Religion as Both Unifying and Divisive during War in Iraq

April 7, 2003

Source: Religion Writers

On April 7, 2003 the Religion Writers reported that "since the Iraq war began, Muslims - and those sometimes mistaken for Muslims - say they have experienced discrimination and hate in the United States. Police are investigating possible hate crimes in Illinois, Indiana, Oregon, Wisconsin, California, and Arizona. After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, hate crimes against Arabs and Muslims increased markedly. The spike disappeared in a few months, but Muslims say they worry that if the war with Iraq - a predominantly Muslim nation - drags on, they'll see an even larger spike... The Sept. 11, 2001, attacks highlighted religion - and particularly, Islam - as both a unifying and divisive force in the public square. Some conservative Christian leaders have characterized Islam as an evil, violent religion, while interfaith groups have emphasized the common values of Islam, Christianity and Judaism. Some fear a war with a predominantly Muslim nation will increase tensions again."