How Violence Shapes Religion: Belief and Conflict in the Middle East and Africa

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Cambridge University Press, Aug 23, 2018 - Social Science
Is there an inevitable global violent clash unfolding between the world's largest religions: Islam and Christianity? Do religions cause violent conflicts, or are there other factors at play? How can we make sense of increasing reports of violence between Christian and Muslim ethnic communities across the world? By seeking to answer such questions about the relationship between religion and violence in today's world, Ziya Meral challenges popular theories and offers an alternative explanation, grounded on insights inferred from real cases of ethno-religious violence in Africa and the Middle East. The relationship between religion and violence runs deep and both are intrinsic to the human story. Violence leads to and shapes religion, while religion acts to enable violence as well as providing responses that contain and prevent it. However, with religious violence being one of the most serious challenges facing the modern world, Meral shows that we need to de-globalise our analysis and focus on individual conflicts, instead of attempting to provide single answers to complex questions.

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About the author (2018)

Ziya Meral is a Senior Resident Fellow at the British Army's Centre for Historical Analysis and Conflict Research, based at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst. He is also the director of the Centre on Religion and Global Affairs, based in Beirut, London and Accra. He frequently gives television and radio interviews for British and international media outlets, and has been cited by leading newspapers, including the Financial Times and The New York Times. He has given expert testimonies before the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, as well as lectures at the US State Department, NATO Defence College and the European Commission. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge in political science, a M.Sc. in sociology from the London School of Economics, a Masters of Divinity from the International School of Theology Asia, Philippines, and a 1st Class B.A. from the Brunel University. He also took short term courses around the world, including on genocides and prevention in Canada, and introduction to Chinese language and culture in China.

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