Rival priests brawl in Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity
Riot police were forced to restore order inside the basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem after rival groups of Orthodox and Armenian clerics clashed in a dispute over jurisdictional boundaries inside the church. About 100 clergymen armed with brooms came to blows during the cleaning of the church in preparation for Orthodox Christmas celebrations. Administration of the church is shared by rival Catholic, Orthodox, and Armenian Apostolic clerics and similar scuffles have broken out in previous years.
■Class discussion: Find newspaper reports about other religious rivalries around the world. Is violence uncommon between followers of different religions? How often is religion involved in wars, terrorism and other conflicts? What role do religious leaders play in inciting or preventing conflicts? Can you find news reports about local religious leaders and followers working together?