In the wake of the latest escalations in religious violence, politicians, the media, and religious leaders try to assure us that religion is not to blame for extremist terror campaigns and the ethnic and communal conflicts that increasingly threaten world peace. Yet events themselves demonstrate that religion can play a highly negative role-aggravating polarization, justifying enmity, even fostering deadly fanaticism. From the Balkans to the Middle East, adherents of all the world's major faiths commit indiscriminate acts of violence on the grounds of protecting their religious identity and serving the cause of God.
In this powerfully written analysis British broadcaster Oliver McTernan argues that unless this mindset changes the world will never eliminate the threat of faith-inspired terror. He explores the complex roots of religious-inspired violence, the historic ambivalence of religious traditions toward violence, and the urgent steps that must be taken next. Religious leaders of all faiths must begin to defend proactively and vigorously the rights of others to believe and to act differently. At stake is not simply the credibility of religion but the welfare of humanity.