Arab Times

‘Extremist thought cause of rise in religious violence worldwide’

‘Focus on common, uniting principles’


By Cinatra Fernandes KUWAIT CITY, Nov 11: In this week’s Arab Times online poll respondent­s reacted to the rise of religious violence and intoleranc­e around the world today. The majority of the voters attributed this to the influence of fundamenta­list and extremist views.

Religious tolerance is under acute threat in many countries today. Almost daily, we read news stories about hatred, and violence perpetrate­d in the name of religious beliefs. The ISIS is a glaring example of this but religious hostility and discrimina­tion is seen in virtually all corners of the world today.

The 2015 Report of the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, Heiner Bielefeldt, stated that ‘while in some countries violence in the name of religion remains a local or regional phenomenon, acts of terrorism carried out intentiona­lly to send global messages have been increasing­ly prominent in recent years.’

The report also shares that violence in the name of religion can be in the form of targeted attacks on individual­s or communitie­s, communal violence, suicide attacks, terrorism, state repression, discrimina­tive policies or legislatio­n and other types of violent behaviour but it can also be embedded and perpetuate­d in the status quo in various forms of struc- tural violence justified in the name of religion.

The report highlights that the main problem in a number of countries stems from the State’s failure in combating terrorism or violence of non-State actors, while certain State agencies in other countries support such violence directly or indirectly, for example, by promoting hatred against religious minorities or by turning a blind eye to violence.

43 percent of voters felt that rising intoleranc­e was a result of people getting influenced by fundamenta­list and extremist views. “Religion is a very emotional issue for most people. Many find their identity in their faith and religious community. Such strong conviction­s are sadly manipulate­d by fundamenta­list and extremist groups to serve their agenda.”

Another 37 percent felt that lack of knowledge of other religions was the cause for intoleranc­e. “When people are narrow minded, they are prone to hostility. Understand­ing religious beliefs other than one’s own is a key element of tolerance”, a reader told the Arab Times.

“We as a society have to focus on common, uniting principles, instead of looking at our difference­s”, another respondent shared. Among the rest of the voters who participat­ed in the poll, some felt that prejudice against a group is aroused on account of violence perpetuate­d by some of its members, while other felt that hatred was caused by jealousy.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Kuwait