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International Review of the Red Cross, 2005, No. 858 – Religion

Religion is a salient and ambivalent feature in many conflicts and its growing and intensified manifestation of religion in politics and vice versa is part of the environment of ICRC operations. The tension between absolute belief in the divine and the historical nature of human existence influences the acceptance of both international law, including humanitarian law, and humanitarian action. Various articles in the present issue of the Review show the importance of religion in these fields on the tightrope between bigotry and indifference.

Issue No. 858 - 2005

Theme: Religion

Table of contents

  • Editorial - IRRC June 2005 No 858
  • Interview with Ahmad Ali Noorbala
    Toni Pfanner, Andreas Wigger, Mostafa Mohaghegh
    President of the National Red Crescent Society of the Islamic Republic of Iran and Professor of Psychiatry at the Medical Faculty of Tehran University.
  • Religion, violence and "holy wars"
    Hans Küng
    The dangerous threats to world peace unquestionably pose challenging practical questions that are not easy to answer. Beside the need for a religious reinterpretation in the spirit of peace, peaceful conduct must also be taught and practised.
  • Islam and international law
    Sheikh Wahbeh M. al-Zuhili
    If war does take place, it is subject to clear regulations under Islamic Shari’a. Religious teachings had an evident effect on the emergence of the rules of war, which attained the status of legal rules based on three fundamental requirements: necessity, humanity and chivalry.
  • Hinduism and international humanitarian law
    Manoj Kumar Sinha
    The roots of humanitarianism can be traced back to ancient India, where respect for the laws of war was deeply rooted in the armed forces. Those ancient laws established rules for the conduct of rulers towards their peoples, including, for example, the obligation to treat the vanquished humanely and the prohibition of poisoned weapons.
  • Judaism and the ethics of war
    Norman Solomon
    To get some idea of how Judaism handles the ethics of war, the author reviews a selection of sources from the earliest scriptures to rabbinic discussion in contemporary Israel, thus over a period of three thousand years.
  • Faith-based and secular humanitarian organizations
    Elizabeth Ferris
    Faith-based organizations share many characteristics with their secular counterparts and this article identifies some of these similarities as well as some of the differences. It also highlights some of the differences within the faith-based community, particularly between Christian organizations involved in humanitarian assistance.
  • The influence of the Muslim religion in humanitarian aid
    Jamal Krafess
    The Muslim religion considers both humanitarian actions and the duty to help as religious obligations by which all Muslims, rich and poor, are bound. Quranic texts and hadiths sometimes have an exhortatory tone encouraging charity works.
  • Encountering perceptions in parts of the Muslim world and their impact on the ICRC's ability to be effective
    Andreas Wigger
    This article will examine a number of the different perceptions held by Muslims — and in particular by Islamists — with whom ICRC delegates come into contact. Many of the patterns of thought and reaction described below are found, with variations,in non-Muslim religious communities.
  • Governmental donor agencies and faith-based organizations
    Anne-Marie Holenstein
    Religions and faith communities can be effective as “angels of peace” and as “warmongers.” This ambivalence of the religious factor has a lot to do with the fact that the relationship of the world religions to violence is equivocal.
  • Procedural principles and safeguards for internment/administrative detention in armed conflict and other situations of violence
    Jelena Pejic
    The commentary to the procedural principles and safeguards outlined in this text mentions the different legal sources governing deprivation of liberty for security reasons in international armed conflicts, non-international armed conflicts and other situations of violence.
  • Action by the International Committee of the Red Cross in the event of violations of international humanitarian law or of other fundamental rules protecting persons in situations of violence
    The guidelines concerning ICRC action in the event of violations of international humanitarian law have recently been reviewed and supplemented to take account of various developments that have affected the environment in which it works: the proliferation and increasing diversity of those involved in situations of violence, ad hoc international tribunals and the International Criminal Court, changes in the world of communications, etc.
  • The Paul Reuter Prize on international humanitarian law 2006 : Call for applications
    The Paul Reuter Prize is generally awarded every three years for a major work in the sphere of international humanitarian law.The Prize will be awarded for the eighth time in spring 2006. Authors may send their applications no later than 1 November 2005.
  • Books and articles
    Recent acquisitions of the Library & Research Service, ICRC