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."

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Opening fire, the gunmen killed eight and injured 20. Rashid tells how after the massacre, “I listened silently as Yusef related the events in his hometown of Mong, Pakistan. The 50 innocent worshipers were Ahmadi Muslims. In Pakistan, Ahmadi Muslims are nothing more than ‘the Wrong Kind of Muslims,’ and therefore declared worthy of death.”

And trouble is brewing on the former India-Burma frontier. “Running north to south along the Myanmar-Bangladesh border, a forgotten ethnic minority group of the modern world – the Rohingya – are dying by the thousands,” reads a call to action printed worldwide in such newspapers as the Malaysia Sun Daily and on websites across the globe in the last week.

Rohingya refugees on the Bangladesh-Myanmar border

“According to witnesses, hundreds have been turned away by authorities in neighboring Bangladesh after attempting to flee the fighting in Myanmar,” writes Azril Mohd Amin, the  vice president of the Muslim Lawyers Association of Malaysia. “The Rohingya are Muslims and have never been granted citizenship or any other right by the Buddhist Myanmars, who don’t want them and have always tried to force them over to Bangladesh.”


What follows is a justification for armed action against Myanmar’s Buddhists that is far too reminiscent of Hitler’s reasons for invading Poland and Czechoslovakia, sparking World War II. He was “protecting” German-speakers in both countries.

Amin acknowledges that what is going on in Myanmar is part of a worldwide phenomenon – the persistent, violent confrontation of Islam against its non-Muslim neighbors: “Aside from the spiritual clash which marks so many other ‘bloody’ borders (as Samuel Huntington calls them), there seems to be no possible reconciliation between the monotheists and polytheists of the world. The polytheists hold the money while the monotheists suffer untold miseries arising from lack of economic as well as educational equity.”

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Rob Kerby, Senior Editor
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