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Taking Faith Seriously

LONDON – The term “Arab Spring” is already highly disputed. Do the revolutions across the Arab world presage the glory days of summer, or a passage through a bleak winter? One thing is certain: the influence of religion and faith in determining the outcome.

Consider the scale of what is now happening. Across the Middle East and North Africa, Islamist parties are ascendant. Sunni/Shia divisions are also at the fore. Terrorism, based on a perversion of religion, is disfiguring politics not only in familiar places, but also in Nigeria, Russia, Kazakhstan, the Philippines and elsewhere. More than half of today’s conflicts in the world today have a predominantly religious dimension.