28 July 2016
The killing of a French priest in a church in France seems to mark an escalation of ISIS/Daesh’s campaign in the West. It may lead to a dangerous narrative of a religious war which would play into extremist narratives on both sides. What is needed is a response which underlines how this is antithetical to Islam and a continuation of the Church’s voice in speaking up for immigrants and Muslims.
The killing of an elderly French priest in his church while saying mass may mark the beginning of a dangerous new stage in ISIS/Daesh’s assault. Certainly, the targeting of other religions, including Christianity, is not new for it has occurred in the Middle East and elsewhere for some time by ISIS/Daesh and other militant groups acting in the name of Islam. However, for Western nations this targeting of a priest will certainly appear to signal a specific escalation of potential targets.
It also raises the danger of portraying the situation as a war of religions, or clash of civilisations, and harming relations between the religious communities. Considering that, between them, Muslims and Christians count for over half the globe’s population, with numbers of both expected to rise as an overall proportion by 2050, any breakdown in relations could have dramatic effects. Responses to this attack must therefore highlight that we are not seeing a war of religion taking place.
… Paul Hedges is Associate Professor in Interreligious Studies for the Studies in Inter-Religious Relations in Plural Societies (SRP) Programme, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
SRP / Online
Last updated on 29/07/2016