The York mural controversy: when art and politics collide – Yakabuski

Yakabuski on the YorkU mural controversy:

It is entirely legitimate to criticize Israel’s defiant construction of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, which UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moonagain this week called “an affront to the Palestinian people and the international community.” But there is nothing uncomplicated about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, yet the terms “apartheid,” “racism” and “war crimes” steamroll over its discussion on campus.

The settlements are an obstacle to peace and the creation of a Palestinian state. They call into question Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s commitment to a two-state solution. But the settlements are not the cause of the conflict. And, as the U.S. ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, reminded the Security Council this week, “settlement activity can never in itself be an excuse for violence.”

Only the mural’s artist, Ahmad Al Abid, knows what he intended to convey in his painting. Personally, I see Palestinian frustration and impotence more than the “purely anti-Semitic hate propaganda” Mr. Bronfman sees. But since he’s far from alone in his view, York should seize on this controversy to do what universities are supposed to do: open minds.

“The response of college officials can make a difference,” Prof. Saxe [Brandeis University Jewish Studies professor whose survey of 3,000 Jewish students revealed hostility towards Jews] explained “Each incident should be seen as an opportunity to educate students, not merely referee a dispute.”

Source: The York mural controversy: when art and politics collide – The Globe and Mail

Azeezah Kanji: Counterpoint: While on the topic of Muslims, here are a few other numbers to note

Kanji effectively rebuts Barbara Kay’s early piece stoking fear of Muslims (Barbara Kay : Most Muslims aren’t jihadists, of course. But some of them are), providing context to the numbers Kay uses and comparisons to attitudes within other religious groups:

In order to cast her net of suspicion beyond the small number of Muslims actually involved in violent activity, Kay cites data regarding the percentage of Muslims around the world who “hold beliefs in retrograde cultural practices that cannot co-exist in harmony with Western civilization.” These beliefs include a minority of Muslims’ endorsement for capital punishment for apostasy, adultery, and homosexuality: opinions which are certainly disturbing, and are vigorously opposed by Muslim activists in those countries. But the Pew study Kay relies on does not suggest that Muslims are trying to impose these beliefs in “the West” (on the contrary, available research indicates the opposite) — so on what basis is the threat to Western civilization construed?

Indeed, when it comes to attitudes deleterious to “harmony,” surveys suggest that Kay should be directing her gaze elsewhere. American Muslims are more likely to oppose attacks on civilians (which Barbara Kay defines as “terrorism”) than any other major religious group polled in the United States. And while Kay claims that “support for terrorism is high in Islamic countries” (where, according to Pew, support for such attacks ranges from 1 per cent to 40 per cent), a 2011 Gallup poll question on whether it is ever appropriate for a military to target civilians reveals it is proportionately far higher among Christian Americans (58 per cent) and Jewish Americans (52 per cent). Curiously, Kay references the numbers on Muslim support for “terrorism” but is silent on the non-Muslim statistics.

Kay’s tunnel-vision perspective leaves out more than half the picture. In addition to her selective use of statistics, Kay also makes unsubstantiated accusations about Muslims’ use of the legal system and “political/institutional membership” to advance some nefarious but unspecified agenda — recalling the fomentation of moral panics about other minority groups in other periods of history. Exaggerated narratives about the “disease of radical Islam” have been debunked by government dataacademic analyses, and expert commentary. The fact that they still have any purchase reveals the perturbing resistance of stereotypes to reality.

Source: Azeezah Kanji: Counterpoint: While on the topic of Muslims, here are a few other numbers to note | National Post

Israeli novel Borderlife is cut from school curriculum, becomes bestseller

Seems like these are the kinds of novels that should be read by high school students to help them see the humanity in the other (as should comparable readings be part of Palestinian and Arab curricula):

A novel by an Israeli author about a love affair between an Israeli Jewish woman and a Palestinian Muslim man from the West Bank who meet in New York has been excluded from Israel’s regular high school curriculum, out of concern it might threaten the Jewish identity of students reading it.

The book, written by Dorit Rabinyan and known in English as Borderlife, was recommended for inclusion in the curriculum of upper high school grades by a committee advising the education ministry, which nevertheless decided against it. “Young people of adolescent age tend to romanticize and don’t, in many cases, have the systemic vision that includes considerations involving maintaining the national-ethnic identity of the people and the significance of miscegenation,” a senior ministry official said, according to Ha’aretz, an Israeli newspaper. (The Hebrew word translated by Ha’aretz as “miscegenation” can also mean “assimilation.”) The official, in other words, feared that reading the book might lead students to accept as normal romance between Jews and Muslims.

The education ministry later backtracked to some degree and said the book could be taught in advanced literature classes, but would not be part of the regular curriculum, according to Ha’aretz.

In an interview, Rabinyan describes the novel’s central romance as one in which the protagonists for the first time discover a member of their homeland’s opposite community as an individual. Hilmi, the Palestinian, is simply Hilmi, a man. And Liat “is no longer her Israeli people, her Israeli country, army, government. She’s herself.”

At the same time, Rabinyan says, every individual is shaped by the soil on which they grow, and she wanted to explore the resulting tensions when the two characters connect. “What I was looking into was the power of love to drift us into each other’s identity, and to have our mutual third identity that is born be a threat, be the one that can colour us with the loved one’s colours, and take over and maybe swallow ourselves and our original identity,” she says.

Rabinyan drew on her own past when writing the book. “I did live a year in New York. I did meet a group of young Palestinians who impressed me and really made me tick in a way that inspired me.” But she says that when writing literature, memories are not enough. “We have to add a portion of fantasy.”

The political undertones of the book might not have been Rabinyan’s primary concern, but they are unavoidable. The symbiosis of the couple, she says, is like the symbiosis of Palestinians and Israelis inhabiting the same land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. “We have no borderlines between us, and we have no definition of our identities in ways that usually two neighbours have, and this is why we treat one another in such a way that maintains the conflict to be more than just a fight of two gangs over territory,” she says.

Instead, says Rabinyan, the conflict is defined as an existential question of identity. “It’s a matter of the Jewish DNA being threatened by the surrounding Arab culture,” and it is this fear of being swallowed that justifies—demands, even—Jews’ isolation from their Palestinian neighbours.

Source: Borderlife is cut from school curriculum, becomes bestseller

Study: When It Comes To Identifying As Multiracial, Gender Matters

Interesting large-scale US study on how people present their ethnic identity:

In families where biological parents are of different races and ethnicities, daughters are more likely to self-identify as “multiracial” than sons, according to a new study in the February issue of the American Sociological Review. This is especially true in families with one black parent and one white parent.

“It would seem that, for biracial women, looking racially ambiguous is tied to racial stereotypes surrounding femininity and beauty,” said Lauren Davenport, assistant professor at Stanford University and author of the study. She suggests it may be easier for women to identify with multiple racial groups because they are “cast as a mysterious, intriguing ‘racial other'” as opposed to men, who are more likely to be seen as a “person of color.”

Davenport’s study was based on a sample of more than 37,000 incoming college freshmen across the county who fit into one of three mixed backgrounds — Asian-white, black-white, and Latino-white. Using data from 2001 to 2003, Davenport looked at how these individuals chose to identify themselves.

She found that a higher percentage of women than men self-labeled as multiracial across all three groups. Among black-whites, 76 percent of women identified as multiracial, compared to 64 percent of men in that group. Fifty-six percent of Asian-white women classified as multiracial, as opposed to 50 percent of Asian-white men. And 40 percent of Latino-white women self-labeled as multiracial in comparison to 32 percent of those men.

In addition to gender, Davenport looked at how religion and class affect the way people identify. Multiracial people who don’t have strong religious ties were more likely to identify as multiracial, as well as those from highly affluent neighborhoods.

Overall, those with black and white parents were the most likely to identify as multiracial, and the least likely to describe themselves as white only. Seventy-one percent of black-white study participants identified as multiracial, while only 54 percent of Asian-white and 37 percent of Latino-white participants opted for the same label.

In the paper, Davenport attributed this tendency among people with black and white parents to the “one-drop rule,” more formally known as hypodescent, which structured how part-black individuals were once legally and socially identified in the United States:

Because people in this group have so strongly been expected to identify as black, they are choosing to assert a new identity, one that incorporates both their black and white heritages. It is also likely that, for some, a multiracial label reflects a desire to socially distance and distinguish oneself from blacks.

Davenport says understanding the way people identity themselves racially is crucial for its political consequences. Not only does self-identification shape the American racial landscape, but it also impacts the enforcement of laws, implementation of affirmative action, and allocation of political resources.

But studying multiracial identity can be tricky. The Pew Research Center spent a lot of time last year researching the mixed population of America. Not only did they find that many mixed-race Americans changed how they viewed their racial identity over the course of their lifetimes, but also that self-identification was highly dependent on situational circumstances, others’ perceptions, and personal upbringing.

So does this mean we’ll all start to subconsciously assume that all wealthy biracial women with zero religious affiliations are mixed? Probably not. But if the projection that one in five Americans will be of mixed race by 2050 bears out, we’re going to need to keep understanding how people relate to being multiracial.

Source: Study: When It Comes To Identifying As Multiracial, Gender Matters : Code Switch : NPR

Israel, Antisemitism and Terrorism: Gurski

Phil Gurski on Israel and the tendency to label any criticism as antisemitism (the former heads of Shin Bet, the interior intelligence agency, make similar points regarding the continued occupation in the documentary, The Gatekeepers):

There is no question that Israel faces significant security challenges in its dangerous neighbourhood (although I would stop short of calling those threats existential for the simple reason that Israel’s humongous technological superiority, not to mention its undisclosed nuclear arsenal, makes it more than a match for any state stupid enough to attack it) .  And Israel is, and should be, an ally of this country.  It is a vibrant, albeit unwieldy, democracy that serves as an all too rare example for the region.

On the other hand, it has been increasing settlement activity in the Occupied Territories for decades, a clear and flagrant violation of international law. It is beholden to fanatic religious zealots who are no different than the religious extremists we find elsewhere in the region. It has cracked down on freedom of association, but only for groups that are critical of the Israeli government.  All in all, some of what it does can be seen as kindling for the extremist fire.  No, terrorism does not spring solely from Israeli policies, but some of those policies are counterproductive.

Israel likes to complain that the world holds it up to a higher standard than that of its neighbours and that there are much more egregious actors who are a lot worse.  True, but as a democracy, and one that gets gazillions in subsidies from its main ally, the US, it has to put on its big boy pants and accept criticism. Without pouting and calling those that disagree with it Jew haters.

Israel has to acknowledge that its policies in the West Bank are inimical to its long term security and stop kowtowing to fundamentalist religious kooks.  We will work beside Israel to keep it safe and prosperous.  In exchange it has to accept sometimes harsh words.  Friends tell friends when they err.  Canada is Israel’s friend.  It’s time for the latter to listen.  Because it will hear more honest talk from Canada under the Trudeau government than it did under the previous one.

Source: Borealis Threat & Risk Consulting

Smarter people more concerned about racism but no more likely to support policies against it: study

Interesting research suggesting a gap between attitudes and actions:

Recent research shows that Americans think about racial questions differently than other political issues.

In general, people with better scores on tests of intelligence are more likely to describe themselves as liberal, researchers have found. For example, they’re more likely to support intrusive governmental policies intended to protect the environment, according to the new study, which was published earlier this month. They’re also more likely to say that African-Americans are discriminated against and far less likely to call them stupid or lazy.

When you get down to the brass tacks of dealing with racial prejudice, though, more intelligent people seem to tunnel back into the woodwork. The new study revealed that smarter respondents are no more likely to support specific policies designed to improve racial equality – even though they are more liberal on other issues and are more likely to see discrimination as a problem.

That was the riddle Geoffrey Wodtke, the author of the study and a sociologist at the University of Toronto, was hoping to solve. To be sure, many white participants probably were conservatives who opposed the policies for reasons having nothing to do with race – skepticism about the government’s ability to engineer social change or commitment to the ideal of the free market. Those reasons, though, should have been less compelling for the more intelligent respondents.

“If this is truly an issue of higher-ability whites being more opposed to fairly intrusive government interventions,” Wodtke said, “they should be opposed to those across the board, at least if the principle is consistently applied.”

His conclusion is that while many intelligent Americans might think of themselves as progressive, they might not be entirely prepared to stand by their stated views on race.

Wodtke examined data from the General Social Survey, which has been asking Americans about their attitudes on a range of subjects since 1972. The survey includes a short, simple test of verbal intelligence.

Among those white participants who performed poorly on the intelligence test, 46 percent described blacks as lazy and 23 described them as unintelligent. Thirty-five percent did not want black neighbors, and 47 percent would not want a black sibling, son- or daughter-in-law.

Among those who did well on the verbal test, 29 percent said blacks were lazy and 13 percent said they were unintelligent. Twenty-four percent and 28 percent opposed residential integration and interracial marriage, respectively.

Among those who scored badly, fewer than two-thirds said employers discriminate against blacks, compared to nearly four-fifths of those who did well on the test.

In other words, white respondents with better verbal intelligence scores have more favorable opinions about blacks and are less likely to blame them for their disadvantages in the economy and in society. That was even true among white respondents with the same level of education.

Yet there was no relationship between respondents’ intelligence and their support for affirmative action in employment or for busing between school districts, which had the support of 12 percent and 23 percent of all white participants, respectively.

Source: Smarter people more concerned about racism but no more likely to support policies against it: study

Winnipeg a leader in fixing Canada’s racism problem

Appears to be a concerted, community-wide effort. Encouraging:

Declaring 2016 the “Year of Reconciliation” for Winnipeg, he announced a host of new initiatives aimed at combatting racism, including mandatory training for all city staff on the impact of residential schools, a promise to visit every Winnipeg high school to address diversity, and a program to foster public engagement in reconciliation. It is a kind of commitment to the issue of racism never before seen by a civic leader in Winnipeg, and one that civic leaders say has propelled Winnipeg to the forefront of the issue in Canada, as other cities begin the tough work of reconciliation.

“On that day [a year ago], this community chose to come together to recognize the existence of racism, and that we needed to work together to better address it,” Bowman said. “On that day, we chose unity over division. We responded to the Maclean’s article with honesty and humility. We knew we could not, and cannot, mend the profound wrongs and injustices of generations and centuries in one year, with a single summit or press conference. But I remain committed to the journey.”

Photograph by John Woods

Photograph by John Woods

Numerous Indigenous speakers and community leaders at the press conference announced forthcoming projects, like St. John’s High School student Sylas Parenteau, who talked about an upcoming march for diversity by 3,000 Winnipeg School Division students, continuing the anti-racism work the division undertook in the last year. Far from a top-down effort, “we’ve been able to drive this conversation down to the individual level, where it really needs to occur,” Bowman said.

Bowman addressed a packed, second-floor foyer at City Hall. Seated with him were many of the same people who stood shoulder-to-shoulder with him last year. Michael Champagne, of Aboriginal Youth Opportunities, and founder of Meet Me at the Belltower, led a smudge; a local imam led a prayer. Proceedings were briefly interrupted by a Somali mother who told media she hasn’t seen her children in the six years since they were allegedly taken by Winnipeg Child and Family Services (CFS). Rather than being promptly frogmarched out by security, she was embraced by Ojibwe elder Randi Gage, and promised an audience with Bowman; Clunis, the police chief, wrapped an arm around her husband’s shoulder. Justice Murray Sinclair, head of the Truth and Reconciliation

Commission, addressed the controversy, acknowledging the “validity” of her concerns, which mirror those many Indigenous people feel toward CFS. “They are an example of what this day is all about—the sense of injustice so many feel about the way that they are treated by society, and their inability to be able to express themselves in a full way, to be able to achieve their ambitions in being part of this nation.”

There were critics of last year’s article in the room at City Hall, too; it remains deeply controversial in the city. But some, like radio host Charles Adler, who found the thrust of it “incredibly insulting,” admitted it ultimately “forced all of us to look into our souls,” and see the problem for what it was: “a human dignity issue,” threatening the future of the city. Instead of racism, Adler, who hosted Bowman’s press conference last week, believes Winnipeg will one day become known as “the capital of reconciliation.”

“At the very foundation of attacking racism there are two things we need to think about,” said Sinclair, a member of Bowman’s new Indigenous advisory circle: “What is it that our leaders are saying? And what is it that our leaders are doing? And to that, I say: Look around. Look at what our mayor has done. Look at the fact that our mayor has stood up, has embraced the ambition of trying to address it in a way that all people of this city are comfortable with who they are, are comfortable with a sense of their future, of who they can be in this society.”

Source: Winnipeg a leader in fixing Canada’s racism problem

Conservatives cherry picked certain Syrian refugee files: documents

Not one of the previous government’s finest hours, even if a case could be made to prefer those from threatened minority communities:

Newly released government documents paint the clearest picture to date of how the Conservative government’s controversial approach to Syrian refugee resettlement played out last year.

Before last winter, the previous government had only committed to take in 1,300 Syrian refugees from the millions fleeing the civil war there and spilling into surrounding countries.

Former prime minister Stephen Harper had been under intense pressure — including from inside his own cabinet — to increase that total, but only agreed to accept a further 10,000 provided that religious and ethnic minorities were prioritized.

The policy, unveiled last January, was contentious. The vast majority of the Syrian refugee population is Muslim. The decision to hone in on “religious minorities” prompted allegations the government was biased against Muslims and was also violating United Nations principles governing refugee resettlement.

The refugees the Canadian government accepts for resettlement are chosen by the UN. They do not use ethnicity or religion as a basis for determining whether someone requires resettlement to a third country.

But documents tabled in the House of Commons this week in response to a question from the NDP show how the Conservatives found a workaround.

In February 2015, visa officers in Jordan and Lebanon were instructed to track “areas of focus” for Syrian refugees, which included tracking whether someone was a member of a vulnerable ethnic or religious minority, the documents say.

They applied that criteria to the files they were receiving from the UN.

“Cases meeting at least one of the areas of focus were identified for expedited processing,” the documents say. “Cases that did not meet the areas of focus were included in the mission’s inventory and processed as a regular case.”

The tracking stopped in November 2015.

The Citizenship and Immigration department, asked repeatedly in recent months for a breakdown of Syrian refugees by religion, has consistently said it does not track that information.

On Wednesday, however, spokesperson Jessica Seguin said while the department applied the areas-of-focus approach, it never recorded how many cases met those criteria in part because the computer system isn’t set up that way.

“It is true that for a short time this information was anecdotally tracked in a few missions, but it was never done systematically,” Seguin said in an e-mail.

“No refugees were screened out of the resettlement process as a result of the areas of focus.”

The documents also illustrate the impact of another controversial Conservative move last year — auditing government-assisted refugee case files to see whether they were in keeping with the areas of focus and security requirements.

According to the data tabled in the House of Commons, in June 2015, the highest number of government-assisted refugees admitted to Canada so far that year was 62. That same month, Harper ordered the audit.

The following month, admissions fell to just 9 people.

Source: Conservatives cherry picked certain Syrian refugee files: documents

‘Submission’ to Islam: Critics Slam Cover-Up of Rome’s Nude Statues for Iran’s President

The challenges in finding a balance in protocol.

Personally, while serving halal food is one thing, a more balanced approach would be to pick another venue without the statues and make wine optional rather than automatically served.

And Iranians sometimes show more flexibility than expected. While working in Tehran in the late 80s, I was sometimes offered food and tea during Ramadan given that the obligation to fast did not apply to me as a non-Muslim:

Italian opposition politicians have lashed out at a decision to cover up classical statues ahead of a visit by Iranian President Hasan Rouhani to a world-famous Roman museum, for fear of offending his Muslim sensibilities.

Nude statues among the historical collections at the Capitoline Museums were hidden behind large white panels when Rouhani visited on Monday for a meeting with Prime Minister Matteo] Renzi. The museum said the prime minister’s office requested the cover-up.

Italian media also reported that no wine was served during an official dinner for Rouhani.

“The level of cultural subordination of Renzi and the left has exceeded all limits of decency,” declared right-wing politician Giorgia Meloni, who served as Youth Minister in a previous Silvio Berlusconi cabinet.

Writing on her Facebook account, she wondered what Italy could expect next – the covering of St. Peter’s Basilica “with a huge box” when the emir of Qatar visits next week?

Rouhani’s European tour, his first since the lifting of sanctions under the nuclear deal, promises to open up billions of dollars in business deals, including a major order for Airbus aircraft. At a ceremony held in the Capitoline Museums on Monday, Rouhani and Renzi oversaw the signing of contracts worth up to $18.3 billion.

“Renzi was clearly keen to avoid offending his new business partner,” the Italian news site The Local commented of the statue cover-up.

The Dying Gaul, one of the historical statues at Rome’s Capitoline Museums. (Photo: Musei Capitoli)

A lawmaker in Berlusconi’s Forza Italia party, Luca Squeri, described the concealing of the historical statues as “a sign of excessive zeal.”

“Respect for other cultures cannot and must not equal the negation of ours. This is not respect, it is the cancellation of differences or, worse still, submission,” the ANSA news agency quoted him as saying.

Source: ‘Submission’ to Islam: Critics Slam Cover-Up of Rome’s Nude Statues for Iran’s President

Shias, Catholics and Protestants: Sectarian splits are widening in Islam and lessening in Christianity | The Economist

Worth reflecting upon:

ONE OF this week’s most arresting news photographs featured Pope Francis in smiling conversation with President Hassan Rouhani of Iran, who is touring Europe in the hope of asserting his country’s emergence from international isolation. The Iranian visitor asked for the pontiff’s prayers, and the Vatican announced afterwards that “common spiritual values” emerged during the conversation. It was the first meeting between a pope and an Iranian president since 1999.

A 40-minute chat, with interpreters, probably wasn’t long enough for much investigation of those shared sensibilities. But among observers of the world of religion it has often been suggested that Islam’s Shia-Sunni split corresponds in certain ways with the Catholic-Protestant divide in Christendom. Of course, as with any broad generalisation about religion, you can’t push it too far.

But Vali Nasr, an Iranian-American scholar-cum-diplomat who is a leading world authority on Shia Islam, finds the parallel quite striking. As he has argued, both Shia Muslims and Catholics have a respect for clerical authority and for theological tradition as it has evolved over time; that is in contrast with the stress put by many Sunnis, and Protestants, on going back to the original divine revelation and ignoring whatever came later.

In the Shia tradition, as in the Catholic one, there is a long line of succession through which sacred authority is thought to have been transferred over the centuries. Both among the Shias and the Catholics, there is emphasis on the idea of martyrdom leading to redemption. Some images of the slain Ali, whose murder in 680 is a primordial event for Shias, bear at least a passing resemblance to Christian depictions of Jesus Christ.

Of course, you can find points of similarity between any pair of religions and cultures if you look hard enough and set aside the major differences. But John Allen, a commentator on Vatican affairs, has argued that Catholics and Shias have geopolitical reasons for keeping in touch, as well as the religious and cultural reasons cited by Mr Nasr.

When it looks at Syria, the Vatican is instinctively protective of the Iranian-backed Assad regime, because it fears that the government’s overthrow by Sunni militants would spell doom for Christians. (That has not prevented some individual Catholic priests speaking out bravely against the Syrian regime’s atrocities.)

In September 2013, the Holy See strongly resisted American threats to bomb government forces in Syria. Then, at least, the Iranians had good reason to feel grateful to the Vatican. Another point is that wherever fundamentalist Sunnis (from conservative monarchs to populist Muslim Brothers) have held power, they have generally been anti-Shia and anti-Christian in equal measure.

But there is one big difference between intra-Muslim and intra-Christian divisions. The former are tending to grow wider, as tension between Iran and Saudi Arabia exacerbates the sectarian chasm in every other place where different forms of Islam coincide, from the civil-war zones of Syria and Yemen to the streets of Beirut and Islamabad.

Among Christian leaders, meanwhile, it is generally agreed that everything should be done to overcome division. As well as welcoming his Iranian guest, Pope Francis announced this week that he would go to Sweden in October to attend the start of a year of commemorations of the religious Reformation initiated by Martin Luther on October 31, 1517. In some ways, that is an extraordinary thing for a pope to be celebrating; the fact that the Vatican lost its sway over northern Europe, and blood-letting between Catholics and Lutherans convulsed the centre of Europe for a couple of centuries.

But a joint reflection by Catholic and Lutheran theologians has come up with an elegant way in which both churches can mark the event; it stresses that Luther’s original intention was to reform Catholicism from within, not to start a new church; and that everybody can agree that some reform was needed.

In the same sort of spirit, Shia and Sunni theologians get together from time to time and stress that whatever their differences, they recognise one another as Muslims and monotheists; but at the moment Islam’s sectarian hotheads seem to be making a much louder noise. If the pope and Mr Rouhani had a bit longer together, they might usefully have reflected on how people can be persuaded to stop killing one another because they have different interpretations of events in sacred history that took place long, long ago.

Source: Shias, Catholics and Protestants: Sectarian splits are widening in Islam and lessening in Christianity | The Economist