Mon October 17, 2011
"Dispatches from the Fault Line Between Christianity and Islam"
By Rich Fisher
Tulsa, OK – On today's show we hear from the journalist, poet, and war correspondent Eliza Griswold, whose latest book, just out in paperback, is "The Tenth Parallel: Dispatches from the Fault Line Between Christianity and Islam." As Griswold explains to us, the most crucial, most defining conflicts of our time are actually NOT being fought between Christians and Muslims --- they're being fought WITHIN the ranks, sects, and affiliates of Christianity, and WITHIN the ranks, sects, and affiliates of Islam. As was noted in a "starred review" of this book in Booklist: "Griswold may be the first to explain how global warming intensifies religious conflict. For as she travels the climactically vulnerable region near 10 degrees latitude, she sees climate change exacerbating tensions dividing 700 million Muslims and 1.2 billion Christians. These tensions emerge in probing interviews with religious leaders --- Christian and Muslim --- aflame with spiritual passions now rare in the secular West. Yet Griswold also discovers how the West has helped incubate the region's interfaith hostility. It was, after all, Western colonizers whose arbitrary boundaries helped harden religious differences: in Sudan, for instance, the British established the tenth parallel as a partition between the Islamic north and the Christian south. More recently, it was the U.S.-led invasion of distant Afghanistan that triggered bloody clashes between Muslim and Christian mobs in the Middle Belt of Nigeria. And in Indonesia, Griswold listens to angry jihadists certain that the spread of fast-food restaurants signals a threatening Christian onslaught. Here and elsewhere Griswold teases out the threads of a complex fabric of religious doctrine, capitalist economics, ethnic pride, and power politics. Despite the complexities, Griswold retains her hope that authentic faith can yet transcend theological differences and foster peace. [This book offers] a compelling portrait of embattled human communities yearning for more-than-human succor."