Religion, though neglected in political circles plays a significant role in the eliciting conflicts and bringing peace in the world. Powerful countries have been continually undermining the role of religion in bringing a lasting peace in the world especially in issues related to terrorism and stability of governments because they perceive that religions are prime root of conflicts.
Such perceptions emanate from the fact that wars in Nigeria, Sudan, Somalia, Palestine, Israel, Iraq and Afghanistan have religious dimensions and orientations. “All of these cases demonstrate that while religion is an important factor in conflict, often marking identity differences, motivating conflict, and justifying violence, religion is not usually the sole or primary cause of conflict” (Smock 3).
Religion integrates into political, economic and social spheres that are determinants of the nature and extent conflicts, thus perceived as sole cause of conflict. This implies that religion plays a significant role in the international conflict and peace, hence need special consideration in resolution of conflicts that threatens stability of nations and entire world. For instance, how do Jewish and Islamic religions contribute to conflict and peace in the world?
The difference in religion between Israelites and Palestinians is the main factor that causes conflict in Gaza Strip and West Bank while continually threatening to trigger conflict between Christians and Muslim in the world.
Although there are economic, ethnic, political and social aspects concerning the Israeli and Palestinian conflict; lasting peace can occur in Gaza Strip and West Bank if Jews and Muslims engage in dialogue. The peace meeting between Muslim and Jewish leaders has demonstrated that religion play a significant role in the resolution of the conflict in Israel and Palestine
The religious conflict between the Jews and Palestinians is volatile issue that may lead to international conflicts because Christians led by Western countries and Muslims in Arabs countries have great interests in this conflict. Wolf observes that proper dialogue among Jews, Christians and Muslims leaders would help ease interreligious tension and intolerance that exist all over the world (160). Since the major religions of the world are Islam and Christianity, the solution of religious conflicts lies in the relationship of the two religions.
World’s political leaders need to realize the potential of religions in uniting people and encouraging tolerance since people attach much importance to their respective religions. If Muslims and Jews should respect each other and let tolerance dominate their relations, then there would be peace in the Gaza Strip and West Bank. Mutual tolerance and respect between Christians and Muslims would ease religious tensions in various parts of the world like Nigeria, Sudan and Middle East.
The religious conflict between Muslims and Jews has far-reaching effects as far as international peace and stability takes precedence. Realizing that the conflict may take centuries to resolve, Jewish, Christian and Muslim leaders agreed on religious mediation and facilitation aimed at creating peace in Palestine and Israel.
The leaders signed Alexandria Declaration that has significantly promoted interfaith dialogue and relationship between the Muslims, Christians and Jews in the Middle East and particularly in Israel and Palestine.
Smock asserts that, “…a new interfaith organization has been launched with a similar mission to that the Alexandria process, namely, to provide a religious track to what hopefully will be a political track to promote peace in the Middle East” (4). Therefore, both Palestine and Israel religious leaders have agreed to commit themselves to prevent religious conflicts and promote lasting peace and reconciliation.
Smock, David. “Religion in the World Affairs: Its Role in the Conflict and Peace.” United States Institute of Peace: Special Report 201, 2008. Web. 6 April 2011.
Wolf, Miroslav. “The Social Meaning of Reconciliation.” Interpretation 54.2 (2000): 158-73.