Wars of religion
Many ethnic conflicts have religion as a significant factor. The majority of these, in turn, have radical Islam as one of the protagonists, either in conflict with another faith, and/or with ‘moderate’, secular or ‘pro-Western’ Muslim governments.
The maps on this page show the most numerous religion practised in each country, although actual religious observance varies widely. As with language, the global picture belies the diversity of human religion, with only a handful of religions having real claim to worldwide appeal.
Of world religions, Christianity in its various forms is easily the largest and is, moreover, continuing to experience rapid growth (particularly in its Evangelical and Pentecostal variants) in regions such as Africa and China, despite instances of severe repression in many countries.
Globally, Western Europe is exceptional in the degree to which secularity is the accepted norm in public life. However, even in Western Europe the strength of the religious underpinnings of society should not necessarily be dismissed. In the United Kingdom, for example, over 70% of the population identify themselves as Christian in the national census, even if only a small proportion of that total actively attend church. Elsewhere in the world, public religious observance frequently continues to be the rule rather than the exception.
Conflicts in which religion is a significant factor include:
The text and maps on this page are adapted from Fields of Fire – An Atlas of Ethnic Conflict
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