Not a Religious War: The ISIS/Daesh Attack on a French Catholic Priest

I provide a link here to my RSIS Commentary on the killing of the French priest in his own church.

If I may expand a few points I can’t speak about there (there is a strict word limit). Firstly, attacks on other religions are not new. While the majority of those killed by ISIS/ Daesh and many other terrorist movements that claim to speak in the name of Islam are Muslims other religions have been targeted, especially in areas like Iraq and Syria, but also Bangladesh. As such I am not picking this attack out as new but as something that will seem new within the Western context.

Secondly, a lot more can be said about the example of Muhammad and the Islamic tradition of religious harmony. Certainly it is not an unblemished record and is not what we would see as a full respect for Freedom of Religion in the modern sense. Nevertheless, until the modern period the Islamic world generally offered a higher level of tolerance, respect, and practical safety for living in diverse religious contexts than what was found in Europe. The history of pogroms, the ghettoes, etc. meant that many Jews welcomed or fled to Muslim majority/ ruled areas to escape Christian oppression.

Thirdly, there are a good number of other sources responding to this. Tariq Ramadan spoke well on the issue on the UK’s Channel 4 news, while other media, political, and religious commentators have responded well.

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