Why do people kill in the name of God? I began to ask this question after a life-altering event 30 years ago, when I got caught in a religious riot, and was nearly killed. I witnessed first-hand violent acts committed by people in the name of their faith. In 1984, following the assassination of India’s Prime Minister Indira Gandhi by her Sikh bodyguards, I was trapped in a riot when a bus I was traveling on was halted by Hindus who were looking for Sikhs to murder in revenge. The country exploded in days of blood letting. India, with a population of 1.2 billion, is a microcosm of our world, and the cradle of many of the world’s great faiths. Normally these religions co-exist peacefully despite extremely close quarters. But sometimes things go terribly wrong.
In Asia I lived and studied with yogis, monks and teachers of several faith traditions; and worked in Kashmir, Pakistan, Tibet, and Afghanistan. My experience up to the time of the riot was steeped in peacefulness and acceptance. Now many of these regions have transformed into hotbeds of violence.
Today divisions between faiths ravage our world. At any given time, there are fifty conflicts being fought in the name of religion. Not in God’s Name: making Sense of Religious Conflict examines why religious clashes are on the rise, and why different creeds often don’t live in harmony with each other. Since time immemorial mankind has searched for something greater than himself, and has found immense inspiration through belief in a high power. But religion, a source of great peace is sometimes used to create division and strife.
Not in God’s Name: Making Sense of Religious Conflict searches for the causes of religious intolerance, and the solutions. My quest for answers to the global problem of violence committed in God’s name took me on a journey through South Asia that brought me to the doorsteps of the leaders of many religions, including Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Zoroastrianism and Jainism. I visited madrassas and met hard liners as well as peaceful Muslims.
Perhaps the most famous of the leaders I met are Mother Teresa and the Dalai Lama, who considers his work of promoting religious tolerance as one of his most important commitments. In his interview, the Dalai Lama shares his insights into ways to break the tragic cycle of intolerance that has escalated, in some cases, to the point of nuclear confrontation.
Paula Fouce is a critically acclaimed filmmaker and author. Her film credits include Not in God’s Name: In Search of Tolerance with the Dalai Lama, Song of the Dunes: Search for the Original Gypsies (PBS stations), Naked in Ashes, Origins of Yoga, and No Asylum. Her new book, NOT IN GOD’S NAME: MAKING SENSE OF RELIGIOUS CONFLICT, delves deeper into the subject of religious intolerance and offers solutions that are aimed at uniting all faiths. She was partner and director of KRCA TV Channel 62 in Los Angeles and served as co-chair of the Southern Asian Art Council at Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Fouce is the owner and president of Paradise Filmworks International, a production company based in Las Vegas and Los Angeles. She is currently working on a book that chronicles her experiences living and traveling with the yogis in the Himalayas.
For More Information
- Visit Paula Fouce’s website.