Cornerstone: Religious Freedom and Counterterrorism

What is the relationship between counterterrorism strategies and religious freedom? Would greater religious freedom in Muslim countries have prevented the rise of ISIS, al-Qaeda and their supporters, by decreasing grievances in their societies? Or would this have made counterterrorism efforts harder, by decreasing states’ control over “extremist” religious voices? Some research on religion and counterterrorism finds that religious freedom can complicate counterterrorism efforts, but its promotion is ultimately preferable to support for repression, while others have demonstrated that religious freedom is the critical piece for addressing terrorism, and still others see security concerns as preeminent to protection of religious freedom or other rights.

In this series of articles, we asked authors to examine these challenging questions on the relationship between religious freedom and counterterrorism efforts.