Religion in the warzone: Driver of conflict, force of peace?
Free Public Lecture
Woodward Conference Centre
Level 10, Melbourne Law School
185 Pelham Street Carlton VIC 3010
T: (03) 9035 6909
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Religious communities see their religion as peaceful and its institutions, beliefs and rituals as serving an important space of healing and consolation. However, many of today’s armed conflicts have a religious component. Religious leaders may be perceived to reinforce boundaries and fuel contention, but at the same time, some are able to bridge these gaps and play a unique brokering role as respected, apolitical authority figures.
How do we understand these contradictions? Does religion itself make a difference and, if so, what does this mean for international players intervening in war-torn contexts? Are we missing something when we conceptualise conflict mediation, state-building or peace-building without taking religion into account? Can peace-oriented forms of religious agency be strengthened, or does foreign support undermine what is perhaps their main resource: the legitimacy of being and perceived as locally grounded and apolitical?
These are among the many questions with which we will engage in this public panel discussion.