Religion and Peacemaking
Supporting Religious Communities in the Work of Peacemaking
The Koran Desecration and the Role of Religion in Conflict
March 2012 Peace Brief by Qamar-ul Huda
Qamar-ul Huda captures the key perspectives of a roundtable convened by the United States Institute of Peace which drew on the expertise of scholars, practitioners, U.S. government officials, and the policy community to discuss the implications of the burning of the Koran in Afghanistan in February, 2012
Countering Violent Extremism: Scientific Methods and Strategies
A Multi-disciplinary Perspective White Paper-PAC
This intra-agency paper entitled “Countering Violent Extremism: Scientific Methods and Strategies” consisted of experts from Defense, State, USAID departments and agencies, and USIP. The comprehensive paper demonstrates that countering violent extremism requires a balanced approach between security-related strategies and initiatives and those that address the underlying motivations and causes for participation in, and support of violent extremism.
USIP’s Qamar-ul Huda, senior program officer in the Religion and Peacemaking Center, contributed to this paper by analyzing the importance of preventing radicalization, key identify markers which show drifting toward extremism, and the use of citizen messengers to challenge violent extremist with alternative narratives.
Women in Religious Peacebuilding
Women involved in peacebuilding around the world often draw inspiration and support from religious sources and organizations. However, little attention has been paid to these actors and the religious dimension of women’s work for peace. As the field of religion in conflict and peacebuilding has received greater attention in recent years, the report focuses on the multidimensional roles of women in promoting peace. | Read more
USIP Press Release: Crescent and Dove: Peace and Conflict Resolution in Islam
Edited by Qamar-ul Huda, this volume examines the creative ways in which Muslims are engaging in Islamic peacemaking around the world while acknowledging the challenges Muslim peacebuilders face in mitigating violence and extremism. | Read more
Interfaith Dialogue Checklist
This checklist, based upon USIP's book Interfaith Dialogue and Peacebuilding, is a short user-friendly guide to designing and conducting interfaith dialogues.
Featured Publications & Tools
Religion is often seen as the cause of strife around the globe, but in reality, it can provide the foundation for what helps to end conflict. USIP’s work, from Indonesia to Pakistan, demonstrates that religion can play a positive role in managing conflict. USIP’s David Smock, senior vice president for the Centers of Innovation, explores the issue in this brief question-and-answer.
In a period of tremendous change in parts of the world, we are asking USIP leaders, from board members to senior staff and experts, to explain the effects that events abroad and here at home will have on the United States, and the contributions the Institute can and does make. David Smock is currently the senior vice president for USIP’s Centers of Innovation.
USIP has found the documentary film "The Imam and the Pastor" useful as a resource for workshops and training programs exploring themes of religious peacebuilding and inter-group reconciliation. As such, we commissioned religion and peacebuilding specialist David Steele to produce a facilitator’s manual so that others might use this documentary, and the follow-up documentary" An African Answer," in their own training and workshops. This manual is available for download free-of-charge here.
Crescent and Dove looks at the relationship between contemporary Islam and peacemaking by tackling the diverse interpretations, concepts, and problems in the field of Islamic peacemaking. It addresses both theory and practice by delving into the intellectual heritage of Islam to discuss historical examples of addressing conflict in Islam and exploring the practical challenges of contemporary peacemaking in Arab countries, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, and Indonesia.
The Religion and Peacemaking program conducts research, identifies best practices, and develops new peacebuilding tools for religious leaders and organizations; helps define and shape the field of religious peacebuilding; and in cooperation with USIP's other Centers, develops and implements integrated strategies for the Institute's conflict-specific work, including projects with religious communities in zones of conflict.
10th Anniversary of Religion and Peacemaking
USIP Event | November 2011
In July 2011, USIP's Religion and Peacemaking program (RPP) turned 10 years old. The evolution of RPP over the past decade, taking into account its roots in a predecessor USIP program on religion in identity-based conflicts, in many ways reflects the development of the larger field of religious peacebuilding in the United States. Hence in order to mark the occasion of RPP’s 10 years of programs and research, a group of leading scholars, policymakers, and practitioners from the field came together to reflect together on how the field has developed and to envision its future directions.
Participants discussed the U.S. government’s recent efforts to engage religious actors overseas to advance peace and security, the rapid growth of academic centers and programs addressing the intersection of religion, conflict, and peacebuilding, promising initiatives in religious peacebuilding, and gaps and needs in the field as it moves forward. | Learn more
Together with the Berkley Center for Religion and World Affairs at Georgetown University and the World Faiths Development Dialogue, USIP’s Religion and Peacemaking program hosted a second symposium exploring the intersection of women, religion, conflict, and peacebuilding at USIP headquarters in early January 2012. A small group of academics and practitioners came together to discuss a collection of papers that address pertinent themes emerging from the initiative’s inaugural symposium in July 2010. | Learn more
These papers explore on-the-ground experiences of women’s religious peacebuilding in particular conflict zones, common themes across countries or regions, and overviews within different faith traditions. The collection will be published in 2012. | Read more about the Women, Religion, and Peace initiative.
Briefings on Religious Conflicts
- Nigera has been terrorized in recent months by violent attacks on the police, on the U.N. headquarters in Nigeria, and on churches. The self-proclaimed perpetrator is the Islamic extremist group, Boko Haram. Security measures undertaken by the Nigerian government have been both inadequate and in some cases counter productive. The Religion and Peacemaking Center is collaborating with Nigeria’s Interfaith Mediation Centre to try to promote peace in areas where Boko Haram operates. A multi-dimensional program is being launched to provide early warning, to promote improved interfaith relations, and to educate Nigerians about the heresies being preached by Boko Haram. Pastor James Wuye and Imam Mohammed Ashafa, who have been featured in the USIP-sponsored DVD “Imam and Pastor,” are directing this program.
Online Course on Interfaith Conflict Resolution
USIP's Religion and Peacemaking program and the Education and Training Center/International program worked cooperatively to produce this online introductory course, which is available free of charge. This course is designed to enhance the peacemaking capacities of individuals and faith-based organizations by focusing on objectives, methods, and best practices of interfaith dialogue. The course applies these general principles to two case studies, highlighting interfaith peacemaking efforts between Christians and Muslims in Nigeria, as well as the role that various faith communities played in helping to bring and end to the 36-year internal armed conflict in Guatemala. | Take the course today
USIP won the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA) "Best Practices Silver Award" for 2009, following the release of this online course. The award is given to organizations that have designed and delivered outstanding and comprehensive best practices in distance learning programming for an individual program or a series of programs.