Religious Freedom Abroad: A Road Map of Deterioration

By: Robert P. George

By any measure, religious freedom abroad has been under serious and sustained assault since the release of our commission’s last annual report in 2015. From the plight of new and longstanding prisoners of conscience, to the dramatic rise in the numbers of refugees and internally displaced persons, to the continued acts of bigotry against Jews and Muslims in Europe, and to the other abuses detailed in the 2016 annual report, there was no shortage of attendant suffering worldwide. 

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Muslims Suffer, Remain Extremely Vulnerable in the Central African Republic

By: Engy Abdelkader

Recently, the plight of refugees seeking safe haven in Europe has dominated media headlines and weighed heavily on our collective consciences. While many of these beleaguered souls have fled war-torn Syria, many other refugees around the world come from Africa, including the Central African Republic (CAR) where they have survived ethnic cleansing. Their stories may be lesser known but are equally significant.  

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A Historic Missed Opportunity

By: Emmanuel Ogebe

Africa's rulers met in Washington for a historic US-Africa Summit during the first week of August. Although World Watch Monitor has consistently reported a geometric spike in Islamist terrorism in Africa (northern Nigeria alone accounted for more Christian deaths than the rest of the world combined in 2012) the United States missed a historic opportunity to engage on the centrality of religious liberty to national and global security.

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African Governments Must Raise Awareness for Religious Freedom

By: Aisha Babalakin

The Islamic State [of Iraq and Syria] continues to attack major parts of Iraq, forcing Christians, Yazidis, and Shi’ite Muslims to flee from their homes. The jihadist group enforces a strict and literal interpretation of sharia law, and their ambition is to restore an Islamic caliphate that stretches across the Levant into North Africa. As one would expect, religious and economic freedom are not guaranteed to towns under ISIS control. So far, ISIS has succeeded where al-Qaeda failed, in imposing the jihadist model of an Islamic society in various towns in Iraq and Syria.Other militant groups are paying close attention to ISIS’s excursion, observing the tactics that work and those that don’t. The jihadist group Boko Haram rose to international infamy this April, when members of the group abducted over 250 schoolgirls in northeastern Nigeria under the leadership of Abu Bakr Shekkau. The whereabouts of most of these girls is still unknown, and the world paid close attention to the actions and demands of Boko Haram. Since April, the group has claimed responsibility for over 11 attacks and acts of violence in northern Nigeria alone. Citizens of northern Nigeria, Cameroon, and Chad are gripped by the violence they see in neighboring villages, and the violence reported in Iraq and Syria. 

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Religious Liberty, Violence, and Tolerance: Lessons for Africa from the Americas

By: Anthony Gill

As the first-ever Africa Summit gets underway in Washington, DC this month, Fr. Robert Dowd does an excellent job outlining the contemporary challenges facing sub-Saharan Africa when it comes to religious tolerance and violence. The problems seem intractable, and indeed they may be for the foreseeable future. While not an expert in the African situation, I nonetheless can offer some observations from other times and places regarding the troubled waters that may lie ahead and signal hope for the calm seas that lie beyond.

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