How would religious freedom decrease transnational terrorism, thereby decreasing the need for counterterrorism coordination? The answer, I believe, lies in a nation’s level of authoritarianism. Put another way, with more democracy will come more open theological debates on sensitive public policy issues and less resort to violence to address grievances. In turn, terrorist groups will find it more difficult to manipulate religious doctrine to persuade recruits their cause is just and sanctioned by God.
A free marketplace of religious ideology will provide the political space needed for religious scholars to openly challenge on the merits Al Qaeda, ISIS, or their progeny’s twisted interpretations of Islam.
Permanent Link: https://www.religiousfreedominstitute.org/cornerstone/2017/7/9/with-democratization-comes-more-religious-freedom-and-less-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
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
By: Matthew Anderson
While global media coverage typically concentrates on high-profile blasphemy incidents, such as the controversy surrounding the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten in 2005 or the murderous attack on the offices of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo this year, sensitivities around blasphemy play a more systemic role in several Muslim-majority countries. Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and Iran, to name three of the most prominent, have enacted draconian laws criminalizing blasphemy and other speech deemed derogatory toward Islam.
Permanent Link: https://www.religiousfreedominstitute.org/cornerstone/2016/7/26/blasphemy-in-an-egyptian-village-the-case-of-kafr-darwish