With all of the political turmoil in the Middle East it is usually very difficult to try and figure out why these groups have been against each other for so long. Many blame it on differences in religion where people justify their actions based upon their beliefs.
If religion can be considered a way in which groups of people cope with the challenges of living through an organized set of principles, then all religions are the same. I think if you look at the major religions of the world, their overarching principles are basically the same. The "spirit" of the religion, much like the "spirit of the law" is the same. The only difference is the words used to describe the principles. How we choose to obey or not obey these principles is up to us. This is the concept of free will. Even those who choose not to follow a particular religion are still following a principle of some sort (we would be mindless reactionary beings if we did not follow some principle).
I think that one of the challenges of today is the ever increasing population and how to deal with the seemingly increasing acts of senseless violence. Religious backing or not, Mob Rules seem to be taking over. I am reminded of a scene of Japanese snow monkeys where one monkey is beaten to death by a group of other monkeys. I believe that the reason why this behavior is this way is due to the fact that there are so many of them in one place. If we are creatures with similar social behaviors as these monkeys, then having more and more people on this planet will eventually lead to more and more of this type of behavior.
So, rather than blame it on religion, perhaps we should be blaming it on overcrowding…