Journal Title

Barry Law Review





First Page


Document Type


Publication Information



A brief review of human history reveals that various individuals, groups and nations have used religious dogma as a pretext to engage in aggression against others. As such, it is no surprise that the Islamic radicalism that fuels the Global War on Terrorism employs what it calls the “true” Moslem religion in order to cloak a lust for domination through despicable expressions of unlawful violence, primarily targeting innocent civilians.

On the other hand, when it comes to confronting the forces of al-Qa’eda-styled aggression, it is not surprising that democracies like the United States also employ religious ideology and symbolism to support the necessary use of force in self-defense. What is surprising, though, is that many religious leaders in the West align themselves with anti-war activists and then employ religion as the reason to reject all forms of violence whatsoever, self-defense or otherwise. For these voices of appeasement, a misapplication of religious belief is used as a justification not to use lawful violence to curtail aggression.

Paradoxically, appeasement—be it in the name of religion or not—cannot long curtail those intent on aggression. Such wishful thinking simply emboldens the aggressor and inevitably leads to an increase in the butcher’s bill of human suffering. This is evidenced by an exploration of the historical relationship between religion and world conflict, and illustrates that the forces associated with religious beliefs of whatever brand should not be employed in ways that stand in contradiction to the positive goals and aspirations embodied in the United Nations Charter.

Recommended Citation

Jeffrey F. Addicott, The Misuse of Religion in the Global War on Terrorism, 7 Barry L. Rev. 109 (2006).

Included in

Law Commons