Religious Desecration and Ethnic Violence
NAVAL POSTGRADUATE SCHOOL MONTEREY CA
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Desecration of religious places has drawn the attention of the world media, academics and policymakers on a number of occasions. The desecration of the Church of the Nativity, the cross-desecration by both Orthodox and Muslims of the Balkans, the desecration of the Sikh Golden Temple, the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddha Monolith by the Taliban in Afghanistan and many others have attracted world condemnation. However, there has been little or no cross-sectional research or academic enquiry into the causes or impacts of desecration. The question of what constitutes desecration and what are the impacts of desecration are the subject of this study. This study attempts to establish that desecration could be a factor for protest, rebellion and violence, often independent of political, economic and social factors. The study begins with a discussion about the concept of the sacred and profane followed by an analysis of what factors influence sacredness. Based on a historical perspective of desecration and pollution a causal relationship is established to explain why believers consider desecration to be a challenge and resort to protests, rebellion or violence. Finally, the hypotheses are demonstrated qualitatively, through a number of cases studies.
- Humanities and History
- Unconventional Warfare