Holy wars, or wars waged on behalf of religion and religious ideology, are simultaneously a source of both terror and fascination for many people in the West. At one time an important aspect of Christian doctrine, the concept has been generally relegated to the sphere of fanaticism and primitive barbarism -- but not everyone shares this dismissive attitude. In Islam, holy wars remain a key ingredient of both doctrine and practice. Why does this difference exist, and is there any way for the two traditions to arrive at some sort of mutual understanding?
Book of the Week: The Holy War Idea in Western and Islamic Traditions