Religious Freedom and National Security Policy

With the growth of religious pluralism on a global scale, freedom of religion has emerged as more than a fundamental human rights issue. It also intersects with other foreign policy challenges, including political, social, and economic development. One of the most important but most poorly understood connections is with national security.

Through the Luce/SFS Program on Religion and International Affairs, Georgetown's Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs held a symposium on religious freedom and US national security policy. Questions addressed include: Why should national security specialists be concerned about religious freedom? Under what conditions might greater U.S. support for religious liberty abroad help to reduce political instability, religious radicalism, and terrorist violence? When, where, and why might an emphasis on religious liberty provoke negative reactions abroad that undermine American political and security interests? Might a wise and prudent religious liberty policy overcome such reactions and, if so, how?

The symposium discussed these and related questions in two sessions. The first session examined the presence/absence of religious freedom in U.S. national security policy in general, with a focus on the Obama Administration's National Security Strategy document. The second session addressed the cases of Afghanistan and Iraq.


Panel 1: Religious Freedom in U.S. National Security Policy | William Inboden, Jennifer Marshall, Pauletta Otis, Eric Patterson

Lunch and Keynote Address |
Rashad Hussain

Panel 2: Religious Freedom and National Security in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq | Touqir Hussain, Rebecca Johnson, Andrew Natsios, Knox Thames

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