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Throughout history, religious beliefs have played a central role in the outbreak of conflicts and division among people from various parts of the world. These conflicts are not solely an issue between individuals with different religious affiliations. In some case, these religious conflicts occur among people who share religious beliefs and practices. Religious conflicts, similar to other conflicts, have adverse effects on geographical boundaries and population patterns. This is because although these conflicts emerge due to differences in aspects relating to spirituality and beliefs, they often expand to include matters relating to differences in culture backgrounds and political views and ideologies. Research shows that religious institutions play a great role in the unification of people along cultural and religious ties. Religious conflicts also have considerable impacts on the population pattern in areas where they occur. This is because when one religious group gains dominance over a particular territory, members from rivals groups start facing the issue of immigration in order to ensure the preservation of their beliefs and practices among other things
Religious conflicts led to the development of geographical boundaries due to the need to separate different religious groups and minimize instances of re-occurrence of conflicts. This is the case for countries dominated by Christianity and Islam such as Sudan. An analysis of religious composition in Sudan and South Sudan shows that Muslims dominate one region while Islam Christians dominate the other (Deng, 1995). Despite the fact that these are political boundaries, they depict aspects regarding the grouping of individuals in terms of the belief system and societal values. History shows that a significant percentage of political boundaries in use today are the same religious boundaries implemented during the religious wars of the 17th century. These wars, involving the Roman Catholic, Lutherans, Calvinists and Anglicans led to the division of these groups and fixation of boundaries. The main influencing factor was the consideration of political authority in the West on whether leadership roles were suited for spiritual leaders or political leaders.
The agreement that ended the stalemate between rival religious groups enshrined the decision of political units regarding the location of a religion in certain territory. This shows the close connection between religious and political interests, which influenced geographical boundaries in Europe. Individuals with political interests promote religious uniformity to ensure the continuation of certain social and political order. Political boundaries in Eastern Europe were subject to conflict between Protestants and Catholics. The case involving Christian and Muslim Serb and Croat demonstrate divisions along religious lines. Differences between these groups were largely due to the need to control the state. In fact, there Serbs and Croats have insignificant differences other aspects such as culture apart from the diversity in religious beliefs (Hupchick, 1995). The Christian-Muslim conflicts in Bosnia are is a complex issue especially considering that there is antagonism between Orthodox Christians and Roman Catholics. In this regard, the Roman Catholics collaborate with Muslims in numerous cases as they wrangle with the Orthodox Christians. Religious confrontations in Eastern Europe have became the main cause of the balkanization turning this area into a region of constant fractures as each religion seeks to gain control over a larger territory.
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Religious conflicts in the United Kingdom have largely been an issue of confrontation between Christians with a long history of rivalry between Protestants and Roman Catholics. Just like in Eastern Europe these conflicts has a significant influence on political boundaries. Due to the uniformity in the support of political ideologies among religious groups, the formation of political boundaries sought to ensure that these groups remained in a particular location (Rubenstein, 1987). In this regard, there would be adequate protection of political and religious interests.
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