With 84 percent of people worldwide identifying with a faith tradition, religion influences local, national, and international decision-making. Across the globe, violent extremism often is couched in religious terms, and religious discrimination is on the rise. At the same time, people of faith and religious organizations frequently are on the frontlines of peace efforts, assisting communities affected by violence. Although religious considerations have been marginal to peace efforts historically, governments and peacebuilding organizations increasingly recognize the importance of religion.
The country’s transition from military rule to representative democracy is complicated by entrenched political and economic interests, religious and ethnic cleavages, and difficult negotiations with an array of armed groups to settle decades-long internal conflicts. As peace talks drag on, the nation’s parliamentary election, slated to take place in late 2015, threatens to exacerbate tensions within and among groups. In addition, the constitution unfairly prohibits the main opposition candid...
In a conference room at his offices in northern India, the Dalai Lama sat among young civil society leaders trying to build peace in their homelands scarred by violent conflicts. These days, a questio...
Youth Leaders: Vital to Countering Violence and Extremism The world’s most violent conflicts currently beset its most youthful populations. In the five countries that suffered nearly 80 percent of re...
The Catholic Church, with its 2.1 billion adherents worldwide, has been pivotal in some of the most significant nonviolent struggles in modern history. Many will recall the iconic image of Filipino religious sisters confronting military forces and a kleptocratic dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos in prayerful resistance during the 1986 “people power” revolution. Today, Filipino religious leaders, facing another violent dictator, Rodrigo Duterte, once again are the leading face of nonviolent resistance. The Vatican is discussing these and other examples of powerful nonviolent movements as it rethinks its long-held doctrine of “just war.”
In Northern Nigeria, where clashes between Christians and Muslims have claimed thousands of lives and torn communities apart, two prominent clergymen believe religion can also be a way toward peace.
Congressman Hultgren, Congressman McGovern, and members of the Commission, thank you for convening this hearing today on Nigeria and for the opportunity to testify. The views I express here are my own and do not represent those of the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP).
The dividing line between the young Tunisians was evident as they gathered to attempt a dialogue between their university’s two rival student unions, groups tied to the country’s main political parties. On the right side of the room sat the Islamists, whose politics are closely bound to their religion. On the left were the secularists, adherents of an array of left-leaning ideologies.
By more fully understanding the role of religion in violent extremism and adopting a broad-based and inclusive approach to engaging religious actors, policymakers and practitioners can better advance countering violent extremism objectives. In this report, a former senior policy adviser and a USIP senior specialist explore the nexus of religion and violent extremism.
As Iraqi and Kurdish forces recapture most territory from ISIS, the future of minorities in Iraq remains uncertain. To an even greater extent than Sunni and Shia areas destroyed by ISIS, minority communities face continuing security risks, humanitarian needs, a devastated economy and the imperative of reconciliation.