Be it Christianity or Islam, every religion claims the message they bear is divine. But more often than not, adherents and clerics alike are left to figure out how to deal with those who refuse their doctrines. It is sometimes the case that rejection is met with violence that leaves many dead or injured at best. Anecdotes of innocent people being caught in the crossfire of religions fighting to uphold their values and beliefs aren’t far-fetched across the world.

A lot of lives have been lost in the name of religion but one commonplace observation has been that the majority of these conflicts have nothing to do with beliefs about deities. It is less about the belief and more about the refusal to accept those beliefs. They are usually instigated by a faction that believes they are better than the recipients of their animosity. “Science Daily” submits that violence starts when one group believes the lives of its members are of more value than those of another group.

Religious violence does not necessarily refer to an attack by a religious group; it refers more to an attack against a particular religion, religious beliefs, or doctrines. A typical example is the 9/11 attack on the United States by a group of Jihadists called Al-Qaeda. Almost 3,000 lives were lost in one day! Another example is the constant acts of terrorism perpetrated by a terrorist sect in Nigeria, Boko Haram, against unsuspecting citizens. To say that lives have been lost would be saying the least as many more are still being lost. Yet, Nigeria can only look forward to a future where this reign of terror will cease.

22nd August is set apart to commemorate victims of acts of violence based on religious beliefs. Sections 18, 19, and 20 of the article “Universal Declaration of Human Rights” postulates that “Freedom of religion or belief, freedom of opinion and expression, the right to peaceful assembly and the right to freedom of association are interdependent, interrelated and mutually reinforcing. Putting into consideration the growing acts of intolerance and violence against religious groups around the world, the UN adopted the day to strongly condemn such acts. And all member states agree unequivocally.

Where such crimes are committed and no culprits are found, forensic science helps, with the aid of hints and evidence left at the crime scene, to identify suspects and then bring them to justice. Crimes done in the name of religion are simply denying one’s right to freedom of worship. It’s unacceptable!

Blessing Abayomi


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