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Unit 1: Redefining World Society and Culture

Lesson B: Division and Diffusion — World Belief Systems

Activity 11: Conflicts in World Religions

You examined how religions and belief systems led to unity in culture and views about government as well as how they have led to division within the religions. In this next activity, you are going to examine a table of historical events to determine how religions have led to some division between different religious groups.

Dates War or Conflict Who was Fighting Reason for Conflict
1095 – 1272 The Crusades European Catholics and Turks/Arabs/Muslims The Pope called upon all Catholic countries to take Jerusalem and other lands in the Middle East from the Muslims in the Middle East.
1562 – 1648 European Religious War Protestants and Catholics Catholic and Protestant countries fought a series of wars over the emergence of Protestantism in Europe.
1947 Pakistan splits from India Hindus and Muslims After India received independence from Great Britain the Muslim population argued that they would not be treated fairly in a country dominated by Hindus.
1948 – Present Arab – Israeli Conflict Arab Muslims and Israeli Jews In 1948, Israel was proclaimed a country. The majority of the population was Jewish settlers. The mostly Arab-Palestinian population who had traditionally lived on the land believed that their land had been taken. Neighboring Arab-Muslim countries joined forces and have fought various wars and battles in response to Israel's existence.
1969 – 2001 Conflict in Northern Ireland Catholics and Protestants Northern Ireland was under the control of Great Britain. The Irish population was primarily Catholic while the British were primarily Protestant. Northern Ireland wanted to unite with the rest of Ireland, but in order to protect the Protestants in Northern Ireland, Great Britain refused to allow it to have independence.
1980 – 1988 Iran-Iraq War Sunni Muslims and Shiite Muslims This war began as a border dispute but soon evolved into a war between these two branches of Islam.


Notebook Icon

Written Activity - Notebook

In your notebook, respond to the following questions:

  • Are there any patterns that emerge from this table?
  • Why do you think that some people or countries were willing to use religion as a reason for war or conflict?
  • Did any conflicts lead to long-lasting conflicts of some groups against others? Why do you think this might have happened?