What Effect Does Religious Freedom Promotion Have On Counterterrorism?

The Global War on Terrorism—a massive US-led struggle to defeat al-Qaeda after the 9/11 attacks—was one of the defining aspect of 21st century international relations. This effort also raised important questions for the study and promotion of religious freedom, namely whether its promotion would strengthen counterterrorism efforts.

Would greater religious freedom in Muslim countries have prevented the rise of al-Qaeda and its supporters, by decreasing grievances in their societies? Or would this have made counterterrorism efforts harder, by decreasing states’ control over “extremist” religious voices? My research on religion and counterterrorism finds that religious freedom can complicate counterterrorism efforts, but its promotion is ultimately preferable to support for repression.

Permanent Link: https://www.religiousfreedominstitute.org/cornerstone/2017/6/26/what-effect-does-religious-freedom-promotion-have-on-counterterrorism

USCIRF’s Annual Report: Rising Tide of Religious Freedom Abuses Abroad

By: Fr. Thomas J. Reese, S.J.

The state of affairs for international religious freedom is worsening in both the depth and breadth of violations. The blatant assaults have become so frightening—attempted genocide, the slaughter of innocents, and wholesale destruction of places of worship—that less egregious abuses go unnoticed or at least unappreciated. Many observers have become numb to violations of the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion.

Permanent Link: https://www.religiousfreedominstitute.org/cornerstone/2017/4/26/uscirfs-annual-reportrising-tide-of-religious-freedom-abuses-abroad

Christian Persecution in the Midst of Chaos: The Cauldron of Iraq and Syria

By Kent Hill

How have Christians in Iraq and Syria responded to the persecution, conflict, and anarchy, and why have they chosen which response?  Why one response is chosen over another is invariably a complicated and sometimes mysterious interplay between that which they can control and that which they cannot. At different times, different responses are called for.

Permanent Link: https://www.religiousfreedominstitute.org/cornerstone/2017/4/17/christian-persecution-in-the-midst-of-chaos-the-cauldron-of-iraq-and-syria

Copts Of Egypt: From Survivors of Sectarian Violence To Targets Of Terrorism

By Mariz Tadros

It is customary for Copts – Egypt’s roughly 9 million strong Christian population– to celebrate Palm Sunday at church, waving palm fronds and singing joyful chants that go back to ancient times to commemorate Christ’s entry into Jerusalem, days before his crucifixion. They did not expect the service to be interrupted by bodies being ripped apart.

Permanent Link: https://www.religiousfreedominstitute.org/cornerstone/2017/4/12/copts-of-egypt-from-survivors-of-sectarian-violence-to-targets-of-terrorism

Prison Credentials: A Reflection for Easter 2017

By Christian Van Gorder

As we approach the Easter holiday it is not only time to celebrate our faith but also to honor our sisters and brothers who risk so much to stand for their faith in many nations around the world. This past week when I read about Christian churches being attacked in Egypt I had to ask myself the same question that you might have asked yourself: Would I attend a church service if attending might cost me my life or the life of one of my children? This question is not a theoretical one in many places around the world and this should give all of us a deeper sense of perspective about how precious our faith really is for all of us.

Permanent Link: https://www.religiousfreedominstitute.org/cornerstone/2017/4/15/prison-credentials-a-reflection-for-easter-2017