In the Gulf Kingdom of Bahrain resides a centuries-old tradition of religious coexistence that might help fast-track a new paradigm of respect for the “other” in a deeply troubled region.
The scourge of violent extremism proliferates in an atmosphere of discursive suffocation. Islamist radicals and extremists enjoy a monopoly over religious discourse. We will not really succeed in confronting this menace until we break up this monopoly. The key to doing so involves protecting free speech.
By: Eric Patterson
Russia recently imposed new restrictions on religious groups outside the Russian Orthodox Church. Although some allege that this is a return to a Stalinist state, these actions are best understood in the immediate context of September’s parliamentary elections as well as in the longer term as Russia’s continuing suspicion of “foreign” influences.
By: Geraldine Fagan
This July, Vladimir Putin introduced the severest restrictions on religious freedom in Russia since the Soviet era. The regulations on ‘missionary activity’ form part of a sprawling package of legislation nicknamed the Yarovaya law after its main sponsor. Its express aim is “to counter terrorism and ensure public safety.” The new controls are the long-awaited fruit of fierce lobbying by opponents of religious freedom in Russia.
By: Elizabeth A. Clark
As of July 20th of this year, ordinary Russian citizens and foreigners living in Russia face enormous fines for sharing their beliefs, even if they do so in their own homes. This represents a new level of repression of free speech and civil society in post-Soviet Russia.