It is no secret that world problems—from mass violence and terrorism to government corruption and human rights abuses—cannot be solved without consideration of religion's role in these conflicts and their resolutions.
No one understands this more than Rashied Omar, a peace studies scholar at Notre Dame's Kroc Institute, and an interreligious peace-builder. Omar grew up under apartheid in South Africa, where the color of one's skin determined the value of one's life. While in jail for speaking out against this deplorable practice, he encountered people of all faiths, united under the common purpose of bringing justice to humanity. At Notre Dame, he teaches his students that in order to build peace in the world, they must understand how religious beliefs may contribute to conflict, but also often be a critical resource for change.
Originally published September 15, 2011.