Transnational Religion, Local Impact: Exploring Religious Soft Power Around the World

December 13, 2018

The transnational dissemination of religion represents a “soft power” strategy employed by numerous countries in and around the Middle East for decades. While this phenomenon is perhaps most commonly associated with the Saudi projection of “Wahhabism” around the world, other Gulf Cooperation Council countries as well as Iran and Turkey have also employed religion as an instrument of statecraft. With religious identity politics, sectarianism, and proxy conflict on the rise in the Middle East and elsewhere, developing a better understanding of the geopolitics of religious soft power is a priority today.

As part of a larger project on the Geopolitics of Religious Soft Power the Berkley Center is undertaking in cooperation with the Brookings Institution, this Berkley Forum series provides a set of short portraits and analyses of the local effects around the world of transnational religious projection from countries in the Middle East. Some of the issues explored by contributing authors—whose brief articles explore settings as diverse and wide-ranging as Mauritania, Azerbaijan, Pakistan, Kazakhstan, and Indonesia—include the evolving motivations and strategies of governmentally-sponsored religious propagation; the dynamics of local reception and adaptation of transnational religious influences; and the differential and varied effects of religious outreach activities as carried out by governmental actors, parastatal organizations, humanitarian and relief groups, private charities, and migrant laborers.

Discover similar content through these related topics and regions.

comments powered by Disqus
Grand Mosque in Brussels, Belgium