Conflicts continue to occur around the world as they have throughout history. Struggles happen between people of different religious backgrounds within the same country. The struggle between the Catholics and the Protestants in Northern Ireland and the struggle between the Christians and Muslims in Bosnia are examples. Ethnicity, religion, and language, the major components of culture, sometimes work together to strengthen certain groups of people. The majority in Greece is Orthodox Christian and they speak the Greek language; the majority in Italy is Roman Catholic and they speak the Italian language. In some instances, only one cultural form will prevail, as in Bosnia, where Serbs and Croats speak similar dialects of the same language. Yet, they remain as separate entities because most Croats are Catholics and most Serbs are Orthodox Christians. To the Serbs and Croats religion is stronger than a shared language (Bell-Fialkoff 8).
According to Andrew Bell-Fialkoff Ph.D., Department of Interdisciplinary Studies at Boston University, there has been an increase in the number of ethnic conflicts in recent history; he gives three reasons for this increase. The first is a collapse and breakup of the large colonial empires of the world including the British Empire and the Soviet Union. Lands, originally under colonial rule, were returned to the conjugate people. Conflicts, previously controlled by order of the imposing empire, are occurring because political solutions cannot be used to settle disputes based on the ethnic boundaries. For instance, one group lays claim to territory that is currently occupied by another group (8).
The ideology of freedom and equality is the second reason. If you do not feel that your group has rights, then individual rights are not in effect. This causes friction between the minority and the majority. The majority has a tendency to limit the rights of the minority.