On October 22, 2012, the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) hosted a panel discussion about civil society’s role in preventing and addressing provocative statements of religious bias and violent responses to it.

The Internet release of a trailer for the anti-Islam film "The Innocence of Muslims" recently sparked protests around the world, some of which turned violent. These events serve as a stark reminder of the relationship between freedom of expression, religious coexistence, religious freedom, violence and security.

On October 22, 2012, the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) hosted a panel discussion about civil society’s role in preventing and addressing provocative statements of religious bias and violent responses to it. The panelists discussed the complementarities and tensions between the freedoms of expression and religion, use of the media in fomenting religious discrimination, and how to work with the media to promote respect for all religious traditions. The conversation focused on how these issues are playing out in the context of political transitions occurring throughout the Middle East and North Africa, and the way in which civil society and the U.S. government can collaborate constructively to advance peaceful religious coexistence, freedom, and security.

This public discussion was co-sponsored with the Office of International Religious Freedom at the U.S. Department of State.

Speakers

  • Suzan Johnson Cook
    Ambassador at Large
    Religious Freedom
  • Hoda Elshishtawy
    Muslim Public Affairs Council
    Washington, D.C. Office
  • Marc Gopin
    Director of the Center for World Religions, Diplomacy, and Conflict
    George Mason University
  • Manal Omar
    Director of Iraq, Iran and North Africa Programs
    U.S. Institute of Peace
  • Susan Hayward, Moderator
    Senior Program Officer
    U.S. Institute of Peace

Related Publications

Thomas Hill on Libya

Thomas Hill on Libya

Friday, November 9, 2018

By: Thomas M. Hill

Since the fall of Muammar Qaddafi in 2011, successive U.S. administrations have watched Libya’s continuing collapse, mistakenly believing that the country’s unraveling threatens only Europe, says Thomas Hill. Ahead of the Palermo conference, which aims to find a solution to the crisis in Libya, Hill says that United States’ should play a more direct role in stabilizing the country.

Democracy & Governance; Conflict Analysis & Prevention

Why the U.S. Needs a Special Envoy for the Red Sea

Why the U.S. Needs a Special Envoy for the Red Sea

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

By: Payton Knopf

The Trump administration has appointed four special envoys to coordinate U.S. policy toward key hot spots: Iran, North Korea, Syria, and Afghanistan. Yet in the Red Sea—one of the most volatile and lethal regions of the world afflicted by several interconnected conflicts and rivalries that pose significant challenges to American interests—U.S. policy has been rudderless in large part due to the absence of a similar post.

Global Policy; Conflict Analysis & Prevention

Mona Yacoubian on the State of Play in Syria

Mona Yacoubian on the State of Play in Syria

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

By: Mona Yacoubian

Mona Yacoubian discusses the state of play in Syria ahead of important withdrawal deadlines this week for removing heavy weapons from Idlib province. Yacoubian also discusses the waves of migration forced by the crisis, noting that 2018 has been the worst year to date for internally displaced Syrians; and the recent news that U.S. special operations forces are likely to remain in the country indefinitely to prevent a possible re-emergence of ISIS.

Conflict Analysis & Prevention

View All Publications