Category: Sri Lanka

Matthew Isaacs on Religion & Ethnic Rebellion

Why do some ethnic conflicts become infused with religious rhetoric while others do not? Matthew Isaacs, a PhD candidate at Brandeis University, discusses his dissertation research investigating why Protestants in Northern Ireland were quick to attach religion to their conflict whereas Catholics were not. He also examines the role of Buddhist monks in the civil war in Sri Lanka to discover some interesting patterns. Matt argues that when religious groups within an ethnicity face significant competition among confessional lines, and when resources to these religious groups are on the wane, religion has a tendency to become more salient.

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Monica Toft on Religion, Terrorism, and Civil War

A week before the 10th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Prof. Monica Toft of Harvard University joins us to discuss what we have learned about religiously-motivated violence over the past decade. She discusses findings from her new book “God’s Century” on terrorism, informal violence, and civil war. Our conversation covers a wide range of geographic territory and faith traditions, touching upon the IRA in Ireland, Hindu nationalism in India, the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, as well as movements in the Arab Middle East.

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