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Throughout history and down to the present day, religion has been used as a pretext for conflict and violence. Indeed, too often religion and conflict appear inextricably linked. Dr Meron Zeleke Eresso from Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia takes another view: in her research on the role of religion in society, she finds that religion plays an important part in promoting peace and reconciliation - and that, in many cases, conflicts that are regarded as religious actually have social and economic causes.
The Alexander von Humboldt-Foundation has elected eight researchers from the humanities and social sciences for its Anneliese Maier research award, among them the Islamic scholar Mariel Fierro.