press, targeting churches, state offices, law enforcement sites and even moderate Muslim mosques in its effort to destabilize Nigeria’s government. The professed goal is to see Shari’ah (Islamic law) imposed on the entire country, which is 49 percent Muslim – mostly in the north – and 51 percent Christian, primarily in the oil-rich south. Nigeria is Africa’s most populous nation and its largest petroleum producer.

In another such oil state, Iran, Muslims make up the majority and members of the Baha’i faith are in the minority – although their faith was founded in Iran.

Iranian Baha’is stand in front of a bombed-out car

“Imagine being unable to attend college or hold a job simply because the government does not approve of your religion,” writes Sue Chehrenegar for the website GroundReport. “That is the obstacle that faces every member of Iran’s Baha’i community. The government has been persecuting the Baha’is for more than 30 years.”

Chehrenegar cites a number of Iranian persecutions of Baha’i, including the hanging of “a group of women in the City of Shiraz. Their crime had involved carrying out an act that a number of American men and women perform each week, while teaching Sunday school classes. However, those women had not been teaching about Jesus or Mohammed. Each of their lessons had sought to offer a

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