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Religious Tolerance logo


Attaining peace, particularly in spite
of the activities of some organized religions

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bullet"Can't we all just get along?," Rodney King.
bullet"There will be peace on earth when there is peace among the world religions." Hans Küng.
bullet"The pursuit of truth does not permit violence being inflicted on one's opponent." Mahatma Gandhi.

bullet"For every dollar that the developed countries spend on international assistance, they invest $10 in military budgets." d'Escoto, senior advisor to the president of Nicaragua, 2008-SEP.
bullet"Lasting peace will come only from a profound understanding of violence."  Leland R. Beaumont
bullet "The war changed everything in my life and I was one of thousands forced to leave during the ethnic cleansing in my city. But they did not manage to change me. I have NOT learned to hate my neighbors and I never will." Lana Obradovic, a student from Bosnia Herzegovina who lost many relatives during the religious genocide primarily perpetrated by Serbial Orthodox Christians there during the 1990s.
bullet"Once started, religious strife has a tendency to go on and on, to become permanent feuds. Today we see such intractable inter-religious wars in Northern Ireland, between Jews and Muslims and Christians in Palestine, Hindus and Muslims in South Asia and in many other places. Attempts to bring about peace have failed again and again. Always the extremist elements invoking past injustices, imagined or real, will succeed in torpedoing the peace efforts and bringing about another bout of hostility." Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Prime Minister of Malaysia, addressing the World Evangelical Fellowship on 2001-MAY-4. 1
bullet"...sometimes religion motivates violence, and sometimes it is used, even manipulated, to justify violence. There also is violence unrelated to religion that gets religiously charged because the conflicting parties happen to be of different faiths." Rev. Shanta Premawardhana, Interfaith Relations Director for the National Council of Churches USA. 2


During the 1990s and so far into the 21st century, peace has proven elusive in many areas of the world. There have been many genocides, mass crimes against humanity, and violent civil unrests in countries around the world. Examples are: Afghanistan, Bosnia Herzegovina, Burma, Chechnya, Côte d'Ivoire, Cyprus, East Timor, India, Indonesia, Kashmir, Macedonia, Middle East, Nigeria, Northern Ireland, Pakistan, Philippines, Rwanda, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, and Tibet. Of these:

bulletThe Rwandan civil war was a largely ethnic conflict between two tribes: Hutus and Tutsis. Both were mainly Roman Catholics. Any differences in religious faith between the two tribes were not a major factor.
bulletTibet is experiencing a conflict between the Buddhist population and the Chinese Communist occupying forces.
bulletThe remaining conflicts are based to a significant degree on religious differences -- either inter-religious or intra-religious. The most common type of conflict is between Christians and Muslims. However, Animists, Hindus, Jews, and Sikhs are involved in a few of the battles. Different denominations and traditions within Christianity and Islam are also in conflict.

Perhaps we are naive, but we hope that:

bulletThe negative influences of religion, which create or aggravate conflicts can be reduced, and
bulletThe positive influences of religion which eliminate or attenuate conflicts can be promoted.

Topics covered in this section:

bulletA list of current locations of religiously-motivated civil unrest and warfare
bulletReducing religion-inspired religious conflicts
bulletGroup appeals for peace:
bulletThe Geneva Spiritual Appeal of 1999: An appeal by religious leaders to stop using religion as a justification for violence.
bulletThe Amman Declaration of 1999: An appeal to use religion as a tool for international conflict resolution in the Middle East
bulletA ceremony for peace in Tibet and the rest of the world
bulletNew Year's prayer and meditation for peace
bulletA Muslim prayer for peace
bulletThe Peace Tree and the Peace Tree Day
bulletInterreligious Gathering of Prayer for World Peace
bulletAppeal for peace by Muslim scholars, sent to Christian leaders

bulletstar 2019-FEB: Pope Francis and a leading Muslim Imam sign Human Fraternity Declaration

bulletIndividual appeals for peace:
bulletPope John Paul II's Message for the 1996 World Day of Peace titled: "That violence may never again be justified by appeals to religious motives."
bulletFrancis of Assisi: peacemaker to the Fifth Crusade

bulletOther material:
bulletAn incident at Billings, MT: solidarity in the face of religious hatred
bulletAdditional quotations about peace.
bulletLinks to organizations promoting peace and conflict resolution
bulletGroups A to I
bulletGroups I to Z

Related menus on this web site:

bulletMenu: Mass crimes against humanity and genocides
bulletMenu: Religious hatred

References used:

  1. Mark Juergensmeyer, "Terror in the mind of God: The global rise in religious violence," University of California Press, (2000). Read reviews and/or order this book 
  2. "July 12 'Religion-Related Violence' Workshop to Inform Sept. 11 Dialogue in NYC," National Council of Churches USA, 2004-JUL-8, at:

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Copyright © 2001 to 2019 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2001-DEC-17
Latest update: 2019-MAR-27
Author: B.A. Robinson

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