Introduction: Intervening in a Public Debate (Excerpt)

My new book, Religious Freedom in Islam: The Fate of a Universal Human Right in the Muslim World Today, assesses the West’s culture war over Islam through the criterion of religious freedom. The problem is that religious freedom itself has been the subject of a public contretemps in recent years.

This controversy is of recent vintage and beset with amnesia.

Permanent Link: https://www.religiousfreedominstitute.org/cornerstone/introduction-intervening-in-a-public-debate-excerpt

Our Culture War Over Islam

A culture war over Islam has been raging in the West at least as far back as the attacks of September 11th, 2001. It flares up every time terrorist acts or other forms of violence involving Muslims hit the headlines. Much as in the Cold War, this public debate has hawks and doves, which I will call “Islamoskeptics” and “Islamopluralists,” respectively.

Who is right? That is the question that Religious Freedom in Islam seeks to answer. Its criterion is religious freedom. More demanding than tolerance or even democracy, religious freedom requires enduring respect for the religious beliefs and practices of the person or community who differs over the ultimate questions of life, respect for everyone’s full and equal citizenship regardless of his or her religious beliefs, and a rejection of all heavy forms of discrimination.

Permanent Link: https://www.religiousfreedominstitute.org/cornerstone/our-culture-war-over-islam

The Orthodox Church of Ukraine: Peace in the Midst of Conflict

The Orthodox Church of Ukraine: Peace in the Midst of Conflict

The current conflict that embroils Russia and Ukraine is one which has brought untold suffering in the Ukraine’s Donbas region and in the Russian-annexed Crimean Peninsula. It has also brought into sharp focus the existential reality of Ukraine in terms of its sovereignty, its political stability, and its economy. And, in a way perhaps unlike any other European conflict since the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia, it is a conflict that has had a direct impact on the religious character of the country and its people.

Permanent Link: https://www.religiousfreedominstitute.org/cornerstone/the-orthodox-church-of-ukraine-peace-in-the-midst-of-conflict

Orthodox Strife in Ukraine: Serious but Not Catastrophic

The religious situation in Ukraine is entering upon a critical stage. The situation is a three-vectored issue that involves Constantinople, Moscow, and Kyiv. The Russian Orthodox Church has always been a tool in the hands of the tsars, the commissars, and the new bare-chested star of the Kremlin. After the fall of the USSR and the ideological vacuum that this created in Russia, the Church was again pulled into an intimate relationship with the Kremlin, especially under Vladimir Putin, to offer a conservative and nationalist vision known as “the Russian world”.

Permanent Link: https://www.religiousfreedominstitute.org/cornerstone/russias-war-on-ukraine-roils-the-orthodox-church-nrgsn

Russia’s War on Ukraine Roils the Orthodox Church

Russia failed to anticipate that its invasion of Ukraine in 2014 would cost it one of its most powerful levers of influence over its neighbor: the formal authority of the Russian Orthodox Church over its Ukrainian counterpart. But it has done so, and that unintended consequence could lead to others: a decline in Russian influence within the Eastern Orthodox world, a deeper division in the Orthodox community—and even perhaps the largest schism in Christianity since 1054. The international community has a key role in determining how this unfolds and must act to ensure the worst scenarios don’t come to pass.

Permanent Link: https://www.religiousfreedominstitute.org/cornerstone/russias-war-on-ukraine-roils-the-orthodox-church