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Book cover: Interfaith Dialogue and Peacebuilding

Interfaith Dialogue
and Peacebuilding

By David Smock

As the Christian, Muslim and Jewish contributors to this volume have discovered firsthand, religion is better at fostering peace than at fueling war. Rarely, conclude the authors, is religion the principal cause of international conflict, even though some adversaries may argue differently. But religion can often be invaluable in promoting understanding and reconciliation—and the need to exploit that potential has never been greater.


The Role of Religion in Peacemaking

Killing in Nigeria

In recent years in Nigeria, tens of thousands of Christians and Muslims have been killed in violent conflicts.

Muslim seen through bullet hole in windshield

A Muslim seen through a bullet hole in Yelwa. (AP Photo/George Osodi)

The country's Plateau State has been particularly hard hit. In Yelwa-Nshar, in the Shendam local government area, almost 1,000 individuals were killed in one month alone, provoking reprisals in both Kano State and Southeastern State.

Many factors are important in this conflict, including ethnicity, economic differentials, land ownership, migratory patterns and political power. At the same time, substantial tension between Muslim and Christian faith communities has contributed to the violence, and the conflict has often been characterized as a religious one.

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