Religion & Politics - a Dangerous Recipe

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POLT 4600:
RELIGIOUS INTOLERANCE AND PERSECUTION

Spring 1, 2011

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

I. DEFINITIONS OF KEY CONCEPTS

a.Religion
b.Persecution and Intolerance
c.Humanitarian space

II. RISE OF EXTREMISM

a.Why?
b.The response and role of the international community

III. HOW TO CREATE HUMANITARIAN SPACE FOR THE VICTIM OF RELIGIOUS PERSECUTION?

a.Mobilization of the international community as a whole
b.Fight the hypocrisis of governments that should be role models c. Facilitate the proliferation of human rights and democracy

IV. Why is there a need for separation between religious authorities and governments?

a.The role of religious institutions
b.Achievements made by states that are free of the oppression of religions and dangers related to the participation of religions to the political debate.

INTRODUCTION:

`This project is going to analyze the curse represented by a coalition between religious authorities and governments, and why this reality should be opposed.

Sadly, the power of religious authorities in the political debate is till too relevant. From developed countries to developing countries, the issues related to the ideals of the religious authorities are the roots of the intolerance and persecution that minorities are victim of.

The international community as a whole must realize that this issue must be prevented through the proliferation of human rights. In addition, we must provide both legal and material protection to the victims of religious intolerance and persecution. Too often, migrants that are victims of religious persecution are forced to migrate illegally and to suffer the burden of their condition and their past. It appears that their situation is not a matter that the international community wants to deal with. In a way, it seems that we are more occupied to vilify rather than to collaborate in order to find peaceful solution. Unfortunately, the inactivity of the international community affects directly the people who suffer the most. Therefore, we must realize that these people need “Humanitarian Space”, and that we must provide legal and material assistance to the people in need.

Consequently, this paper will have for goal to emphasize the need for a more efficient humanitarian space fully supported by the will of the international community. In a first part, definitions of concepts will be given, in a second part, the rise of extremism will be analyze and finally we will see how humanitarian space can be created to help the victims of religious intolerance and persecution.

DEFINITIONS OF KEY CONCEPTS:

a. Religion

Religion is a part of human reality that cannot be defined. However, regardless of cultures or eras, the definitions or perceptions of what religion are, share similar aspects. Since the beginning of the human conscience and the realization of ourselves, we have been confronted to the harshness of what we perceive of facts that we cannot understand. Religious through their commandments provide to their followers codes of conduct that are defined by a universal morality. The Hindi, Muslin, Christian, Jewish or Buddhist faiths respect values that are of common aspiration. Peace and respect are values and obligation that we include inherently to the definition of religion. In the case of humanitarian action, religions have been one of the tools against the oppression of authoritarian regimes.

b. Persecution and Intolerance

Persecution is as well a concept that has not been defined by an accepted definition; nevertheless, key notions have been ratified by different declarations or conventions. The Refugee convention of 1951 states that persecution occurs when life or freedom of individuals are at risk. Threats of death, torture, cruel or inhuman treatments, as well as degrading treatments and...
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