Religious extremism slouches onward

“Few parts of the world have avoided the destructive influence of social dislocation – if not always of violence — inspired by religious extremism, based often on racial ultra-nationalism,” writes International Affairs analyst Jonathan Manthorpe in today’s column. Excerpt:

640px-Prevailing_world_religions_mapIt is not just fanatical believers in an intolerant, violent, evangelical and racist brand of Islam that are spreading a shameful stain on the pages of human history in the 21st century.

All major religions have in recent decades spawned similar factions of puritanical hatred that are distorting and perverting the route and progress of public affairs, even in secular democracies. In several cases religious fanatics have gained political power and influence through the acquiescence of misguided liberals, who have failed to appreciate the corrosive nature of excessive tolerance.

There is good reason to question, for example, whether Israeli troops would be trying to root out the Palestinian radical group Hamas in Gaza today, after days of bombardment from both sides, were it not for the ascendancy of ultra-rightwing Jewish parties in Jerusalem. 

For decades Israel has faced a choice posed by demographics … read more (subscription*)


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Religion-inspired violence not just a Muslim problem

Jonathan Manthorpe’s columnist page is here.

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