Religion and Violent Extremism: Contending Perspectives

May 3, 2019

The role and efficacy of religious actors and institution in preventing and countering violent extremism has been an ongoing topic of debate amongst scholars of religion and foreign affairs. Policymakers and practitioners have at times invested in particular religious leaders or state-sanctioned sources of “moderate” religion in the hope that they will prove effective in discrediting religious extremists and dissuading potential recruits to their cause. Others have criticized government entanglement with religion in the context of national security affairs, or cast doubt on the credibility or capacity of religious actors to address these challenges.

In this Berkley Forum series, leading scholars, practitioners, and former policymakers offer varied perspectives on the intersection of religion and violent extremism. Read more on this issue in our policy brief Religion and the Prevention of Violent Extremism: Current Debates and Future Research Agendas.

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Iranian pilgrims in the courtyard of Umayyas Mosque in Syria