How should political and religious leaders deal with these challenges to interfaith relations?
Egyptian Christians hold a blood-stained portrait of Jesus Christ as they protest on January 2, 2011 inside the Al-Qiddissine (The Saints) church in Alexandria, following a New Year's Eve car bomb attack on the Coptic church in the northern Egyptian city in which 21 people were killed. (Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images)
Elizabeth Tenety on January 3, 2011 5:10 PM
There are two elements to the issue at hand, the political and the religious. While they have different solutions, the problem is the same: extreme religious fundamentalism, or more specifically, extremist Muslim fundamentalism.
I believe that the violence that greeted this New Year and that stained the season of peace and good will with blood ought to be and can be overcome with our prayers for both victims and perpetrators of violence. It can be overcome with our radical love.
Posted by Valerie Elverton Dixon, on January 6, 2011 8:42 PM
We may all share fear, but we also all share hope that it will get better and faith that the divine wills peace. History teaches us all: Peace never comes through violence. Love your neighbors, including your enemies.
Posted by Janet Edwards, on January 4, 2011 3:06 PM
Secular government, one that establishes "a wall of separation between Church & State," and ensures the rights of each individual, is the only way to ensure the violence of Egypt, Nigeria, Iraq, or Pakistan can end.
Posted by Jason Pitzl-Waters, on January 4, 2011 2:01 PM
In Pakistan, a religious offense could lead to your execution. In America, under the Boehner standard as seen in the Smithsonian controversy, such offense may only lead to your work being unavailable for some public exhibition. But it is still censorship.
True religion, rather than doing violence to the other, suffers with the other. This is the root meaning of the word "compassion" - "to suffer with." Let's be willing to bear one another's sufferings in a way that fosters tolerance, respect, life, faith, and peace.
Posted by Fr. Frank Pavone, on January 4, 2011 11:06 AM
It will take the concerted efforts of all concerned: common individuals, political powers, and religious organizations, if 2011 is to be a year different from other years marked by sectarian depredations.
As long as religious beliefs are immunized from critical scrutiny and the possibility of revision, reinterpretation, and even rejection, we should expect there to be more suicide bombings, more holy wars, more strangers praying for the salvation of your soul, and more apocalyptic preachers on television looking forward to the end of the world.
Posted by Rajdeep Singh, on January 4, 2011 12:57 AM
In this twenty-first century, blasphemy laws have not yet been eradicated, and they must be. In the past, Christians used them to prosecute non-Christians or Christians with the "wrong" beliefs, and now Muslims most frequently use them. Our political "ally" Pakistan has a mandatory death sentence for anyone convicted of insulting Islam. While blasphemy laws have been used worldwide to persecute minorities, Christians are currently the main target in Pakistan.
Posted by Herb Silverman, on January 3, 2011 10:08 PM