Religion has often been debated as a cause or a cure of conflict. The latest report from the Institute for Economics and Peace, provides important statistical analysis of the link between religion and peace. The report “Five Key Questions Answered on the Link between Peace and Religion”, debunks common myths about the role of religion in conflict and aims to broaden the discussion on whether religion in itself is a cause of conflict or whether there are other more significant factors.
The research shows that of the 35 armed conflicts that took place in 2013, only 5 were motivated by religious elements alone. Importantly, nearly two thirds of the 35 conflicts had among their main cause opposition to a particular government or opposition to the economic, ideological, political or social system of a state. When analysing the motivation for these conflicts, the desire for identity and self-government was a part of 60% of conflicts.
The Peace and Religion report shows that religion can be a catalyst for peace, as religious groups and communities tend to strengthen the social bonds of citizens. Civic engagement and participation, as well as higher group membership, such as sports or religious groups, corresponds with slightly higher levels of peace and can strengthen the resilience of societies.
“Although the violence being perpetrated by ISIL in Iraq and Syria is motivated by religious extremism, this broader analysis highlights that many other factors are also driving conflict. There is a need to recognise these other factors and to formulate policies that address exclusion, inequity and governance to create the underlying foundations for lasting peace.” Steve Killelea, Founder and Executive Chairman, Institute for Economics and Peace.
The report answers five key questions related to religion and violence deriving from common themes of discussion in the media. These questions are:
Question 1: Is religion the main cause of conflict today?
For more information and to read the full analysis, download the report: Five Key Questions Answered on the Link between Peace and Religion
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