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Religious Wars Since World War II

by Johan Astrom, Online editor

 

Country (religious groups involved): Type of conflict
Afghanistan (extreme radical fundamentalist Muslims vs. other muslim groups and non-Muslims): goals to promote a worldwide war between Muslims and non-Muslims.

Bosnia (Serbian Orthodox Christians, Roman Catholic, and Muslims): Fragile peace is holding, due only to the presence of peacekeepers.

Côte d’Ivoire (Muslims, indigenous, Christians): Following elections in late 2000, government security forces “began targeting civilians solely and explicitly on the basis of their religion, ethnic group, or national origin. The overwhelming majority of victims come from the largely Muslim north of the country, or are immigrants or the descendants of immigrants.”

Cyprus (Christians and Muslims): The island is partitioned, creating enclaves for ethnic Greeks (Christians) and Turks (Muslims). A U.N. peace-keeping force is maintaining stability.

East Timor (Christians and Muslims): When this Roman Catholic country was forcibly annexed by Indonesia (mainly Muslim), about 20 percent of the populace died by murder, starvation, or disease. After voting for independence, many Christians were exterminated or exiled by the Indonesian army and army-funded militias. The situation is now stable.

India (Animists, Hindus, Muslims, and Sikhs): Half a century of conflicts are too numerous to list. In February 2002, a Muslim-Hindu conflict broke out, killing an average of 100 people a day over the first five days.

Indonesia (Christians and Muslims): In Ambon province, after centuries of relative peace, conflicts started in 1999. The situation now appears to be stable. In Halmahera province, 30 Muslims were killed. Two-thousand Christians drove them from their homes and destroyed their churches.

Kashmir (Hindus and Muslims): In this chronically unstable region of the world claimed by both Pakistan and India, nearly 60,000 people have died since 1989. The availability of nuclear weapons is destabilizing the region further.  

Kosovo (Orthodox Christians and Muslims): Peace enforced by NATO peacekeepers. There is convincing evidence of past mass murder by officials of the Yugoslavian government (mainly Serbian Orthodox Christians) against ethnic Albanians (mostly Muslim).

Kurdistan (Christians, Muslims): Assaults on Christians. Bombing campaign underway.

Macedonia (Orthodox Christians and Muslims, often referred to as ethnic Albanians): Muslims engaged in a civil war with the rest of the country, primarily Macedonian Orthodox Christians. A peace treaty has been signed. Disarmament by NATO is complete.

Middle East (Jews, Muslims, Christians): With the asassination by his own people of Prime Minister and peacemaker Itzak Rabin, the nearly complete (only the question of Jerusalem was not settled) process of establishing peace between Israel and Palestine deterioriated under Netanyahu and Sharon completely broke down, resulting in the deaths of more than 800 Palestinians, and about 200 Jews so far this year.

Nigeria (Christians, Animists, and Muslims): Yourubas and Christians in the south of the country are battling Muslims in the north. Country is struggling towards democracy after decades of Muslim military dictatorships.

Northern Ireland (Protestants, Catholics): After 3,600 killings and assassinations over 30 years, progress has been made recently in the form of a ceasefire and independent status for the country.  Pakistan (Suni and Shi’ite Muslims): Low-level mutual attacks.

Philippines (Christians and Muslims): Low-level, centuries-old conflict between the mainly Christian central government and Muslims in the southern islands.

Russia, Chechnya (Russian Orthodox Christians, Muslims): The Russian army attacked rebel militants in the breakaway region after Muslims allegedly blew up buildings in Moscow. Many atrocities have been alleged on both sides, and the most recent confirmed: 800 hostages taken in a Moscow theatre.

Serbia, province of Vojvodina (Serbian Orthodox and Roman Catholics): Serb ethnic-cleansing programs have “encouraged” 50,000 ethnic Hungarians (almost all Roman Catholics) to leave this province of Yugoslavia.

South Africa (Animists and “Witches”): Hundreds of people accused of black magic are murdered yearly.

Sri Lanka (Buddhists and Hindus): Since 1983 the Tamils (a mainly Hindu 18 percent minority) have been involved in a war for independence with the rest of the country (70 percent Buddhist). An estimated 65,000 has been killed. The conflict took a sudden change for the better in September 2002 when the Tamils dropped their demand for complete independence.

Sudan (Animists, Christians, and Muslims): Complex ethnic, racial, religious conflict victimizes both Animists and Christians in the south. Slavery is common, and there are allegations of crucifixion of Christians.

Tibet (Buddhists and Communists): Country was annexed by Chinese Communists in late 1950s. Brutal suppression of religion continues.

Uganda (Animists, Christians, and Muslims): Christian rebels of the Lord’s Resistance Army are conducting a civil war in the north of Uganda. Their goal is a Christian theocracy whose laws are based on the Ten Commandments. They abduct about 2,000 children a year who are enslaved and/or raped.

 

 

 

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