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Fundamentalismo religioso, un problema (artículo en inglés)

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Fundamentalismo religioso, un problema (artículo en inglés)

Mensaje por ivan_077 el Noviembre 26th 2014, 02:51


The Issue of Religious Extremism
By Anant Mishra
Issue Net Edition | Date : 14 Nov , 2014

Religion is an organized collection of beliefs, cultural systems and worldviews that relate mankind to the supernatural and spirituality. Most religions have numerous signs and symbols as well as sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life and explain the origin of life and the universe. It is nearly impossible to determine accurately, in strength, the total number of faiths and religions that exist today. However, the 21st century has seen the rise of “major” religions such as Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism etc. and “other” religions such as Confucianism, Taoism, Shinto and Zoroastrianism.

The reasons for the existence of religious extremism are quite a few. Firstly, ignorance and lack of knowledge and of education lead many a youth and young women towards inaction. The minds of these young people are almost closed to modern ideas and developments.

Religions and other faiths bring hope and consolation to billions of people, and hold great potential for peace and reconciliation. They have also, however, been the source of tension and conflict. This complexity of defining “religion” and “belief,” is illustrated by the continuously developing history of the protection of freedom of religion or belief in the context of international human rights.

Religion and the UN

The United Nations recognized the importance of freedom of religion in the “1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights”. Article 18 of the declaration states that “Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include freedom to have a religion or whatever belief of his or her choice.”

In 1966 the UN passed the “International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights” further enhancing its prior statement to address the manifestation of religion or belief. Article 18 of this Covenant includes four paragraphs, which are as follows:

Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his or her choice, and freedom either individually or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his or her religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching.
No one shall be subject to coercion, which would impair his or her freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his or her choice.
Freedom to manifest one’s religion or belief may be subject only to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary to protect public safety, order, health, morals or the fundamental rights and freedoms of others.
The States Parties to the present Covenant undertake to have respect for the liberty of parents and, when applicable, legal guardians, to ensure the religious and moral education of their children in conformity with their own convictions.

…religious extremism is not advocated, preached or sanctioned by any religion in its pure form.

What is Religious Extremism?

Religious extremism means the holding of extreme religious view by the followers of a particular religion or sect against other religions or sects.

The reasons for the existence of religious extremism are quite a few. Firstly, ignorance and lack of knowledge and of education lead many a youth and young women towards inaction. The minds of these young people are almost closed to modern ideas and developments.

Secondly, religious extremism develops rapidly in an atmosphere of hatred, distrust and enmity. One religious class or sect hates another simply because there is a difference of beliefs or ideas between them. One religious group distrusts another because they distrust or question each other’s intentions. Prolonged hatred and distrust result in deep-rooted enmity. Sadly and regrettably, some extremists developed intense hatred against each other, which culminates into unprecedented violence.

Thirdly, perhaps the worst form of religious extremism is reflected in terrorist acts across the country. Religious extremists easily organize themselves into armed groups and bands and provide, military training for terrorist acts and guerrilla warfare. Furthermore, there can be national religious extremism that can cause religious wars between one nation or country and another. Such wars were common in olden times when the Crusades were fought between the Christians and Muslims. The fights between the two religious communities among the Christians that is, the Roman Catholics and Protestants and among the Muslim sects and groups side by side caused tremendous human suffering.

In the past two decades, religion has been at the centre of most violent conflicts around the world, thereby gaining notoriety as one of the prime security challenges confronting the world.

In fact, religious extremism is not advocated, preached or sanctioned by any religion in its pure form. Buddhism is a religion of peace and humility. Christianity is a religion of social goodness and progress. Islam preaches universal brotherhood equality and justice. In their first pure form, world religions did not have any room or scope for class or group differences. God Almighty sent his Prophets and revealed his Holy Books to convey the same messages to all mankind and to make the people solidly united. The later creation of religious groups and sects, with the resultant disputes, was against the spirit and principles of true religion. It is our foremost duty to create unity and oneness in our ranks religiously.

The Difference between an Extremist and a Fundamentalist

A fundamentalist is someone who believes in a specific interpretation of their holy text and strictly adheres to its tenets. A fundamentalist will believe that their bible represents the absolute truth in terms of matters moral as well as literal historical accuracy. Many fundamentalists are characterized as intolerant of those with views in opposition of their own or those with secular beliefs.

An extremist is someone who takes their religious beliefs to a fanatical level causing them to behave in ways that are not understood by the general public. An extremist may believe in using coercion, fear, or violence as means to bring about a religious change. Often religious extremism is seen in opposition to a person, people, or government that is acting against the fundamental beliefs of a religion. Especially in the Middle East, religious extremism can be closely tied to extreme nationalism.

Violence Caused Due to Religious Extremism

Religion could serve, and has indeed served as an instrument of social harmony in many civilizations. Paradoxically, however, it has also served as a motivation for violence, hence its indication in some literature as a ‘double-edged sword’. In the past two decades, religion has been at the centre of most violent conflicts around the world, thereby gaining notoriety as one of the prime security challenges confronting the world. Some examples from history that are indicative of religious violence are mentioned below:

The mass murder of Muslims by Christians in Kosovo.
The extermination of one third of the Roman Catholic inhabitants of East Timor by Muslims.
The German “Holocaust” which was the mass murder or genocide of millions of Jews during the Second World War.
The “Crusades” and “Jihad” are examples of wars fought between the Christians and the Muslims, which led to unprecedented large-scale violence.
The Link between Terrorism and Religion

From time immemorial, religious bigots have attempted to legitimize violence in the name of God. Contemporary acts of extreme violence such as terrorist attacks are often justified as ‘holy warfare’. Terrorism carried out in the name of the faith has long been a feature of human affairs. The histories of people, civilizations, nations, and empires are replete with examples of extremist true believers who engage in violence to promote their belief system. Some religious terrorists are inspired by defensive motives, others seek to ensure the predominance of their faith, and others are motivated by an aggressive amalgam of these tendencies.

Most people are mistaken when they say that terrorism is synonymous to religious extremism. Terrorism branches out of religious extremism.

The most well-known terrorist attacks are the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai and the 9/11 attacks on the world trade centre in the USA.

Most people are mistaken when they say that terrorism is synonymous to religious extremism. Terrorism branches out of religious extremism. In the current century, it is becoming the most obvious and evident form of religious extremism. It is therefore extremely essential to control it. Religious terrorism is a global phenomenon that has gripped the world.

Case Studies –

Sri Lanka

In 1972, Sinhala and Buddhism were declared the official language and religion by the then Sinhalese- controlled Sri Lankan government. The Hindus, who constituted 15% of the population and had their own language, took this action by the government as an affront. The Hindus who constituted a majority in the northern and eastern coast with 15% of the total population considered this action by the government as an affront and demanded an independent state in their area in 1973.

As a result of oppression by the ruling Sinhalese Community, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam was formed by Velupillai Prabhakaran in 1976. After three decades of violence and conflicts, Sri Lanka’s government defeated the ethnic separatist insurgent group LTTE in May 2009.

The Sri Lankan government has been trying to contain the situation ever since, by targeting civilians through threats, surveillance, and clampdowns on activities and free speech, so that there are no more insurgencies in the future. The Tamil population in the north have benefitted from humanitarian groups having greater access to the area. The last of the nearly 300,000 civilians illegally confined in military- controlled detention centres after the war moved back into communities, although not necessarily to their home areas. Tens of thousands of persons still live with host families or in temporary accommodation, and several thousand are not able to return home because their home areas have not been de-mined. Although the government claimed to have considerably decreased its military presence in the north and east, credible accounts indicate that military personnel still frequently intervene in civilian life.

The root of the conflict over the border region of Kashmir dates back to the partition of India into a Hindu-majority India and a Muslim majority Pakistan way back in 1947. Nationalism is at the core of the dispute, but religion has an important role to play as well.

Palestine and Israel

The Gaza Strip was a part of Great Britain’s Palestine mandate from the League of Nations from 1917 till 1948. The 1948 Arab- Israeli war led to the arrival of Palestinian Arab refugees that tripled the region’s population. However, these refugees were denied Egyptian citizenship, thereby they remained stateless. After the 1967 war, Israel occupied the region and established settlements there, but autonomy for the area was promised by the Camp David Accords. The Palestinian uprising in Gaza in 1987 led to political unrest and violence, and the Gaza Strip remained under frequent military curfew, imposed by Israeli troops sent to suppress the violence and maintain order.

The Israeli occupation has been extremely oppressive and has violated several international laws regarding military occupations. Palestinians have minimal control over their lives with the Israeli militia controlling movement within the territories themselves and frequently placing towns under military curfew. Israeli forces invade places like schools, hospitals, places of worship, injuring many, occasionally killing some, and regularly imprisoning men, women, and children with minimal, if any, legal procedures.

This situation has led to various Palestinian resistance activities, both armed and unarmed, and widespread popular uprisings but this hasn’t prevented the Israeli forces from invading Gaza. Over 5,000 Palestinian men, women, and children are currently being held in Israeli prisons without legitimate trial and are held without being charged for a crime. The Israeli have blocked food and medicine from entering Gaza, which has led to a major humanitarian crisis.

India

The root of the conflict over the border region of Kashmir dates back to the partition of India into a Hindu-majority India and a Muslim majority Pakistan way back in 1947. Nationalism is at the core of the dispute, but religion has an important role to play as well. The pivotal point in Kashmir’s modern history was when the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir, Hari Singh, decided to join his Muslim majority province to India rather than Pakistan at the time of partition. From then on Pakistan has contended that the Muslims in Kashmir are being held captive by India, and the issue continues to resonate powerfully with the Pakistani public while in contrast, India insists that the Maharaja’s decision was in accordance with the internationally agreed upon method of partition.

…these “Madrasas” have also become centers of notorious terrorist activities where students are taught to show disrespect other religions and fight and kill in the name of Islam.

The Muslims living in Kashmir are divided amongst themselves in terms of ethnicity. This internal fragmentation has complicated negotiation efforts. For instance, in the Northern areas, the Shiite majority regularly clashes with a Sunni minority that is closely aligned with the Pakistani military and central government in Islamabad. Kashmir’s ethnic and religious diversity has now become the stage for a wider set of adversarial contests between India and Pakistan. Many locals, regardless of their faith tradition, have been caught in the middle victims of national militaries or insurgents or both.

Pakistan

The word “Madrasa” refers to a place of religious learning and usually refers to institutions where students gain deeper insight into Islam. These are generally common in Islamic and Arabic countries. However, on the flip side, these “Madrasas” have also become centers of notorious terrorist activities where students are taught to show disrespect other religions and fight and kill in the name of Islam. There are around 18,000-24,000 registered Madrasas in Pakistan and countless more unregistered seminaries. There are as many as 83 illegally constructed mosques and seminaries in Islamabad alone. Unlike Pakistan, in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan, Iran, the state controls religious learning to prevent sectarian disharmony in society. On paper, the government plans to demolish unregistered Madrasas but the government has been hesitant in doing so, fearing a violent backlash like Laal Masjid. There are innumerable cases of torture, rape, violence and terrorism, which have been connected to Madrasas in 2011. The Education Ministry was provided over $70 million in aid to modernize the curriculum in Madrasas but the funds haven’t been utilized due to non-cooperation from the seminar. It is common to hear of Christian girls in Pakistan being raped. In most cases, girls are victims of a vicious hate crime. Hate crimes are criminal offense against a person or property motivated in whole or in part by an offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, ethnic origin or sexual orientation. Even India doesn’t have many stringent laws against racism, discrimination and incitement to discrimination and laws previously present haven’t been implemented.

Solutions

It has now become more imperative than ever for nations to come together with a sense of equality and community in order to attain a peaceful world where each citizen can be not only be addressed as a citizen of their respective countries but can be known as a citizen of the world.
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