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1. (a) Examine the role of religion in the conflicts in the Middle East. 
(b) `If religion were abandoned, there would be peace in the Middle East.'
Assess the validity of this view. 
Q.1 (a) Of those candidates that attempted this question, most answers were
generally well informed about the situation of Israel, and more able candidates demonstrated
excellent understanding of Western Christianity's part in the conflict; weaker answers
focussed on Muslims and Jews. Most did this in a balanced way, but a significant minority were
one-sided and biased, uncritically taking the side of Judaism on the basis of biblical revelation.
Answers referring to other religious conflicts in the Middle East were almost non existent. The
main shortcoming in this response, related to an issue outlined in the general comments in that
candidates did not always read the question properly and therefore a general issue with some
candidates was that the question was answered by just discussing Middle Eastern problems
generally, rather than focussing specifically on the role of religion in those
(b) A range of responses here that allowed candidates to demonstrate everything
from mature, sensitive and perceptive responses to the issue to those responses that were ill
informed and seemed to be entirely devoid of any understanding of the role of religion per se,
never mind in the Middle East.
Candidates from the former group recognised the huge complexities of the issue and that the
role of politics tended to be the domineering factor in any lasting 'peace' that might occur,
rather than the absence (or 'healing'presence) of religion.