The Routledge Handbook of Religion, Mass Atrocity, and Genocide explores the many and sometimes complicated ways in which religion, faith, doctrine, and practice intersect in societies where mass atrocity and genocide occur.

This volume is intended as an entry point to questions about mass atrocity and genocide that are asked by and of people of faith and is an outstanding reference source to the key topics, historical events, and heated debates in this subject area. The 39 contributions to the handbook, by a team of international contributors, span five continents and cover four millennia. Each explores the intersection of religion, faith, and mainly state-sponsored mass atrocity and genocide, and draws from a variety of disciplines.

This volume is divided into six core sections:

  • Genocide in Antiquity and Holy Wars
  • The Genocide of Indigenous Peoples
  • Religion and the State
  • The Role of Religion during Genocide
  • Post Genocide Considerations
  • Memory Culture

Within these sections central issues, historical events, debates, and problems are examined, including the Crusades; Jihad and ISIS, colonialism, the Holocaust, desecration of ritual objects, politics of religion, Shinto nationalism, attacks on Rohingya Muslims; the Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, responses to genocide; gender-based atrocities, ritualcide in Cambodia, burial sites and mass graves, transitional justice, forgiveness, documenting genocide, survivor memory narratives, post-conflict healing and memorialization.

The Routledge Handbook of Religion and Genocide is essential reading for students and researchers with an interest in religion and genocide, religion and violence, and religion and politics. It will be of great interest to students of theology, philosophy, genocide studies, narrative studies, history, and international relations and those in related fields, such as cultural studies, area studies, sociology, and anthropology.

chapter |3 pages


BySara E. Brown, Stephen D. Smith

part Section 1|62 pages

Genocide in antiquity and holy wars

chapter 1|12 pages

Genocide in antiquity

ByShawn J. Kelley

chapter 2|8 pages

The roots of antisemitism and genocide in Christian antiquity

ByJohn T. Pawlikowski

chapter 3|10 pages

Esau and Amalek in the Hebrew Bible and in Second Temple Jewish apocalyptic literature

From propaganda to genocide
ByAdam T. Strater

chapter 4|7 pages

Holy wars, Judaism, violence, and genocide

An unholy quadrinity?
BySteven Leonard Jacobs

chapter 5|12 pages

The last crusade

Holy war and genocidal practices in the case of the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939)
ByAntonio Míguez Macho

chapter 6|11 pages

Alawite warrior-sheikhs

Ali Khizam and the specter of sectarian violence in Syria
ByUğur Ümit Üngör

part Section 2|39 pages

The genocide of Indigenous peoples

chapter 7|9 pages

Renewing the world

Disrupting settler-colonial destruction
ByKerri J. Malloy

chapter 8|9 pages

Colonial New England

Genocide and the negative myth of the other
ByDennis Cerrotti

chapter 10|10 pages

Sexual violence as genocide against Indigenous peoples

The case of Mayan women in Guatemala
ByElisenda Calvet Martínez

part Section 3|118 pages

Religion and the state

chapter 11|17 pages


A driving force but not a major cause of the Turkish Genocide of Armenians
ByRubina Peroomian

chapter 12|10 pages

The Christian churches, the Nazi state, and the Holocaust

ByVictoria J. Barnett

chapter 13|12 pages

Religion and the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda

ByFreddy Mutanguha, Paul Rukesha

chapter 14|13 pages

“Nature of death” in the 1947 India-Pakistan Partition Genocide

ByKhyati Tripathi

chapter 15|13 pages

Ritualcide under the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia

Animism, genocide, and war crimes
ByPeg LeVine

chapter 16|11 pages

Race, religion, and the genocide of the Jews in Nazi Germany

ByChristopher J. Probst

chapter 17|10 pages

Catholicism and state terror in Argentina

ByGustavo Morello

chapter 18|10 pages

Religious communities as targets of the Khmer Rouge genocide

ByB.D. Mowell

chapter 19|12 pages

Dangerous speech cloaked in Saffron Robes

Race, religion, and anti-Muslim violence in Myanmar
ByNickey Diamond, Ken MacLean

chapter 20|8 pages

The Uyghur people

History, geography, religion, language
ByAzeem Ibrahim, Nury Turkel

part Section 4|65 pages

The role of religion during genocide

chapter 21|10 pages

Religion, resistance, and responding to genocide

The Cham in Cambodia
ByRachel Killean

chapter 22|10 pages

Sinners or saviors

A personal perspective on surviving the Holocaust
ByWalter Ziffer

chapter 23|11 pages

Rwanda 1994

The creation of religious identities in genocide propaganda
ByOlov Simonsson

chapter 24|11 pages

Faith and women rescuers in Rwanda

BySara E. Brown

chapter 25|11 pages

Jehovah's Witnesses as “citizens of the Kingdom of God”

ByJolene Chu, Tharcisse Seminega

chapter 26|10 pages

Music, religion, and genocide in Bosnia-Herzegovina

ByBadema Pitic

part Section 5|111 pages

Post genocide considerations

chapter 27|14 pages

“For dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return”

Jewish law, forensic investigation, and archaeology in the aftermath of the Holocaust
ByCaroline Sturdy Colls

chapter 28|14 pages

Forensics and Maya ceremonies

The long journey for truth in Guatemala
ByFredy Peccerelli, Erica Henderson

chapter 29|10 pages

Reforming the Church's theology of the Jews

Christian responses to the Holocaust
ByWilliam Skiles

chapter 30|12 pages


Religious practices and post-conflict processes
ByVictor Igreja

chapter 31|14 pages

Iraq and the Halabja “genocide”

The need for transformative justice
ByIsaac Kfir

chapter 32|14 pages

Personal philosophies of forgiveness after genocide 1

ByStephen D. Smith

chapter 33|12 pages

Genocide and the human right to freedom of religion

ByMelanie O’Brien

chapter 34|8 pages


The case of Yezidi women
ByMaria Rita Corticelli

part Section 6|57 pages

Memory culture

chapter 36|14 pages

The power of one

Narrative analysis and an Iranian Jewish Shoah survivor
ByAria Razfar, Caroline Ezrapour Yona

chapter 37|11 pages

Beyond competitive memory

The preeminence of the Holocaust in religious studies
ByKatharina von Kellenbach

chapter 38|13 pages

Muslim and Christian perspectives on the Holocaust and genocide

ByMehnaz M. Afridi, Stephen D. Smith

chapter 39|17 pages

Analyzing Holocaust archives through a quantitative lens

ByAlexis Lerner