Development amidst communal conflict: case study of a Christian FBO in a Buddhist–Muslim conflict region in Myanmar

Ware, Anthony and Thein Nyunt, Peter 2017, Development amidst communal conflict: case study of a Christian FBO in a Buddhist–Muslim conflict region in Myanmar. In Ware, Anthony and Clarke, Matthew (ed), Development across faith boundaries, Routledge, Abingdon, Eng., pp.50-66.

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Title Development amidst communal conflict: case study of a Christian FBO in a Buddhist–Muslim conflict region in Myanmar
Author(s) Ware, AnthonyORCID iD for Ware, Anthony
Thein Nyunt, Peter
Title of book Development across faith boundaries
Editor(s) Ware, AnthonyORCID iD for Ware, Anthony
Clarke, Matthew
Publication date 2017
Series Routledge research in religion and development
Chapter number 4
Total chapters 12
Start page 50
End page 66
Total pages 17
Publisher Routledge
Place of Publication Abingdon, Eng.
Keyword(s) economic development
Summary Faith can be a powerful force for positive development and social change, but as James (2011) notes, it is a highly flammable fuel that can also easily result in negative outcomes. The pervasive influence of religion in the lives of many gives it a unique ability to shape both individual and communal identities (perceptions of self and others). While religious identities can be an extremely positive force, they can also be used as a source for exclusive and intolerant attitudes, with a potential to feed nationalisms that become motivators or justifications for conflict. This is particularly true in tense multi-religious contexts where competing ethnoreligious nationalistic identities and historical claims are forced to coexist – especially for faith-based development agencies that relate to one of those identities.This chapter explores the work of a small local Christian faith-based organisation (FBO) working in Buddhist communities in a region of significant Buddhist–Muslim tension and recent violent communal conflict, as a case study of development across complex faith boundaries. Local FBO Bethel works in partnership with the international FBO GraceWorks Myanmar (GWM). Making this case particularly interesting, Bethel has evolved out of a related religious organisation that still maintains a mandate for preaching a contextual Christian message to Buddhists, and most of the local workers are converts from Buddhism. Given the most inflammatory religious sparks for worsening conflicts are widely regarded to be discriminatory practices and proselytism – or perceptions of proselytism (e.g. Clarke and Jennings 2008; Flanigan 2010) – this case study is interesting for the way these issues are handled. This chapter includes new research examining whether and how this FBO has been able to avoid inflaming tensions and has been broadly granted a social mandate to operate in Buddhist communities, even though it constitutes a third religious actor in a context of vitriolic interreligious conflict.
ISBN 1138690422
Language eng
Field of Research 160602 Citizenship
Socio Economic Objective 940302 International Aid and Development
HERDC Research category B1 Book chapter
ERA Research output type B Book chapter
Copyright notice ©2017, Routledge
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