COVID-19 and Religion: Between Nationalism and Communal Responsibility

Author: Jocelyne Cesari

June 8, 2020

Senior Fellow Jocelyne Cesari considers the role of religion in shaping both exclusionary nationalism and global solidarity in the age of COVID-19 in a commentary piece published by Politics Today. Cesari notes how most religious responses to the pandemic have played out at the national level, varying within the same tradition. The convergence of religion and nationalism during the pandemic has at times exacerbated communal tensions, as in the case of #CoronaJihad, a social media movement started by Hindu nationalists who blame Muslims for coronavirus in India. But faith leaders can also play positive roles in the pandemic by calling for global solidarity and providing spiritual and economic support to vulnerable people. While the role of religion in shaping the post-COVID order remains unclear, faith communities have the moral resources needed to help rebuild trust in political communities that are seriously weakened by the ongoing crisis.

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