A Necessary Step? Examining Religious Freedom and Counterterrorism

Governments pursue counterterrorism policies that restrict religious rights in the misguided belief that effectively combatting terrorism requires the limiting or suspending of freedoms like religious liberty.

History teaches, and many studies confirm, that religiously restrictive counterterrorism policies which discriminate against entire religious groups work at cross purposes with the desired goal of effectively combatting terrorism.

Permanent Link: https://www.religiousfreedominstitute.org/cornerstone/2017/6/27/a-necessary-step-examining-religious-freedom-and-counterterrorism

What Effect Does Religious Freedom Promotion Have On Counterterrorism?

By Peter Henne

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

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

Conflict In Pakistan: When The Oppressed Become The Oppressor

By Mustafa Akhwand

While freedom of expression was a basis of separation of the territory we now recognize as Pakistan from India, religious intolerance has plagued the nation.  Religious minorities have been targeted and limited in expression.

The real question is, what has caused the growth of hatred and unacceptance in a nation born from the struggle for freedom?

Permanent Link: https://www.religiousfreedominstitute.org/cornerstone/2017/3/23/conflict-in-pakistan-when-the-oppressed-become-the-oppressor

Pakistan’s Terrorism Fight Must Include Promoting Religious Freedom

By Lisa Curtis

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif made an important gesture toward Pakistan’s religious minorities when he gave a speech March 14, 2017 criticizing Islamist extremist ideology at an event celebrating a Hindu holiday. In his speech, made in Karachi on the festival of Holi, he said, “Pakistan was not made so one religion can dominate over others.…Pakistan’s creation itself was a struggle against religious oppression.”

These are profound statements that deserve repetition and reinforcement, particularly if Pakistan wants to win the battle against terrorism. 

Permanent Link: https://www.religiousfreedominstitute.org/cornerstone/2017/3/21/pakistans-terrorism-fight-must-include-promoting-religious-freedom