Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Journal for the Study of Religion]]> vol. 30 num. 1 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[<b> The Role of Religion in Violence and Peacebuilding</b>]]> <![CDATA[<b>The deployment of a 'sacred song' in violence in Zimbabwe: The case of the song '<i>Zimbabwe Ndeye Ropa Ramadzibaba</i>' (Zimbabwe was/is Born of the Blood of the Fathers/Ancestors) in Zimbabwean Politics</b>]]> The dominant narrative in the study of religion in Africa is that African indigenous religions are non-violent, peaceful and seek to promote healing and integration. In this paradigm, it is militant missionary religions such as Islam and Christianity that promote violence. Such an approach misses the key learning that no religion is violent in and of itself: only the determination of individuals and groups acting in the name of a particular religion is relevant as to whether/the extent to which a religion can be appropriated and deployed to perpetrate violence. This article explores the deployment of a song, 'Zimbabwe Ndeye Ropa Ramadzibaba' to justify 'sacred violence' to 'defend Zimbabwe against witches/enemies'. The central research question is: How is the song, 'Zimbabwe Ndeye Ropa…' appropriated and deployed to sacralise violence in Zimbabwean politics? The article describes the song and analyses some of the contexts in which the song has been strategically performed. The study seeks to underscore the manipulation of indigenous spirituality in justifying violence. Theoretically, the study challenges the naïve claims that indigenous religions are 'pure and upright' in relation to violence. <![CDATA[<b>An analysis of the epistemic link between the Catholic religion and violence in Uganda's history</b>]]> Uganda's recent history of violence has had an interesting characteristic: it has arguably been mainly within the Christian and more specifically Catholic religious space. I examine four cases of religious-related violence in order to cipher the epistemic roots of such violence. The four cases are: the Uganda Martyrs; Ms Alice Lakwena and the Holy Spirit Movement; Mr Joseph Kony and the Lord's Resistance Army; and Ms Ceredonia Mwerinde and the Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God. I examine the literature critically in order to test the plausibility of various positions on the possible link between the Catholic religion and violence in Uganda. My analysis looks at the links both from the point of view of the perpetrators of violence and the adherent/victims of the violence. In the end, I find that the epistemic links are more justificatory/explanatory than they are causal. <![CDATA[<b>From non-violent protests to suicide bombing: social movement theory reflections on the use of suicide violence in the Nigerian Boko Haram</b>]]> This article uses the northern Nigerian-born Boko Haram to reflect on the development and use of suicide violence in Salafi-Islamist groups. Drawing on data from a combination of semi-structured interviews and a secondary analysis of previous research on the group, the article investigates how suicide bombing developed and became a significant strategy for goal attainment within the group. Rather than 'exceptionalise' suicide violence, the article analyses this element as part of a fluid and evolving spectrum of movement tactics that evolves as such groups try to achieve their goals within the particular socio-political environment in which they identify. <![CDATA[<b>Attachment theory and religious violence: theorizing adult religious psychopathology</b>]]> This paper explores the ways in which attachment disruptions might increase the risk of adult religious psychopathology by drawing parallels between the possible symbolisms lying behind religious violence and the concept of attachment. It is first argued that the relationship between a religious believer and a religious figure can be explained as an attachment experience. Secondly, it is proposed that when a religious attachment figure becomes a target of slander, or an action is perpetrated to disrupt the bond with such a figure, the religious believer may be predisposed to defensive, adaptive reactions, in the form of protest, despair, or detachment, to protect their attachment bond and resolve the disruptions that threaten their religious attachment identity. Support for this theoretical proposition was obtained through discourse analyses of three case examples (Charlie Hebdo vs al-Qaeda, Boko Haram vs the Nigerian government, and Pastor Terry Jones vs Islamic radicalisation), which position attachment theory as an alternative explanatory framework for conceptualising religious violence as a form of religious attachment-psychopathology-aimed at safeguarding the affectional bond with a religious figure from whom one may have developed a sense of identity and safe haven. <![CDATA[<b>Invisibilising the victimised: churches in Manicaland and women's experiences of political violence in national healing and reconciliation in Zimbabwe</b>]]> Zimbabwe's political history from 2000 to the present epoch has been characterized by violence. This violence reached its peak in 2008 when ZANU PF was defeated at the polls by the opposition party, MDC-T. The violence resulted in hundreds of people losing their lives while many more were maimed, displaced and/or sexually abused. In this context of political violence, various church groups emerged as the church in Zimbabwe broke its culture of silence and sought to condemn the deployment of divisive politics and the use of political violence as a means to political gain. One such group that emerged in 2000 is a forum of churches in the province of Manicaland called Churches in Manicaland (CiM). From the onset, CiM sought to bring healing to victims of political violence as well as reconciliation of communities in Manicaland through a number of activities. The 2008 political violence resulted in the signing of the Global Political Agreement in which the issue of national healing and reconciliation became officialised and critical national institutions (the church included) were implored to play their roles meaningfully. However, scholars on national healing and reconciliation have noted how gender is often not part of reconstruction processes in post-conflict nations. What this paper seeks to do is to evaluate CiM's approach to gender in its participation in the national healing and reconciliation process in Zimbabwe, both at an unofficial level from 2000 and at the official level from 2008. Drawing on original empirical research (focus groups and interviews), the paper shows how CiM has adopted a general approach to the national healing and reconciliation process, which has made women's experiences of political violence invisible. It is envisaged that this is one way of informing the church to bring to the 'centre' women's experiences of political violence. <![CDATA[<b>Secure between God and man: peace, tranquility and sexuality through the pietistic aspirations of believing women</b>]]> This paper draws on a qualitative case study of the intersections of gender, religion and sexual and reproductive health and rights of Muslim wives on the east coast of South Africa. Under analysis are the ways in which women negotiate personal and domestic conflicts of married life guided by the religious aspiration to please God and secure a place in Heaven. This is achieved in part through pleasing their husband through sexual availability regardless of personal desire and, in their view, thereby ensuring a peaceful home. While their negotiations in the home expand our ideas of peace-making, their sexual choices through the course of peace-making raise ethical concerns on consent and mutuality. Taking up Kecia Ali's argument for a 'just ethics of sexual intimacy' alongside Saba Mahmood's analysis of pietistic agency and African feminist analysis of the place of domestic peace in human security, the paper highlights the interplay of choice and obligation in the negotiation of the pietistic aspiration of peace and tranquillity in the home. <![CDATA[<b>Equally able, differently looking: discrimination and physical violence against persons with albinism in Ghana</b>]]> Albinism, an inherited condition from birth as a result of the lack of melanin pigment which usually changes the colour of the skin, hair and eyes, is usually greeted with resentment in most African communities. In Ghana, some communities and families consider it a misfortune to give birth to Albinos and hence, attempts are made to either kill them at birth or banish them from the community. They are constantly abused and ridiculed by the public with derogatory names and social tags that serve as a form of stigmatization. Evidently, it is clear that the discrimination against albinos in Ghana are underlain by religious and cultural beliefs. This article takes into perspective how religious beliefs and cultural values contribute to the plight of albinos in Ghana and further, discusses how the inculturation of human rights can help mitigate the violence that is perpetrated against persons with albinism.