||It has been suggested that this article be merged into Religious persecution. (Discuss) Proposed since January 2017.|
Religious cleansing is a term sometimes used to refer to removal of a population from a certain territory based on its religion. Throughout antiquity, population cleansing was largely motivated by economic and political factors, although ethnic factors occasionally played a role. During the Middle Ages, population cleansing took on a largely religious character. The religious motivation lost much of its salience early in the modern era, although until the 18th century ethnic enmity in Europe remained couched in religious terms. Richard Dawkins has argued that the references to ethnic cleansing in the former Yugoslavia and Iraq is a euphemism for what should more accurately be called religious cleansing. According to Adrian Koopman, the widespread use of the term ethnic cleansing in such cases suggests that in many situations there is confusion between ethnicity and religion.