30-06-2005 Article, International Review of the Red Cross, No. 858, by 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.
For decades it has been taboo to mention the role played by religious organizations in development cooperation. Today, however, there is growing awareness of the contribution that these organizations can make to sustainable development, just as there is of the risk they pose of abuse and conflict aggravation. Those involved in development therefore have to learn to cope with the double-edged nature of these organizations. Government donor agencies and faith-based organizations should jointly monitor their work in conflict-prone areas to ascertain whether it fosters peaceful settlement of conflict or whether, in fact, it aggravates the violence.