Ron E. Hassner
This chapter argues that contested sacred sites pose indivisibility challenges which can drive even natural religious allies into violent conflict, and also outlines the multiple roots of conflicts over sacred sites based on the type of objective at stake: legitimacy, security, or profit. It then turns to investigate several aspects that characterize these disputes, regardless of cause. Sacred sites cannot be shared to the satisfaction of all parties involved. The characteristics of disputes over sacred places include cohesion, boundaries, and value. Leaders have pursued three primary strategies in order to avoid bloodshed: partition, scheduling, and exclusion. These approaches develop tensions that threaten to burst as soon as one of the claimants perceives a change in the balance of power. Religious leaders can introduce flexibility into the rules governing holy places and add a measure of harmony to contests over holy sites.
Monica Duffy Toft
This chapter, which describes why religion is resurging in the political sphere and the conditions under which religion is most likely to cause troubling violence, also places the source of the problem at the intersection of local politics and three global trends: modernization, democratization, and globalization. The urbanization that accompanied modernization is largely an artifact of the increasing industrialization of production, including especially agricultural production. A greater voice for religion and religious actors is assisted by the global movement toward greater democratization. When globalization accelerated, religious actors are in a position to harness its associated technologies. In the current era, the transnational dimensions of religion, and in particular Islam, explain why religious civil wars have the character of starting out local and then becoming more global. Solving religiously inspired violence demands the combination of religious authority with a better idea.
This chapter presents an account for religious violence, and also evaluates institutional independence and political theology more carefully. Then, it uses these two factors to elaborate forms of religious violence: communal conflict and terrorism. Political theology and institutional independence are far from the only factors that explain religious violence, but it is proposed that they can account for communal conflict and terrorism. The analysis of Monica Duffy Toft's cases shows that nine of the twenty one religious civil wars in which religion has shaped ends have involved opposition groups with an integrationist political theology, all of them Muslim. Moreover, the analysis of the Terrorism Knowledge Base exhibits a positive link between authoritarian regimes and the site where religious terrorists work. It is noted that religious violence is least likely to occur in settings of consensual independence, which are found most commonly in religion-friendly liberal democracies.