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Why Is There So Little Shia-Sunni Dialogue?: Understanding the Deficit of Intra-Muslim Dialogue and Interreligious Peacemaking
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Peace and Conflict Research. Danish Inst Int Studies, Ostbanegade 117, DK-2100 Copenhagen, Denmark.
Uppsala Univ, Dept Peace & Conflict Res, S-75120 Uppsala, Sweden.
Univ Gothenburg, Dept Literature Hist Ideas & Relig, S-40530 Gothenburg, Sweden.
2019 (English)In: Religions, ISSN 2077-1444, E-ISSN 2077-1444, Vol. 10, no 10, article id 567Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Despite a growth in fatalities resulting from organized violence with Shia-Sunni dimensions over the last two decades, in this study, we show, using existing data-bases on interreligious dialogue and peacemaking, that only less than two percent of the interreligious peacemaking organizations in the world are specialized in dialogue between Shias and Sunnis. Why is there so little institutionalized Shia-Sunni dialogue occurring when the need for such dialogue is evident? This study identifies and discusses this lack of institutional initiatives designed to prevent violence, manage conflicts and facilitate processes of intra-Muslim de-sectarianization. We discuss what we see as the three seemingly most obvious explanations-(1) the dismissal of the relevance of a Shia-Sunni cleavage, (2) the inappropriateness of the interreligious dialogue concept in the Muslim context, and (3) the substitution of institutional interreligious dialogue by other channels. Although we suggest that the third is the most potent explanation to pursue, we do not aim to provide a comprehensive explanation for the Shia-Sunni religious dialogue deficit. Instead, our aspiration is mainly to present and substantiate a puzzle that has not been identified or discussed in previous research. This can set an agenda for a reinvigorated research endeavor into the contemporary challenges for interreligious peacemaking.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. Vol. 10, no 10, article id 567
Keywords [en]
interreligious dialogue, interreligious peacemaking, Civil War, organized violence, Sunni, Shia, sectarianism, Middle East, regional power struggle
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-397681DOI: 10.3390/rel10100567ISI: 000494721400045OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-397681DiVA, id: diva2:1373873
Funder
Riksbankens Jubileumsfond, NHS14-1701:1Available from: 2019-11-28 Created: 2019-11-28 Last updated: 2019-11-28Bibliographically approved

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