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  • Author: Olga Oliker
  • Publication Date: 06-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Strategic and International Studies
  • Abstract: Religious violence is surely as old as both faith and fighting themselves. In the Russian Federation, as elsewhere in the world, religious teachings and philosophies are used both to justify and combat violence. But what forms does this take, and with what implications for Russian society, Russian policy, and Russia's future? This volume examines the many ways in which religion and violence intersect in Russia, and offers recommendations for both policymakers and scholars as they chart paths forward. Presenting the results of original research by collaborative teams of Russian and western authors, it takes on topics from violent radical Islamic jihadism to religious propaganda employed by violent right-wing groups; from repression of religious communities to conflict within religious confessions. In each case, it offers not only new analysis, but prospective policy solutions to make Russia and Russians of all religions (and no religion) safer and more secure.
  • Topic: Religion, Violent Extremism, Violence, Repression, Jihad
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Martin van Bruinessen
  • Publication Date: 05-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: In spite of their overwhelmingly Muslim populations, Indonesia and Turkey are formally secular states though of different kind. However, both allocate a surprisingly high proportion of the state budget to the administration of Islam, considerably higher than most countries where Islam is the state religion. In Turkey during the years 1950-2000 and in Indonesia during the New Order period (1966-1998), the state invested heavily in the education of “enlightened” religious personnel and the dissemination of religious views that were compatible with the drive for modernisation and development. Turkey’s Directorate for Religious Affairs (Diyanet) controls a huge bureaucracy through which the state interacts with the pious conservative part of the population. Schools for the training of prayer leaders addressed the needs of the same segment of the population and were intended to facilitate the integration of these conservatives into the project of secular modernisation. However, these institutions had the unforeseen effect of enabling the social mobility of once marginalised conservatives, allowing them to gradually gain control of part of the state apparatus. Mutatis mutandis, very similar developments can be observed in Indonesia, where the Ministry of Religious Affairs (MORA) and the Council of Islamic Scholars (MUI) were expected to provide development-friendly religious guidance and prevent undesirable expressions of religiosity. After the fall of the Suharto regime, the MUI made itself independent of the government and instead became a vehicle through which various conservative religious groups strove to influence government policies, with various degrees of success.
  • Topic: Islam, Religion, Social Movement, Secularism, Modernization
  • Political Geography: Europe, Indonesia, Turkey, Asia
  • Author: Kevin Appleby
  • Publication Date: 04-2017
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Center for Migration Studies of New York
  • Abstract: From February 23, 2017 to March 6, 2017, His Eminence Roger Cardinal Mahony, archbishop emeritus of Los Angeles, California; His Excellency Silvano Tomasi, c.s., delegate secretary for the Holy See’s Dicastery on Integral Human Development; and Kevin Appleby, senior director of international migration policy for the Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS) and the Scalabrini International Migration Network (SIMN), joined in a mission to Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Greece to examine the situation of refugees and the displaced in these states. The visit came against the backdrop of several actions and events which could adversely impact these populations in the immediate, near, and long-term future: (1) the proposed reduction in the number of refugees to be admitted by the United States from 110,000 to 50,000 a year, including a 120-day shutdown of the US refugee program; (2) the one-year-old agreement between the European Union and Turkey to halt Syrian and other refugee groups from migrating to and entering Europe; (3) the ongoing war against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), most notably in the fight for the city of Mosul and surrounding villages in northern Iraq; and (4) the ongoing persecution of religious minorities in the region, including Christian groups. Overall, the delegation found that, despite heroic work by international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and agencies in the region, including refugee protection organizations, the humanitarian need of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) far outweigh the support given to them by the international community. In fact, the world community appears to be withdrawing its support, rather than increasing it.1 The following findings and recommendations from the mission are based on the delegation’s conversations with actors in the region, including refugees and displaced persons, care providers, representatives of the Catholic Church, their aid agencies, and United Nations (UN) officials.
  • Topic: Migration, Religion, Refugee Issues, European Union, ISIS, Displacement, NGOs, Humanitarian Crisis
  • Political Geography: United States, Iraq, Europe, Iran, Turkey, Israel, Syria
  • Author: Jonathan Mijs, Michèle Lamont
  • Publication Date: 03-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University
  • Abstract: Citizens in countries that implemented more rigorous neoliberal policies over the last two decades (1990 to 2010) draw stronger symbolic boundaries between themselves and unwanted others. Based on publicly available data from the European Values Study, our research suggests that neoliberal policy implementation is intricately related to the ways in which citizens define worthiness. We find that in central and eastern Europe, the adoption of neoliberalism goes together with weakening boundaries toward ethnic others and a strengthening of animosity toward the poor, who are increasingly described as lazy and undeserving of government help. Conversely, in western Europe we find a weakening of boundaries toward the poor, but a strengthening of animosity toward ethno-religious others, Muslims in particular: citizens increasingly do not want Muslims as their neighbors. The trends we observe are supported by studies describing European citizens’ stance toward the (undeserving) poor, on the one side, and research on anti-immigrant sentiments, the rise of nativism, and the vote for extreme right parties, on the other. The contribution of our project is to offer a framework that describes these trends as two facets of symbolic boundaries and to link these to the uneven rate of implementation of neoliberal policies across European societies.
  • Topic: Poverty, Religion, Sociology, Neoliberalism
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe, Western Europe
  • Author: Romain Quivooij
  • Publication Date: 12-2016
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for Non-Traditional Security Studies (NTS)
  • Abstract: Since April 2014, France has been developing a three-stage counter-radicalisation model, covering the areas of detection, prevention and de-radicalisation. Little has been said in the English literature on the organisation, the effectiveness and the challenges of this approach. France’s centralised tradition led to the implementation of a vertical structure of action dominated by the Interior Ministry. A major difficulty faced by the French authorities is to manage various “profiles” of at-risk individuals, including converts, underage individuals and young women. This illustrates a significant diversification of the groups of population affected by Salafi-Jihadist radicalisation. The French counter-radicalisation strategy is expected to lead the fight against violent extremism, but it remains hampered by divisions over the role of Islam. This bone of contention, which is indicative of the French state and society’s complex relationship with religion, substantially affects the consistency of deradicalisation programmes.
  • Topic: Religion, Violent Extremism, Counter-terrorism, Radicalization
  • Political Geography: Europe, Paris, France, Western Europe
  • Author: Brian Dooley
  • Publication Date: 02-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Human Rights First
  • Abstract: Washington needs a new strategy to help bring stability and reform to Bahrain. Although the smallest country in the Middle East, Bahrain exemplifies several of the major challenges for U.S. policy in the region: Sectarian tensions exploited by ISIS and other Sunni extremists and by Shi’adominated Iran to fuel conflict Economic troubles linked to public corruption and an over-reliance on oil revenues, exacerbated by sharply falling oil prices Stalled political reform leaving the root grievances of large scale public protests unresolved De facto U.S. support for an authoritarian status quo through a government that fails to deliver good governance and continues to deny basic rights and freedoms to its people, while courting support from Russia and other U.S. rivals Falling public support for the United States Major military assets, in Bahrain’s case the basing of the U.S. Fifth Naval Fleet, threatened by protracted instability
  • Topic: Imperialism, Oil, Religion, Military Strategy, Authoritarianism, Political stability
  • Political Geography: Russia, United States, Europe, Middle East, Bahrain
  • Author: Alistair MacDonald, Gabriel Munuera Viñals
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Union Institute for Security Studies
  • Abstract: The confrontation between Muslim and Christian inhabitants of Western Mindanao, between the 'Moros' and the Philippine State, belongs to that category of 'forgotten conflicts' of which most international relations practitioners are often only vaguely aware. The conflict has historical roots that reach back centuries and has evolved with many twists and turns, culminating in an equally long and no less convoluted peace process. However, this conflict has important international ramifications and is one in which the international community is today actively involved, with facilitating and monitoring mechanisms involving states as well as non-state actors. In particular the European Union has been playing an increasingly important role, including in relation to diplomatic efforts aimed at finding a lasting solution to the conflict, based on its holistic approach to crises and interaction with European NGOs.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Islam, Religion
  • Political Geography: Europe, Israel, Philippines, Australia/Pacific
  • Author: Susan Hayward
  • Publication Date: 08-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: United States Institute of Peace
  • Abstract: The field of religious peacebuilding has begun to move closer to the mainstream of conflict resolution practice and theory. The 2011 unrest in the Middle East and North Africa—the Arab Spring—reflects ongoing challenges and opportunities for the field. American and European nongovernmental organizations, agencies in the U.S. government, academia, and international organizations—sectors that once held religious issues at a distance or understood religion mainly as a driver of violence—increasingly engage religious communities and institutions as partners in creating peace. Meanwhile, religious organizations that have been involved in creating peace for decades, if not longer, increasingly have institutionalized and professionalized their work, suggesting ways that religious and secular organizations could coordinate their efforts more closely. The U.S. Institute of Peace's own programs on religion reflect the development of the wider field, having moved from research and analysis to on-the-ground programming to foster interfaith dialogue in the Balkans, Nigeria, Israel-Palestine, and Sudan. In addition, it has trained religious actors in conflict management in Sri Lanka, Iraq, and Colombia and developed peace curricula based on Islamic principles for religious and secular schools in Pakistan, Indonesia, the Philippines, and elsewhere. As the U.S. field of religious peacebuilding continues to develop, challenges include integrating further with secular peacebuilding efforts, engaging women and youth and addressing their priorities, working more effectively with non-Abrahamic religious traditions, and improving evaluation, both to show how religious peacebuilding can reduce and resolve conflict and to strengthen the field's ability to do so.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Islam, Peace Studies, Religion, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Africa, United States, Europe, Arabia
  • Author: Thomas Liles
  • Publication Date: 02-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: European Centre for Minority Issues
  • Abstract: While Adjara's Islamic identity has been in decline, the Georgian Orthodox Church (GOC) has increased its presence in Adjara's capital Batumi and western lowlands since the 1990s. Today Islam retains a strong presence primarily in the republic's eastern highlands (upper Adjara), specifically in the Khulo district and to a lesser extent in the more rural areas of the Shuakhevi and Keda districts. With financial support from the state, the GOC maintains a growing presence in upper Adjara, and conversions to Christianity in the area are becoming more common. Simultaneously, certain segments of the region's Muslim population express dissatisfaction with perceived state discrimination, mainly resulting from the lack of state funding for local Islamic institutions and the difficulties of legally registering such institutions. With the creation of the new Administration of Georgian Muslims (AGM) in May 2011 and the passage of a new law on the registration of minority religious groups in July 2011, this discontent may well subside. However, it is still too early to tell whether these laws will have a significant effect in upper Adjara.
  • Topic: Islam, Religion, Minorities
  • Political Geography: Europe, Georgia
  • Author: Michael Phillips
  • Publication Date: 12-2012
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre on Human Rights in Conflict
  • Abstract: The parable of Jesus walking on water occurs in three of the gospels. This parable was used by Imanol Zubero, former Socialist Senator and Basque peace activist, now Professor at the Basque Country University, to describe to me the position of the Catholic Church in Spain today: where once the Church had known how to walk on water and call to the Spanish people to follow it, today the Church has lost its prophetic voice and is in danger of becoming a closed sect. Zubero was referring to the 1970s when the Church played a positive, and widely admired, role in the Spanish Transition to democracy. In this paper I try to account for this change by considering cases from two very different Catholic traditions, Spain and Australia, which have at least one thing in common: in both cases the Church has been accused of responsibility for historical wrong-doing and complicity in human rights abuses.
  • Topic: Civil War, Human Rights, Religion, History, Reform
  • Political Geography: Europe, Spain, Australia/Pacific