International Religious Freedom: Toward a Model of Transatlantic Cooperation

October 8, 2015

Several European countries, the EU, and Canada have recently begun a more systematic treatment of international religious freedom in their foreign policies. The United States has done so since 1998 because of the passage that year of the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA). In theory, therefore, the potential exists for transatlantic cooperation in promoting religious freedom globally.

However, differences among Western democracies are significant, both with respect to the meaning and value of religious freedom itself, and to the question of how to promote it as an aspect of foreign policy. This dialogue—the first in a year-long series on IRFA policy—aimed to identify these differences and find ways to accommodate or overcome them in the urgent task of advancing international religious freedom.

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