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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."

 “The interactions between civilizations vary greatly in the extent to which they are likely to be characterized by violence. Economic competition clearly predominates between the American and European subcivilizations of the West and between both of them and Japan. On the Eurasian continent, however, the proliferation of ethnic conflict, epitomized at the extreme in ‘ethnic cleansing,’ has not been totally random. It has been most frequent and most violent between groups belonging to different civilizations. In Eurasia the great historic fault lines between civilizations are once more aflame.

“This is particularly true along the boundaries of the crescent-shaped Islamic bloc of nations from the bulge of Africa to central Asia. Violence also occurs between Muslims, on the one hand, and Orthodox Serbs in the Balkans, Jews in Israel, Hindus in India, Buddhists in

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Burma and Catholics in the Philippines. Islam has bloody borders.”

Charles Krauthammer

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Is such an indictment of Islam unfair? Not at all, writes Charles Krauthammer: “Is Islam an inherently violent religion? And there is no denying the fact, stated most boldly by Samuel Huntington, author of The Clash of Civilizations? From Nigeria to Sudan to Pakistan to Indonesia to the Philippines, some of the worst, most hate-driven violence in the world today is perpetrated by Muslims and in the name of Islam.

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“In Pakistan, Muslim extremists have attacked Christian churches, killing every parishioner they could. Just last month in Lebanon, an evangelical Christian nurse, who had devoted her life to caring for the sick, was shot three times through the head, presumably, for ‘proselytizing.’

“On the northern tier of the Islamic world, even more blood flows – in Pakistani-Kashmiri terrorism against Hindu India, Chechen terrorism in Russian-Orthodox Moscow and Palestinian terrorism against the Jews. (The Albanian Muslim campaign against Orthodox Macedonia is now on hold.) And then of course there was Sept. 11 – Islamic terrorism reaching far beyond its borders to strike at the heart of the satanic ‘Crusaders.’”

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Rob Kerby, Senior Editor

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